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As Medical Cannabis Implemented, Wolf Says PA Not Ready For Recreational Weed

Gov. Tom Wolf pictured on May 1, 2017 in York, Pa. while announcing the creating of new jobs with the expansion of BAE Systems.

Pennsylvania is on track to have medical cannabis on dispensary shelves come next April, according to Gov. Tom Wolf.

However, the legally permissible forms of medical marijuana might be more varied than originally thought.

The law, as passed, allows medical cannabis in pills, oils, topical treatments and liquids. 

“There is no THC in (those) forms of the marijuana,” Wolf said. THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the part the creates a high.

At the recent World Medical Cannabis Conference in Pittsburgh, state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) told attendees that he expects the medical marijuana will also be available in a smokeable plant form when the dispensaries open for business. 

Leach, a prime sponsor of the legislation, said there’s a provision that allows and advisory panel to recommend increasing the types of permissible medical cannabis including the leaf form.

Wolf said the bill only received legislative approval because it did not include the leaf form of marijuana.  

“That was the idea, to make sure that anybody who was concerned about this, that it would lead to something more,” Wolf said, referring to smoking marijuana. “I am supportive right now of what we have in this bill to get medical marijuana to the sufferers in the forms that the bill allows.” 

The final decision of whether to include leaf marijuana in the list of permissible forms of medical cannabis would be up to the Secretary of Health. 

“I hope (the secretary) will continue to look out for the welfare of the people of Pennsylvania,” Wolf said. “If this is something that we’re moving toward recreational marijuana, I don’t think Pennsylvania is ready for that.”

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago. kgavin@wesa.fm