With over 400,000 Pennsylvanians having an active patient certification to use medical marijuana, ensuring this population has as many options as possible to find relief from their conditions should be a top priority.
Sen. Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) will soon be introducing legislation to expand those options to include medical cannabis edibles.
“Pennsylvania’s patients should be able to buy edible medical cannabis that is safe, uniform, and securely packaged and labeled, just as they do in 25 other states that have legalized medical cannabis,” said Laughlin. “For many patients, their medical conditions require gradual relief over an extended period of time. Consuming medical cannabis in edible form is among the best ways to achieve the time-release effect that these patients need.”
The legislation will ensure edible forms of medicine are tested for consistency/potency and designed in a way that does not appeal to children, Laughlin said. The bill will also require strict regulation on the packaging of edible forms to prevent children and other unauthorized persons from accidental use.
Current law allows patients to purchase medical cannabis in the form of pills, oils, topicals, dry leaf (which can be vaporized but not smoked), tinctures, and liquids. The state prohibits cannabis growers/processors from producing medical cannabis in the form of food products, and licensed dispensaries can’t sell such products.
“Some patients use their medical marijuana to make their own edibles – such as cookies, brownies, and other foods – to be consumed later,” Laughlin said. “But incorporating medical cannabis into food is complex, and patients may not evenly disperse the marijuana’s active ingredients throughout their food which impairs their ability to get uniform relief from their symptoms.”
It can also cause patients to accidentally consume too much or too little of their medical cannabis, added Laughlin.
“Edibles produced by one of Pennsylvania’s licensed grower/processors and tested by one of our approved laboratories would be uniform in their THC distribution and potency, as well as clearly labeled and stored in child-proof containers,” Laughlin said.
“For many patients, edibles offer an easy and appropriate way to get relief from their medical conditions, and that’s always been the goal of medical cannabis: providing relief to patients,” said Laughlin.