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Regulatory Updates

Check back often as Cannabis Law PA provides updates on state and federal cannabis regulations, including regulations from the Pennsylvania Department of Health under the Medical Marijuana Act and other related developments.

New amendments to the Pennsylvaia Medical Marijuana Act push back timeline for regulations to be issued for market participants

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Announces Change in 2020 Hemp Program Application Process Related to COVID-19 Service Disruptions

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture released the following announcement regarding the 2020 Pennsylvania Hemp Application Process:

The deadline for hemp grower applications is April 1, 2020. However, applications that are submitted without the required IdentoGO receipts, or without the IdentoGO information, will be accepted and processed. A new deadline for receipt of complete IdentoGO information will be set after the service is reinstated, providing ample time for the fingerprinting process to be completed. The applicant will be responsible for submitting the required IdentoGO information once the service is reinstated and the Department will review all IdentoGO information and take appropriate enforcement action where necessary.

The Department expects that applicants should be able to obtain other documents without impact by COVID-19 (application, property maps, property leases and access agreements). However, the Department will consider exceptions to the April 1, 2020 deadline on a case by case basis, if written notification detailing extenuating circumstances affecting the gathering of these documents is received prior to the April 1, 2020 deadline.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Extension of Medical Marijuana Temporary Regulations
April 2, 2020

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health announced that its temporary medical marijuana regulations will be extended. The new deadline for expiration of the regulations is November 20, 2021.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues to expand its medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Availability of Applications for Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrants
February 22, 2020

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health announced that clinical registrant applications will be made available on the Department’s website on February 27, 2020. The Department will accept applications until March 26, 2020.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues to expand its medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Approves Additional Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrants
February 20, 2020

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health has approved four additional clinical registrants for participation in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana research program.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues to expand its medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Meeting Schedule
November 2, 2019

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health announced the days and times of future meetings of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. At these meetings the Board will present and discuss Board progress and future plans.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues to expand its medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Next Round of Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrant Applications
August 24, 2019

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health announced the release of applications for approval of a Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrant (CR). The CR applications will be released ont the Department’s website on September 5, 2019. The deadline for application submission is October 10, 2019.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Addition of Anxiety and Tourette’s to Serious Medical Conditions Qualifying for Medical Marijuana
July 20, 2019

The Pennsylvania Deparment of Health announced the addition of two new serious medical conditions, Anxiety and Tourette’s Syndrome qualifying for the use of medical marijuana under the Medical Marijuana Act (35 P.S. §§ 10231.101—10231.2110). The addition is the result of the Secretary of Health’s approval of the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board’s recommendation.

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues to expand its medical marijuana program.

Hemp & Medical Marijuana Legislative Update
May 2019

Stay up to date with the evolving hemp and medical marijuana industries with Cannabis Law PA’s legislative update.

Pa Department of Agriculture Approves 84 Industrial Hemp Application; Re-Opens 2019 Program for Commercial Growers
January 22, 2019

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has submitted its state plan for industrial hemp to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and will re-open the 2019 program to include applications for commercial growing operations. Pennsylvania is only the second state to submit a state plan to USDA.

Today, the department also approved 84 permit applications under the current the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program, legitimized by the 2014 Farm Bill and authorized in Pennsylvania statute by the Industrial Hemp Research Act. The Department also lifted Acreage caps—previously set at 100 acres—for the 84 approved applicants and acreage will no longer be restricted under the new program. Additionally, there will not be a cap on the number of applications accepted for 2019. The 84 approved applications will be finalized first; additional applications will be reviewed and processed on a first come, first serve basis. The department has updated the fee structure for the 2019 Industrial Hemp Program, creating savings for the already-approved applicants.

To learn more, visit our blog or contact us for more information.

Pa Department of Health Announces Phase II Medical Marijuana Dispensary Winners
December 18, 2018

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the names of 23 dispensary permit winners for Phase II of the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program. The permittees will now have six months to become operational bin order to begin dispensing medical marijuana. To learn more, visit our blog or contact us for more information.

