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Pennsylvania Ponders the Pot Leaf for MMJ Patients

At the moment, Pennsylvania allows only the sale of cannabis oils, extracts, pills, and tinctures.

PA’s Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, said she’d Consider these Recommendations

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana advisory board voted this week to allow the sale of whole-plant cannabis and recommended expanding the number of health conditions that would qualify patients to participate in the program.

At the moment, Pennsylvania allows only the sale of cannabis oils, extracts, pills, and tinctures.

PA’s Secretary of Health, Rachel Levine, said she’d consider these recommendations, according to The Inquirer, but it could take up to a year to decide then change to the state’s MMJ program, which was signed into law exactly two years ago.

If the state lifts the prohibition on smokable marijuana, dispensaries will still not be able to sell pre-rolls. Patients will be expected to vape, although it seems no one can stop them from buying their bud then rolling it into a joint.

Permitting the sale of leaf and flower could also reduce costs for Pennsylvania’s more than 11,000 MMJ patients, allowing them to sidestep the limited selection of processed products available at dispensaries. MMJ patients in California and Colorado buy more flower than oils, extracts, or edibles.

In addition to savings, advocates say there are other benefits to consuming MMJ in plant form. Depending on dosages, dried leaf may work faster and can have lower THC levels.

“It’s about a quarter of the potency in the flower form, because it’s not as concentrated [as it is in processed forms],” said Trent Hartley, co-founder of Cresco Yeltrah, a marijuana grower in Jefferson County, PA.

Furthermore, it’s tradition.

“Smoking flower is the traditional cannabis therapy method that humans have used for 10,000 years,” said Chris Goldstein of South Philly NORML. “We’ve never had a report of state police or health officials cracking down on how patients consume their cannabis.”

The state also prohibits sale of edibles but, again, who’s to stop patients from buying oils and making their own?

One commenter in The Inquirer posed a good question: “Since marijuana, regardless of potency or form, is non-toxic, why such hand-wringing by legislators over responsible adult use for any purpose...even just because it's enjoyable?”

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