Pennsylvania Continues To Debate Cannabis “Edibles”

In Pennsylvania, cannabis and cannabis-infused tinctures are largely legal, provided they have been purchased from a licensed dispensary. However, the distinction between what is considered a tincture and what is considered an edible has created confusion and controversy.

Under the state’s cannabis laws, edibles are defined as products that dissolve in the mouth and require no chewing or further digestion. On the other hand, chewables are considered products that must be chewed before being swallowed. This technical distinction has caused confusion among medical marijuana users, who often do not know whether they can legally ingest a product – simply by checking its packaging.

For example, a marijuana-infused gummy that needs to be chewed before being swallowed is considered an edible and thus illegal. This technical distinction is ridiculous, and the state should legalize all edible forms to end this confusion and restriction on product diversity.

Current Cannabis Legislation In Pennslyvania

Pennsylvania has debated the legalization of marijuana for years, and in 2016, they passed the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act. This act legalized medical cannabis, allowing patients with certain qualifying conditions to purchase cannabis from state-licensed dispensaries.

Recently, Senate Bill 846 was introduced and is currently undergoing debate to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state. Mainly, the bill would regulate the personal use and possession of cannabis and establish a Cannabis Regulatory Control Board in the state.

In addition to SB 846, Pennsylvania Republican Senator Dan Laughlin has proposed a bill, SB 538, that would legalize cannabis edibles. This bill would effectively end the technical distinction between edibles and chewables, allowing medical marijuana patients to access a wider variety of products without fear of legal repercussions.

This proposed bill is currently undergoing debate in the legislature, and it remains to be seen whether it will pass or not. If it does pass, it will bring much-needed reform to Pennsylvania cannabis laws and will allow for greater access to cannabis products for medical marijuana users.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Meeting

At a recent Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board meeting, concern was brought up by board member and medical patient advocate Diana Briggs over a cannabis-infused product called a troche, pronounced: “TROW-key.” Which she said was widely available in Pennsylvania dispensaries. She said they were “like a cough drop, some are hard, some are softer.”

However, CEO Tom Trite of Vytal Options, which was the first company to introduce cannabis-infused troches in Pennsylvania, pointed out the company’s troches are gelatin-based, a little firmer than Jello in consistency, and intended to melt under the tongue or between the cheek and gum. “They are not edibles,” said Mr. Trite to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “The trouble with gummies is they’re too easy to chew,” he added, making them edible.

This brings up the confusion between edibles and chewable products, “These troches are here and they’ve been here for a year,” said Briggs, “These look very much like what I’ve bought in other states as an edible.”

Briggs is trying to end the confusion by amending the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act to include cannabis edibles. Ultimately, other board members raised concerns, blocking approval. Members were concerned that if edibles were amended into law, they could get into the hands of the wrong people, specifically children, which seems to be just a good old-fashioned fear-mongering tactic as nobody has ever died of a cannabis overdose. There are way more severe substances that should be prioritized over cannabis, such as alcohol, tobacco, and opioids for example.

There was no outcome of the meeting, and the board is expected to meet again in November.

Implications Of Distinction Between What Is An Edible And What Isnt

The technical distinction between edibles and chewables is absurd, and its restrictions on product diversity are unjustified. By making a product illegal simply because it needs to be chewed before being swallowed, the state of Pennsylvania is severely limiting access to some products that could be beneficial for medical marijuana patients.

This technical distinction can also lead to issues with enforcement as there is no clear line between an edible and a chewable. This means that law enforcement could potentially target legitimate products if they do not comply with the state’s definition of an edible, leading to costly legal battles.

The only way to end this confusion and restriction on product diversity is for Pennsylvania to legalize all edible forms. Doing so would ensure that medical marijuana patients have access to the necessary products while protecting businesses and medical patients from potential enforcement issues. It would also be a much-needed step forward in the progress of cannabis reform in the state.

Furthermore, it would be a big step towards a more sensible and inclusive cannabis policy in Pennsylvania, which is something that all residents should support. Legalizing edibles is not only important for medical marijuana users but also for recreational consumers who are looking to enjoy their cannabis responsibly. It’s time for Pennsylvania to stop debating the technical distinction between edibles and chewables and take action to legalize all edible forms of cannabis.

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