This week, Pennsylvania made medical marijuana a little more accessible. Governor Tom Wolfe convened a medical marijuana commission back in March. One of the issues they discussed was whether Pennsylvanians should have access to dry herb, meaning smokeable marijuana. And finally, officials announced today that smokeable medical cannabis will be available as soon as next week.
Smokeable Cannabis Is Coming To Pennsylvania
Months ago, Governor Wolfe and the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board met to discuss legalizing smokeable medical cannabis. Up until now, only tinctures, edibles and concentrates were available in Pennsylvania dispensaries. This is due to the concern some medical professionals have expressed over the impacts of smoking anything, including weed.
However, the Board, made up of advocates and legislators, came out in favor of legalizing smokeable marijuana. But this was only the first step towards its legalization. Afterward, the verdict underwent a second review. Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Rachel Levine then approved the measure. And finally, the Pennsylvania legislature had to vote in its favor.
Today, Governor Wolfe’s office announced that smokeable weed will finally be available to medical marijuana patients. Next week, dispensaries will start rolling out their line of dry herb. By early August, twelve dispensaries should have that option, according to ABC27.
“Governor Wolf believes that the introduction of dry leaf will mean more options and lower costs for many consumers, and demonstrates Pennsylvania’s commitment to maximize the impact, accessibility and benefits of our medical marijuana program for patients in need” explained a statement released by the Governor’s office.
Why Patients Need Access To Smokeable Marijuana
For non-medical marijuana patients, this change in the legislation may appear minor. However, for people suffering from difficult or lifelong conditions, the legal availability of dry herb is critical. Patients often struggle to afford medical marijuana, especially since edibles and other forms of cannabis are more expensive. Plus, health insurance doesn’t cover medical cannabis. For those treating epilepsy with medical marijuana, for instance, getting the medicine they need can be a significant, lifelong expense.
Additionally, Pennsylvania has been struggling to keep up with medical cannabis demand. Chris Visco is one of the owners of TerraVida Holistic Center, one of Pennsylvania’s first dispensaries. He told TribLive, “I had projected 60 people initially for the entire month. We had over 600 patients in our first eight days.” Low supply can also increase the price of whatever cannabis is left.
Not only is dry herb another, more affordable option for Pennsylvanians, but it’s easier to get to market than concentrates, oils or edibles. This means that the state’s dispensaries will be better stocked in the future.
By giving patients a more affordable, varied and well-stocked option, the legalization of dry herb cannabis in Pennsylvania is a small, but significant victory for medical marijuana accessibility.