Last week the Pennsylvania Department of Health (PaDOH) Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) issued the first large cannabis product recall in the program’s history, reported Lehigh Valley NORML
“There is a long list of affected products; all of them are concentrated forms of cannabis. The core issues are a set of questionable ingredients and processing techniques,” the organization noted in a press release.
NORML considered the recall effort as “the third strike for permit holders in the program”.
In the fall of 2021, registered patients received an email from the MMP alerting them that an overview of these products was being conducted while the products remained available for sale in dispensaries. However, the recent recall removed the products from dispensaries.
The measure “impacted every permit holder and a majority of patients,” NORML stated.
Patients Can’t Endure Disruption In Cannabis’ Supply Chain
Jeff Riedy, executive director of Lehigh Valley NORML noted that concerns regarding lack of FDA approval for “vaping” terpenes and some other naturally derived additives have been a lingering issue.
“The FDA deemed many of these same additives as specifically unsafe for devices like ‘vape carts’ back in 2016, one full year before the rollout of our medical cannabis program,” said Riedy, “Did operators, or even regulators, know of these risks the entire time?”
According to NORML, many Pennsylvanians have transitioned from a regime of prescription drugs to cannabis therapy, and can’t endure any disruption in that supply. Noteworthy is the recalled products are some of the most expensive on the dispensary’s shelves.
“As a patient advocate, I support product safety recalls,” Riedy said. “I’m very disappointed in how the Department of Health is handling patients in this process. There was no instruction or guidance offered about returns and refunds. There has been no communication on alternative products. In fact, there’s been little interaction at all. Many are now desperate. Where can they turn?”
NORML advised Pennsylvania’s MMP to take the following steps:
Build a new patient advisory board to help strengthen communications with the public during this recall;
Allow reciprocity for patients with other state programs;
Issue clear instructions for returns and refunds.
In addition, NORML noted “Legislators in Harrisburg should also consider quickly passing SB1024, a medical cannabis home cultivation bill from Senators Dan Laughlin (R) and Sharif Street (D). This would ensure an additional avenue for safe access.”
Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash.