Pennsylvania Health Department Drops Appeal To Ban Vapes

The Pennsylvania Department of Health withdrew its appeal to recall vape products after a half-year pushback from advocacy networks.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health withdrew its appeal to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to recall various vaporized medical cannabis products after a half-year pushback from advocacy network Medical Marijuana Access and Patient Safety.

The retraction on Aug. 17 came months after the department issued a recall and ban of hundreds of medical cannabis vape products.

In response to a complaint filed by the coalition of patients, caregivers, doctors, industry members and advocates, the Commonwealth Court judge issued a 27-page opinion in June stating that the health department failed to present evidence to the court “of potential harm to medical marijuana patients due to the recalled products, or more specifically due to the addition of terpenes to these products.”

The court also said that the department did not produce any witnesses who could present complaints or testimony about any adverse effects.

The order allowed dispensaries to restock the previously recalled medical marijuana products since the court found no basis to allow it to remain in effect pending final resolution of the litigation.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health moved to appeal the preliminary injunction before backing down last week after MMAPS submitted Right-To-Know requests seeking to obtain any information or documents that would have supported the department’s recall.

“The withdrawal of the appeal reaffirms this conclusion,” MMAPS said in a statement. “In light of these facts, MMAPS believes the DOH should drop the remaining litigation to prevent further confusion and increased costs for patients.”

The preliminary injunction will remain in place as the case moves through the Commonwealth Court.

In addition to removing access to vaporized cannabis medication for patients in the state, MMAPS contended earlier this year that the recall would trigger supply shortages of medication and push patients toward “the untested illicit market, where no testing or safety regulations are, or have ever been, available.”

“Unlike the illicit market alternatives, the medications recalled were previously approved by the department, tested and used without incident,” MMAPS said in a statement after the recall was issued. “They are a critical part of patients’ treatment regimen, making limited access a patient safety concern.

“Additionally, the recall of these medications now is not based on any triggering event threatening patient health and safety – it is based on an erroneous interpretation of new statutory language.”‘

Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson covers the cannabis industry for The Green Market Report. He previously covered the Missouri statehouse for The Columbia Missourian and freelanced for The Missouri Independent. He most recently covered retail, restaurants, and other consumer companies for Bloomberg Business News. You can find him on Twitter @adam_sjackson and email him at adam.jackson@crain.com.


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