Will Pennsylvania Marijuana Dispensaries Sell The Whole Plant? A Loophole Brings Controversy
In 2016, the state of Pennsylvania passed a bill that legalized the use of medical marijuana. The law was accepted with the understanding that the dispensaries would focus their sales on pills, oils, and ointments. As of 2019, dispensaries are planning to open across the state. However, there is a tiny loophole that gives these businesses the ability to sell the entire plant rather than just it’s byproducts. Since the bill doesn’t include anything about any change in forms of marijuana, it can be left to interpretation. Accordingly, people want answers as the sale of the whole plant opens up more treatment options.
Senator Leach Has Big News at the Cannabis Expo
State Senator Daylin Leach sponsored the medical marijuana bill. He made a recent visit to the cannabis expo in Pittsburg. The Democrat made a few waves by saying that when these Pennsylvania marijuana dispensaries open they will be able to sell the entire plant. It’s expected for product lines to change in the upcoming years, but the bill doesn’t address this issue. Thus, it means that the State Department of Health will get the final say since they are the official overseeing agent for this law.
A Bone of Contention
When the bill was first introduced, the conversations were not quite as liberal as they are now. The statue according to rule says that the sales are limited to ointments, creams, gels, pills, and oils. It also states that it will allow a form of the product that is used for nebulization or vaporizing. Many find the law confusing because it says no dry leaves or whole plants, but it states that it can be used for nebulizing and such. How can it be both approved and denied?
The problem is that you cannot vape a cream or oil. You must have dry leaves or the whole plant for this method of treatment. Many activists see this as a bone of contention. First, the bill is contradictory, and second, it takes a lot longer to bring relief with pills and creams. Those who vape or nebulize get almost instant results. Protestors are pressing the issue that the plant form is the best way for those who are genuinely in pain to be treated. Still, the discretion is left to the secretary of the board to make the call. However, it’s entirely possible that the statue will expand to allow these sales.
By taking a close look at the language of the bill, the issue of whether plants and dry leaves can be sold may be answered. It may state one thing about creams and oils in a section, but another segment of the law allows for the sale of the entire plant. Additionally, it doesn’t require any legislative approval. Again, the rule is confusing for many and needs some clarification.
Thankfully, the state has an advisory board that oversees the medical marijuana regulations. This board is made up of people like a physician and a police commissioner. They must examine the laws and equate the verbiage with other states. A full report on their recommendations will be presented. Leach predicts that the board will move for the sale of the entire plant. Just because they make a suggestion doesn’t mean that Pennsylvania will make it law. Administration by vaporization is a hot topic because everyone seems to be vaping these days.
The Secretary of State Makes the Call
Once the recommendation has been made, it’s up to the state secretary to make the ruling. Being over the Department of Health allows him to be in the position to make the final call on the bill. Consequently, they will have up to 12 months to make such a decision. Right now, the state is being run by Governor Tom Wolf, and he is in favor of medical marijuana and a staunch supporter. If the decision is made while he is still in office, then it’s very likely that the plants will hit the shelves. If a more conservative Republican is in the office, then the outcome may be different. It’s just a waiting game at this point.