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Cannabis Vaping in Pennsylvania: Why the Keystone State is Getting Stoned

John Carter

Written by: John Carter

Updated on January 12, 2024

Cannabis Vaping in Pennsylvania: Why the Keystone State is Getting Stoned

As the fifth most-populous state in the United State, with over 13 million residents, Pennsylvania presents a sizeable potential market for cannabis brands. Unfortunately, the state is yet to legalize cannabis for recreational use, after having finally legalized it for medical use in 2016. Still, the increasing popularity of cannabis use for medical purposes has resulted in a rising demand for cannabis vapes. In this article, we will look at the trends on medical cannabis vapes in Pennsylvania, starting with the history of cannabis use in the state, how legalization came about, the reason for its popularity and how cannabis vape brands can capitalize on the growing consumer base in the state.

Cannabis Legalization in Pennsylvania

Cannabis has been in the Keystone State since the colonial days, with the founder of the state, William Penn, being an enthusiastic supporter of growing hemp as a cash crop. In 1683, two years after the state’s founding, he made it legal for farmers to grow hemp in the state. Throughout the 1700s and 1800s, the hemp industry was alive and well in Pennsylvania, with Hempfield Township in Lancaster known as the capital of hemp. That is, until the Reefer Madness scare campaign of the 1930s of the drummed up stigma against cannabis and turned Americans against it. The Governor of Pennsylvania made cannabis illegal in the state in 1933, four years before it was banned by the federal government.

In 2016, the Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed a senate bill to legalize the medical use of cannabis, allowing it with a physician’s approval for treatment of certain qualifying conditions. Th ese conditions included cancer, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord damage causing intractable spasticity, epilepsy, IBS, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, PTSD, intractable seizures, glaucoma, sickle cell anemia, autism, neuropathic pain, and untreatable severe chronic pain. The bill also set up a state-licensed system for distributing cannabis to patients, limited only to non-smokable forms (this limitation was repealed in 2018).

When the bill passed both the House and Senate with a firm majority in March 2016, Pennsylvania became the 24th state to legalize cannabis for medical use. The State Capitol building was lit in green to celebrate the occasion, though the first licensed sale of cannabis did not occur until February 2018. With legalization, registered physicians can prescribe a maximum of 30 days’ supply to patients, with a refill allowed once they’re down to 7 days’ supply. Patients are allowed to use medical cannabis at private residences. There are now over 1,000 physicians in the state who can prescribe cannabis for medical treatment.


While recreational use of cannabis is still illegal in the state, several cities in Pennsylvania have decriminalized it (including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, State College, York, Erie, Allentown, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Steelton). Most of these cities allow possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis, carrying low fines from $25 to $250. In September 2019, after a tour spanning all counties in the state, Gov. Wolf announced that 68% of Pennsylvania residents were in favor of legalization. The governor himself came in full support of legalization, calling for state legislature to take action. Indeed, full legalization may only be a year or two away.

The Medical Cannabis Market in Pennsylvania

Since legalization of medical cannabis, sales of cannabis have steadily risen in Pennsylvania. The state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board reported that by 2021, the market had reached US$3.4 billion in total sales since medical use was legalized. From April 2020 to March 2021, the medical cannabis revenue reached US$909.4 million, enjoying an annual increase of 108%. The chart below shows the consistent monthly increase in medical cannabis sales revenue. Sales are projected to reach US$1.6 billion to US$2.0 billion in 2022—as of August 2022, there are 161 medical cannabis stores operating in the state.

In terms of popularity of cannabis products for medical use in Pennsylvania, as of 2021, flower unsurprisingly formed the highest sales. As the chart below shows, however, cannabis vapes came in second, with only a narrow gap between the sales figures of flower and vapes. A reason for this is because even though the non-smokable limit was repealed in 2018, it is still illegal to directly smoke cannabis plants (by combustion method). Patients are only allowed to use vaporizers with dry herb and flower, and of course vaporizers can be used with cannabis vape oils, as well. As a result, the medical cannabis market in Pennsylvania shows great opportunity for vape manufacturers and brands.

sales figures of flower and vapes

Bringing Cannabis Vapes into Pennsylvania

As shown above, Pennsylvania is a lucrative spot to bring in cannabis vape products, even while legalization for recreational use has yet to transpire. First of all, legal status and public perception aside, cannabis has been shown be an effective therapeutic for many medical conditions. As we’ve discussed in other articles, vaping cannabis is arguably the most effective delivery method for medical purposes due to the rapid onset of effects and the high bioavailability of cannabinoids. With full legalization likely to happen in the near future, entering the market now would allow your brand to get a firm foothold before the inevitable increase in competition.

For brands looking for the best vaporizing devices for medical purposes, Cilicon is ready to be your partner and support your endeavor. The Cilicon EDGE Air1, for example, is a sleek vaporizing device with a unique design featuring a sloped window, perfect for medical cannabis use. It is lightweight, clocking at only 19 grams, with a rubber-painted exterior and rounded edges, making it easy for medical patients to grip and hold, even for extended periods. More importantly, the patented Duair™ Technology solves the clogging problem common in cannabis vapes, no matter the weather, without a need for buttons. The Formatrix™ Ceramic Heating technology provides superior flavor and vapor consistency.


Cilicon also uses only the highest-quality materials in our products, which is especially important when manufacturing vapes for medical use. We use medical-grade stainless steel in our central tube, eliminating health risks associated with heavy metal leeching. Not to mention, many of our devices, like the EDGE Air1, use 99% degradable plastic material as one of the battery housing options, reducing the products’ carbon footprint and making them more environmentally responsible. The health and safety of cannabis consumers are at the forefront of our business, and we can help you ensure that your cannabis vaporizers are high-quality, user-friendly, yet still affordable for medical patients.

So given Pennsylvania’s history with cannabis and legalization, it is no wonder that cannabis brands are increasingly interested to expand into the state. With strict rules around medical use, cannabis vapes are one of the most promising products to bring to the cannabis medical consumers in the state. Cilicon is happy to partner with cannabis brands to bring the highest-quality cannabis devices to Pennsylvania equipped with the latest ceramic heating technologies. Our market research and design teams are also prepared to provide their support and know-how. With full cannabis legalization on the horizon, cannabis brands can prepare for even greater opportunities in the state.

John Carter
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