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  • Writer's pictureRandy Shaffer

Dry Leaf Sales Start Wednesday for Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

While Ohio's medical marijuana program is just getting off the ground floor, with delays at every corner, things have been moving rather swiftly in our neighboring state of Pennsylvania, where the sale of dry leaf medical marijuana is set to begin in the state on Wednesday August 1, 2018.

For those unaware, Pennsylvania lawmakers signed their own medical marijuana program into law on April 17, 2016. This was roughly five months before Ohio signed their medical marijuana bill into law in September, giving Pennsylvania cultivators and businesses a decent head start in the medical marijuana industry.

Similar to Ohio's law, Pennsylvania medical marijuana laws allow marijuana usage to treat the following medical conditions:

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

  • Autism

  • Cancer (and remission therapy)

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity

  • Epilepsy

  • Glaucoma

  • HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

  • Huntington’s Disease

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

  • Intractable Seizures

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Neuropathies

  • Parkinson’s Disease

  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

  • Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective

  • Sickle Cell Anemia

Also like Ohio's law, Pennsylvania medical marijuana patients are strictly prohibited from smoking cannabis in any form, and must either vaporize cannabis, or consume it using tinctures, oils, waxes or topical creams. Unlike Ohio, edibles are currently prohibited under Pennsylvania's laws. Medical marijuana patients in PA are allowed to purchase cannabis products designed to be mixed into food and drinks. Up until this week, dry leaf products were not allowed to be sold.

Dispensaries opened in late winter 2018 and have been rolling out product for some time now, from waxes to oils and gels, with dry leaf sales prohibited. But according to The Intelligencer, the state’s own Medical Marijuana Advisory Board unanimously recommended dry leaf sales this spring.

“The dry leaf form of medical marijuana provides a cost-effective option for patients, in addition to the other forms of medication already available at dispensaries," Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said in a statement. The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board recommendation was approved on April 18, 2018, and was set to go into effect after 90 days.

Dry leaf marijuana, also known as dry herb, cannabis flower or bud, can be vaporized using a dry herb vaporizer. The dry leaf is packed and heated in a small device that contains a tiny oven. This oven houses the plant material and heats it to a temperature just below combustion. This allows marijuana's primary components, THC and CBD, to be released without the harmful effects of combusting plant material.

Though marijuana users in the past have traditionally smoked marijuana, there are many benefits to vaporizing medical marijuana, including the simple fact that vaporizing cannabis is much kinder to your lungs.

Dry leaf product will be available in roughly half the Pennsylvania medical marijuana dispensaries on August 1, with the rest of the dispensaries selling dry leaf by August 8. Stay tuned for more news about this exciting development. Hopefully, our Pennsylvania friends will soon see edibles on their menu as well. Fingers crossed!


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