Before anyone in Pennsylvania was approved to prescribe, buy or sell medical marijuana, Westmoreland County Park Police stopped a vehicle in Twin Lakes Park containing four bags of marijuana-laced munchies that caught officers by surprise.
In the August 2017 traffic stop, Park Police Officer Bill Meyers and K9 Officer Rex seized about 80 grams of marijuana along with four bags of Yummi Karma brand Medical Cannabis chips in sour cream and onion, salt and pepper, nacho cheese tortilla and zesty ranch tortilla flavors.
Park Police Cpl. Jason Monyok said it was the agency’s first seizure of such a product, and the first time that the state police lab in Hempfield had been asked to test such a product to confirm that it contained an illegal substance.
“Generally when we see edibles, it’s the brownies, cookies, that kind of thing. … This was the first time anybody’s encountered potato chips,” Monyok said. “It probably came from somewhere where the state has decriminalized. … It’s not something you see in these parts.”
Police did not release information about the case or the edibles until now because it took almost a year for the police lab to test the chips and confirm what they were, Monyok said.
Although Pennsylvania made medical marijuana legal and opened its first dispensaries in February, the state allows only pills, oils, tinctures and creams — not dry-leaf marijuana or edibles that have the active ingredient, THC, precooked into them. The state recently moved to expand the number of dispensaries and producers .
Edibles are legal or sold in 20 states where medical or recreational marijuana have been legalized, though most can be legally purchased only through a dispensary or a medical provider. Many states have started trying to regulate edibles more extensively, setting rules for what forms they can take and how they can be packaged in an effort to keep them from being confused with normal baked goods or candies.
“The rules regarding edibles … are a big patchwork of differing regulations,” said Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
According to Yummi Karma’s website, their products, which include tinctures and pot-laced popcorn, are available only for sale in California. Monyok said the two people in the vehicle didn’t say how they got the chips.
The 21-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman both pleaded no contest for probation without verdict on misdemeanor charges of possessing a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. They each served a year of probation, which ended in early March.