Blog: Upcoming Pennsylvania bill lets medical marijuana grower/processors sell directly to patients – Financial Regulation News – Financial Regulation News

A Pennsylvania state senator plans “in the near future” to introduce legislation that would amend the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program to provide in-state, independent grower/processors with permits to sell directly to patients.

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“Originally, the medical marijuana program did not allow a Pennsylvania-based grower/processor to sell medicinal marijuana directly to patients. Instead, the grower/processor must sell to an authorized distributor,” State Sen. Chris Gebhard (R-District 48) said in a Sept. 7 cosponsorship memo sent to his Pennsylvania Senate colleagues.

“However, as the program has evolved and expanded, the [state] Department of Health enabled some growers to sell directly to patients while leaving other growers without the ability to sell directly to patients,” according to Gebhard’s memo. “This has now created an unfair system for getting products to patients.”

In what the lawmaker calls “the most even-handed solution” to the problem, Gebhard says that two permits should be issued to all the independent Pennsylvania-based grower/processors who do not currently have one.

“This will create a free and fair market and will allow these businesses to operate on the same playing field as their competitors,” Gebhard said in his memo, which calls on the state senators to join him in helping to make Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program more equitable.

Currently, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law dictates that just 25 businesses may be licensed to grow and process marijuana, and no more than five of those licensees can sell directly to patients through vertically integrated dispensaries, according to the July report issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana.

Pennsylvania’s cannabis law also says that businesses with a retail permit can’t operate more than 15 dispensaries, the report says.

Specifically, according to Gebhard’s cosponsorship memo, his forthcoming bill would create a new permitting process to allow any Pennsylvania-based independent cannabis grower/processor to open dispensaries as vertically integrated businesses, and would give independent grower/processors the option to obtain a secondary permit to sell the product they grow, rather than sell to licensed distributors.

Although Pennsylvania has not yet enacted adult-use legalization of marijuana, the state is expected at some point to join other nearby states, like New York and New Jersey, in allowing recreational cannabis sales. The state legalized medical marijuana use in 2016.

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