Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis program has faced significant hurdles in its infancy. Since retail sales began in mid-February, the six dispensaries across the state have experienced demand that far outpaces their collective supply, prompting some dispensaries to temporarily close in the early days of this new retail market.
The economic discord was one factor that led members of Gov. Tom Wolf’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board to recommend the sale of flower in the state.
Minnesota is the only other medical-cannabis state that has an active ban on flower sales. All told, 29 states have legalized medical cannabis.
Shalawn James, a patient advocate appointed to the board by Wolf, says that several subcommittees have been studying the merits of flower sales. In February, board members learned about the effects of flower on patients, and about the particular physiological delivery system of flower as opposed to concentrated oil.
The board has not yet voted on allowing flower sales; once the move is fully approved, it will be sent to the state legislature.
“One of the things we are hearing heavily from the medical marijuana community is that the flower product provides better relief in much lower dose and quantity—and it’s quicker relief,” James says. “As a parent of a kid that has a sickle cell disease, I know the importance of curbing the pain as soon as possible.”
Businesses are also excited about the prospect of flower sales. Charlie Bachtell, CEO of medical marijuana cultivator Cresco Labs and co-founder of Cresco Yeltrah (a cultivation and retail partnership specific to Pennsylvania), says that an underlying tenet of medical marijuana retail management is to cater to the needs and desires of patients.
“First and foremost, it’s great that we would move in that direction in Pennsylvania for the patients,” Bachtell says. “One of the things