Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania
In 2016, the Governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, signed Senate Bill 3 into law giving physicians the approval to prescribe medical marijuana to patients who meet any of the twenty-three (23) qualifying conditions. On February 15, 2018, medical marijuana dispensaries in Pennsylvania opened their doors to sell prescribed marijuana to qualified patients. In its first year, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program reached $132 million in sales from approximately 600,000 transactions in dispensaries.
In December 2018, Governor Wolf had a Twitter chat asking Pennsylvanians for their thoughts on cannabis legalization. Within a month, he put a team together to travel the state, asking the public for their input. By September 2019, the Governor divulged the results of the statewide tour. It turned out that 68% of the residents questioned were in favor of legalizing marijuana. Almost every attendee was in favor of decriminalization. The findings of the tour resulted in the Governor asking the state legislature for actions he wished the state to take:
- Debate and consideration of legislation to legalize cannabis for recreational use
- The passage of legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis
- Passage of legislation to expunge prior cannabis convictions
On June 30, 2021, Governor Wolf signed House Bill 1024 into law, which expanded access to Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program by listing more qualifying conditions such as those in cancer remission therapy or suffering from damage to nervous tissue to the brain. Also, it increased possession limits, removed the restriction on the amount of patients a caregiver can help, and permitted curbside pickup and telemedicine certifications as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
- Anxiety disorders.
- Cancer, including remission therapy.
- Crohn’s disease.
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the central nervous system (brain-spinal cord) with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, and other associated neuropathies.
- Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders.
- HIV / AIDS.
- Huntington’s disease.
- Inflammatory bowel disease.
- Intractable seizures.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Neurodegenerative diseases.
- Opioid use disorder for which conventional therapeutic interventions are contraindicated or ineffective, or for which adjunctive therapy is indicated in combination with primary therapeutic interventions.
- Parkinson’s disease.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain.
- Sickle cell anemia.
- Terminal illness.
- Tourette syndrome.
Applications for Medical Marijuana Business Licenses
The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board (“Board”) under Pennsylvania’s Department of Health oversees the medical marijuana business licensing application process. In 2017, twelve (12) Growers/Processors were granted licenses. In Phase I, the Board further approved twenty-seven (27) dispensary licenses. During Phase II of the Board’s licensing program in 2018, they awarded the remaining licenses for each category – thirteen (13) additional Growers/Processor and twenty-three (23) additional Dispensary licensees.
There are two (2) broad types of medical marijuana business licenses you can acquire:
- Application Fee: $5,000
- License Fee: $30,000 (per new location)
- Application Fee: $10,000
- License Fee: $200,000
Further, the Board is currently accepting applications for those interested in obtaining a Laboratory license. However, there is no open application process for a Grower/Processor or Dispensary license. Although the Board has yet to license additional applicants since 2018, Pennsylvania is on its way to legalize adult-use in the very near future. Now is the time to work with a team of experts to create a competitive team and application to apply in the fifth most populated state in the country! Schedule a time to discuss your options with us here.
Last Updated: July 26th, 2023