HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Changes are coming to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.

The department of health is banning the use of products that contain additives not approved by the FDA. This affects vaporized medical marijuana products. On the Department of Health’s website, there is a list of more than 600 products the department wants people to stop using.

They have also asked growers and processors to stop selling the items listed.

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An email sent to patients and caregivers who are a part of the Medical Marijuana Program said the following:

The Department of Health is committed to ensuring that the Medical Marijuana Program is operating appropriately and effectively. As you know the Department recently conducted a statewide review of all vaporized medical marijuana products containing added ingredients. After finishing this review, the Department has determined that certain vaporized medical marijuana products containing some added ingredients have not been approved for inhalation by the United States Food and Drug Administration.

Office of Medical Marijuana

However, the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition is not happy about the agency’s decision. In a press statement, they said the following:

The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition strongly disagrees with the ill-advised action by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana to ban all additives in vaporized medical marijuana products. This action affects the second largest category of products on the market. The Department has previously approved these products which hundreds of thousands of patients have been safely and effectively using to treat their serious medical conditions since 2018. During that time the Department has not once publicly reported any adverse events related to these products.

The Department of Health has unnecessarily caused panic amongst patients. The decision issued via email is a gross misinterpretation of statute and is not based on any scientific standard.

This action will not only deprive patients of their medicine but will create an artificial supply issue in the regulated market. It will cause irreparable damage to Pennsylvania’s thriving medical marijuana market while putting patients’ health and safety at risk by driving them back into the illicit market.

We encourage the Department to stay its order and to meet with medical and industry experts to develop product standards that provide safe, effective medicine to the Commonwealth’s half a million medical marijuana patients. 

Meredith Buettner, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition

The ban comes after the DOH reviewed vaporizes medical marijuana products containing ingredients that have been a part of the program since 2018. Buettner adds that the DOH is using an FDA standard list that has yet to be applied to the products.

“While many of the ingredients the department has used in the program don’t appear on this FDA list. They also don’t appear on a list that says they are harmful either,” Buettner said.

The coalition would like to sit down with the DOH and other experts to determine the best solution going forward.