Pennsylvania judge: Medical cannabis operators can resume vape sales

(This story has been updated to include a statement from the Pennsylvania Department of Health.)

A Pennsylvania judge ruled that medical marijuana operators can resume selling vape products that were recalled four months ago, a major win for the state’s MMJ businesses.

In February, state marijuana regulators recalled more than 500 vape products, claiming they contained ingredients not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for inhalation.

Producers, processors and retailers feared that the ruling could have led to devastating financial losses.

A group of cannabis companies called the Medical Marijuana Access and Patient Safety (MMAPS) sued the state Department of Health, claiming the recall was unfounded.

MMAPS noted in a statement that the Commonwealth Court judge’s order this week allows dispensaries to immediately restock the previously recalled MMJ vape products, pending final resolution of the case.

Jim Cacioppo, CEO of Florida-based Jushi Holdings, a leading MMJ operator in Pennsylvania, said in the statement that the order should “deliver the peace of mind that these medical marijuana products did not present the health risks the Department (of Health) alleged.

“In fact, the court noted the Department itself (previously) approved the recalled products for patient use following stringent quality and safety testing and found no evidence of a single adverse event related to any recalled product,” Cacioppo said.

In the statement, Judith Cassel, the lead counsel for MMAPS, encouraged the health department to “discuss expeditiously resolving this matter in advance of a protracted litigation process.”

She noted the likelihood that MMAPS also would prevail on appeal given this week’s ruling.

Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition Executive Director Meredith Buettner, in a separate statement, also encouraged the state to resolve the matter.

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State regulators indicated Thursday that they intend to continue the legal fight.

“The latest decision by the court lifts an automatic stay and by doing so prevents the department from stopping the sale of the recalled products,” Maggi Barton, deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania health department, wrote in an email to MJBizDaily.

“While the state continues its appeal, the department cannot prevent grower/processors from distributing previously recalled products.”

The case dates to November 2021 when, in an unprecedented move, Pennsylvania MMJ regulators ordered every licensed grower/processor to resubmit vaporized cannabis products that contained additives for another approval.