Monday December 6, 2021
By Trevor Ross
Pennsylvania legalized the medicinal use of cannabis in 2016, and the state currently has approximately 350,000 sanctioned users (Pennsylvania does not currently offer reciprocity for out-of-state medical cards). Unfortunately, those patients find themselves with a limited number of brands to choose from at the dispensary.
Because of the strict legal framework of the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania’s modest few retailer’s licenses were quickly scooped up by multi-state operators (MSOs) like Cresco and Truelieve. Jushi, another multi-state conglomerate, has recently invested millions into the state to establish a foothold in the market while the state senate begins its most earnest talks yet about adult-use legalization.
As a result, a list of our favorite medical marijuana brands in Pennsylvania may read like a list of our favorite restaurants in the food court: a bit familiar, and you’ll know what to expect, but dependable nonetheless. There won’t be any hidden gems on here, but if you’re new to Pennsylvania dispensaries, here are the brands we suggest looking at first.
Rhythm certainly has the reputation for being a top shelf selection, and they can back it up--for a price. Rhythm’s vape cartridges and disposables are always smooth, and have consistent THC percentages around 70-75%, but they are usually the most expensive option in the case as well. A 500mg (.5g) cartridge is $60, across the state, and another $5 for live resin. Still, parting with the cash is the worst experience you’ll have with this brand.
Cresco is an MSO that operates Sunnyside dispensaries. They are also the “number one U.S. wholesaler of branded cannabis products,” so their appearance on this list might look like we’re recommending Starbucks coffee.
Admittedly, there is nothing unique about Cresco’s vape cartridges, and they don’t excel at anything in particular, but they also rarely crystalize or clog up, and they offer a wide variety of live resin carts. To compare them to Starbucks isn’t a rave review, but it’s certainly not an insult. Cresco can be counted on for a dependable product, and found at nearly every dispensary in the state.
The Lab is owned by Jushi, who also operate Beyond / Hello, a chain of 16 dispensaries across the state (16 of their 26 locations across 5 states total). It’s the “house wine” of vape cartridges in Pennsylvania, but sometimes a common glass of wine is all you need.
The Lab consistently offers a modest, but varied, range of strains for most moods or ailments, the carts almost never clog up, and consistently burn through the last drops. They are also the first cartridge this author has seen drop below $40 and stay there. Progress for Pennsylvanians.
Terrapin made its first sale in Colorado, but it was founded by a Penn State graduate, so the Keystone State can claim some hometown pride for this entry. Terrapin might achieve the best intersection here for price to quality. Their prices are always kept below the state average (a .5g cart is roughly $50, and Terrapin clocks in around $40). They have also received recognition for their efforts to hire more women at their facilities, and prioritizing veterans for security and transportation jobs. Not a bad way to spend your dollar.
Another house brand owned by Jushi, The Bank shows up at every price tier, from about $40-60 for an eighth. Of course, if you can spring for a more expensive batch, you’ll likely receive a quality harvest or more rare strain at the moment, but even their more economical options carry similar THC percentages--around 20%.
No edibles or tinctures were featured on this list in large part because the options are few, and become fewer still for patients looking for CBD blends. MSO brands corner much of the edible market with Illera tinctures featuring prominently. Cresco’s Remedi brand is about the only spray. and gLeaf tends to offer better flavors with slightly higher THC. Otherwise, edibles in Pennsylvania are limited to capsules, which are often packaged in 5mg doses. No brand is particularly great or poor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who has the best medical marijuana in PA?
Because much of the Pennsylvania market is administered by multi-state operators, the final product is ruthlessly standardized, leaving little room for unique flavor or presentation. This means it’s difficult for many brands to rise above the rest. That said, the names on this list offer the quality of consistence.
What kinds of edibles are available in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania only offers edibles in the form of capsules, like pills. The decision to keep cannabis out of confections like cookies or candy was meant to minimize the risk of cannabis products falling into children’s hands.
Pennsylvanians, what medicinal marijuana brands do you love? Share in the comments below!