Loophole in PA's medical marijuana laws could let dispensaries sell the plant – Billy Penn
And it wouldn’t even have to be approved by lawmakers.
Apr 27 2017 · 11:15 am
When the Pennsylvania legislature last year passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana, it did so largely under the impression that dispensaries wouldn’t sell the drug in its plant form, but only in infused oils, pills and ointments.
By next year though, when dispensaries begin opening across the state, that may not be the case. A little-known loophole in the law could allow for dispensaries to distribute plant-form marijuana meant for vaporization.
State Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery, one of the prime sponsors of the medical marijuana legalization bill, made minor waves during a panel at a cannabis expo in Pittsburgh this week when he said that by the time “dispensaries open, it is likely that they will have whole plant on their shelves from day one.”
Leach’s spokesman Steve Hoenstine elaborated, saying the bill does provide for a change to the permitted forms of medical marijuana based on recommendations by an advisory board set up to provide recommendations to the state Department of Health, which is overseeing medical marijuana programming in Pennsylvania.
“That may include the addition of whole plant for vaporization purposes,” Hoenstine said. “That will depend upon the recommendations of the advisory board and the discretion of the secretary.”
That’s a lot different than the public conversations that were going on when the bill was being considered. The state Department of Health even indicates on its website that medical marijuana “is limited by statute in Pennsylvania to the following forms: pill; oil; topical forms, including gel, creams or ointments; a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, excluding dry leaf or plant form; tincture; and liquid.” (Emphasis ours.)
This was a sticking