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PA Legislators Say Edible Marijuana is Dangerous; Causes Respiratory and Digestive Side Effects

Screenshot 2023-09-08 at 19.57.30

An edible medical marijuana rice snack.

Dan Holm | Shutterstock

(The Center Square) – Officials tasked with monitoring the state's medical marijuana program said this week edibles don't belong in Pennsylvania's marketplace.

Concerns about safety, efficacy and legal enforcement gave members of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Program pause. Six abstained from voting on the recommendation at all during its Wednesday meeting. Only two members supported the proposal, while two more rejected it.

The vote came after a discussion about the growing popularity of "troches," an ingestible form of THC that resembles a cough drop. Dispensaries market the product alongside tinctures, which users absorb sublingually.

Supporters say some patients dislike the respiratory and digestive side effects that come from other forms of medical marijuana, including vaping cartridges, flowers, pills, and concentrates. Edibles offer a viable alternative.

Critics argue, however, that traditional edibles offered in other states come with a higher risk of poisoning, particularly in children, because of deceptive packaging and underestimated potency.

Recommendations, if approved by the board, head to the legislature for consideration. Pending bills in the Senate would bring edibles to the market with added regulations on testing and packaging. Other proposals would eliminate the state's list of qualifying conditions, no longer require renewal of access cards, and allow growers and processors to sell directly to patients.

A Senate Republican spokeswoman said conversations about the legislation are "ongoing."