As the headlines continue to swell with news of adult-use marijuana, let Prime Wellness of PA be your navigator for the sea of information coming out with our new “Budding News” series. Each installment will alert you to the latest developments in the marijuana space, keeping you in the know and well-equipped to make informed, legal purchases. 

Read our debut edition of “Budding News” below, which will explore the launch of adult-use market sales in New York and what this means for social equity in our industry. We’ll also delve into the importance of regulated marijuana for consumer safety, take a closer look at prime’s quality control measures and link you to resources about legislative progress.

Making Marijuana History

New York state completed its first day of legal adult-use marijuana sales at the end of December. New York’s first adult-use purchase was made by Chris Alexander, who bought watermelon-infused gummies and flower. After years of advocacy for marijuana reform, Alexander now serves as executive director of New York’s Office of Cannabis Management. The dispensary that sold Alexander his historic purchase, Housing Works Cannabis Co. in the Village in lower Manhattan operates as a nonprofit that funds healthcare, housing, and job skills training for the local community. 

Although New York’s medical marijuana program has been operational since 2014, the legalization of adult-use is a landmark moment, introducing opportunities for residents over 21 years of age to cultivate a maximum of three plants in their homes and consume marijuana in the same public spaces where tobacco is allowable. For the safety of all New Yorkers, consumption in motor vehicles — or the use of motor vehicles while intoxicated — is subject to the same legal consequences as driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances. 

Safety of the product itself is another landmark achievement of New York’s legalization efforts.  Because fatal marijuana overdoses are virtually impossible, consumers might overlook the risks at play when ingesting unregulated, black market marijuana. Recent studies of illegal marijuana products distributed in New York found concerning levels of bacteria, mycotoxins, and molds, as well as less THC content than what was advertised on labels. When using unregulated marijuana, unpredictable experiences may ensue with results ranging from disappointment to serious illness. The strict compliance with laboratory testing and quality control measures mandated by a legal market ensures the safety of consumers. At Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, quality control measures are built into every step of our seed-to-sale process — hand-trimming every bud of our premium whole flower, monitoring climate conditions to preserve terpenes and cannabinoids, and developing strain-specific processing techniques to meet the unique needs of our diverse cultivars. 

Creating an Era of Equity

New York’s first adult-use sale represents a new era for our industry:one which actively holds changemakers accountable for the harms caused by the war on drugs and seeks to build economic progress within impacted communities. It’s a solid first step toward creating a more equitable culture in the marijuana industry. 

How can patients in the Commonwealth medical marijuana program advocate for more progressive policies in Pennsylvania?  The Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition is one organization offering solutions for positive change. The coalition says its purpose is to “protect and preserve Pennsylvania’s emerging medical marijuana market, while also advocating for a well-regulated adult use market.” Its tactics for achieving this goal include lobbying with local officials and legislative authorities in Harrisburg, analyzing relevant legislation and directly encouraging program member involvement through committees. Prime Wellness of PA is a proud member of this trade organization and advocates for Commonwealth marijuana legislation that makes sense for us all — everyday patients, dedicated industry workers, and potential adult-use consumers of the future.