Pennsylvania took a major step forward on the road to creating the infrastructure for its medical marijuana industry which is expected to be fully operational in 2018. The state has announced which applicants have received dispensary permits, thereby pointing to the locations where dispensaries will be located. 27 applicants received a permit and each has the option to open up to 3 stores as long as each is in a different county. It seems unlikely that applicants will open more than 1 or 2 dispensaries each at this stage but they are permitted to open their 3rd location at any given time in the future.
The Worth of a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana License
Applicants paid $5,000 to apply for the permit as well as put down a $30,000 deposit for every store which would only be refunded to those whose applications were not accepted. The dispensary permits are valued by experts at being anywhere between $10 and $20 million depending on the location. The law in Pennsylvania is still quite strict when it comes to the allowable forms of medical marijuana consumption. Dispensaries will only be legally allowed to sell medical marijuana as a pill, lotion or oil that can be vaporized. It will not be legal to sell it in plant or edible form.
According to MarijuanaDoctors.com medical marijuana will be available to patients suffering from one of following 17 debilitating conditions:
- Positive status for human immunodeficiency virus or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Crohn’s disease
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Intractable seizures
- Sickle cell anemia
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention or opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Terminally ill, where a medical prognosis of life expectancy of approximately one year or less if the illness runs its normal course
- Ulcerative colitis
Patients will need to be certified by a doctor and receive an ID in order to be able to purchase their medication at any of the licensed dispensaries.
Controversy Over Distributed Permits
Last week 12 recipients of permits for growing and manufacturing medical marijuana were announced, keeping the state’s schedule on track for next year’s launch. The Health Department has attempted to be fair and cautious in its approach towards distributing permits although there are still applicants who were denied permits who are claiming they have been biased. April Hutcheson, a spokeswoman for the state Health Department said that this is just the beginning of the program. The city zoning office is prepared to expand the number of dispensary locations as the need grows.
Pennsylvania is one of 29 states to have legalized medical marijuana. As more and more information becomes available on the powerful medicinal uses of the plant, it continues to become legal across the country. There are currently several bipartisan bills being reviewed that seek to make medical marijuana legal or at minimum protected from federal interference.