Last year Pennsylvania voters passed a medical marijuana bill under the impression that only certain non-smokable cannabis products would be available, but due to specific language in the bill dispensaries may also be able to sell whole plant marijuana. Dispensaries are expected to open around the state by next year, and in that time the advisory board in charge of regulating the industry must make a recommendation regarding if new forms of smokable will be permitted. While the bill is not guaranteed to change, some lawmakers are convinced after hearing that the advisory board will likely have people who would prefer smokable forms of marijuana be included.
One of the board’s duties is to produce a report by April 2018 that makes recommendations on how best to move forward with implementing the state’s medical marijuana program and whether or not the state should make changes to the forms of marijuana allowed. Under the law itself, the board must make a recommendation on: “Whether to permit medical marijuana to be dispensed in dry leaf or plant form, for administration by vaporization.”
If the advisory board does recommend the state permit dispensation of medical marijuana in dry leaf or plant form, then it’s up to the state secretary of the Department of Health to make the final call, and according to the law, he or she has a year to do so.
Leach seemed convinced that the board will recommend the state do so, saying at the expo earlier this week: “[T]hey will, because we’re appointing people to do that.”