A Lehigh County judge ruled the smell of marijuana does not give police the right to search the vehicle of a medical marijuana card holder. A Lehigh Valley dispensary is looking to prevent mistakes in the field by better educating law enforcement.
The Pennsylvania medical marijuana program is under two years old, and there's a lot left to learn.
In Monday's ruling, Judge Maria Dantos said there's a clear disconnect between the the medical marijuana and the law enforcement communities. Officials from Keystone Canna Remedies in Allentown and Bethlehem are looking to bridge that gap by educating law enforcement and their patients"
"Next week will be a year and a half into the medical marijuana program here in Pennsylvania. That's still very early." said Victor Guadagnino from Keystone Canna Remedies.
Guadagnino doesn't expect all police officers to be well versed on a program this new. That's why they offer educational seminars to police departments to help them understand what to look for.
A state trooper who searched the vehicle of a Germansville man after smelling marijuana testified she didn't know dried flower was legally available to patients. The incident happened in November of last year, only two months after flower marijuana became available.
"[We show police] what the medical marijuana program entails in terms of compliance regulations and what products look like in the containers." Guadagnino said, "And the labels we're required to have on every single one of our products."
Each product from any PA dispensary will have a label from the state. It marks the chemical properties, where it's from, and a bar code. Guadagnino said medical marijuana has tougher tracking regulations than opioid prescriptions.
He said, "That tracking is done through a state issued label. And the label is going to have a lot number and a bar code. Our address, the dispensaries address"
And they also make sure their patients are aware of what they should be doing. Above all, they tell patients not to get behind the wheel when taking new marijuana medication.
Guadagnino said, "We advise patients to keep the medication in it's original container, keep their receipt on them, and to have their medical marijuana ID card on them at all times."
Keystone Canna Remedies will be opening up a third dispensary in Monroe County, Stroud Township and they are offering their educational workshop to any law enforcement who wants it.