Wolf Administration Announces Process to Add Conditions to List of Medical Marijuana Qualifying Conditions
December 7, 2018

The Wolf Administration announced that that the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board has unanimously approved a process in which serious medical conditions can be added, changed or reduced (such as streamlining condition definitions) from the list of qualifying conditions recognized by the Medical Marijuana Act. The application, found under the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board section of the website, allows either members of the public or physicians to apply to have conditions added, changed or reduced. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues implement its medical marijuana program.

Wolf Administration Announces Second Round of Applications for Medical Marijuana Research Program
December 5, 2018

The Wolf Administration announced that it will open a second round of applications for its medical marijuana research program in early 2019 as “no clinical registrant approvals were issued in the first round because none of the eight applicants met the rigorous requirements of the competitive application review process.” In addition, the press release confirms that more than 93,000 patients in Pennsylvania have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, and more than 62,000 have identification cards and are able to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary. Approximately 1,360 physicians have registered for the program, 945 of whom have been approved as practitioners. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues implement its medical marijuana program.

Wolf Administration Releases Clinical Registrant Applications
October 4, 2018

Following the approval of ACRCs last month, the Wolf Administration has released applications for prospective Clinical Registrants (CRs) seeking to partner with ACRCs to conduct research permitted by Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as Pennsylvania continues implement its medical marijuana program.

Wolf Administration Certifies Eight Medical Schools as Medical Marijuana Academic Clinical Research Centers
Sept. 21, 2018

On Friday, the Wolf Administration announced it has certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers (ACRCs) in Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Application Period for Academic Clinical Research Centers
Aug. 25, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced it will begin accepting applications from academic clinical research centers on September 6, 2018. The Department will accept applications from prospective academic clinical research centers until Septembe

r 20, 2018. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Temporary Regulations for Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrants and Academic Clinical Research Centers
Aug. 18, 2018

The finalized temporary regulations for medical marijuana clinical registrants and academic clinical research centers resulting from the June 22, 2018 amendment of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act have been published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Phase II Medical Marijuana Grower/Processor Permittees
July 31, 2018

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the following 13 new medical marijuana grower/processor permittees:

Highest Scoring
PennAlt Organics Inc

Southeast Region
DocHouse LLC
Agri-Kind LLC

Northeast Region
Pier Cove LLC
PharmaCann Penn Plant LLC

Southcentral Region
Green Leaf Medicals, LLC
Whole Plants LLC

Northcentral Region
INSA, LLC
Parea BioSciences, LLC

Southwest Region
Maitri Genetics, LLC
Hanging Gardens LLC

Northwest Region
Calypso Enterprises, LLC
FarmaceuticalRx, LLC

The scorecards for all applicants are also available on the Department’s website. Congratulations to Pennsylvania’s new medical cannabis industry members!

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Draft Amended Medical Marijuana Regulations
May 11, 2018

The following draft amended regulations are scheduled for publication in the May 12th Pennsylvania Bulletin, incorporating advisory board recommendations and adding a process for appeals:

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Phase 2 Medical Marijuana Grower/Processor and Dispensary Applications
April 5, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released applications for Phase 2 of the Medical Marijuana Program where 13 new medical marijuana growers/processors and 23 new dispensaries will be permitted. Permit applications will be released on April 5 with submissions postmarked by May 17. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Phase 2 of Medical Marijuana Program
March 22, 2018

The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Phase 2 of the Medical Marijuana Program where 13 new medical marijuana growers and 23 new dispensaries will be permitted. Permit applications will be released on April 5 with submissions postmarked by May 17. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Temporary Regulations for Medical Marijuana Clinical Registrants
March 17, 2018

The finalized temporary regulations for medical marijuana clinical registrants have been published in The Pennsylvania Bulletin. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Recommends Dry Leaf as an Added Form
March 5, 2018

On Monday, the state’s medical marijuana advisory board recommended to allow dry leaf cannabis to patients. The Secretary of the Department of Health will make the ultimate determination if dry leaf should be added. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Guidance for Medical Marijuana Testing Laboratories
January 16, 2018

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana has issued Guidance for Quality Testing and Sampling by Approved Medical Marijuana Laboratories. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Patient/Caregiver Temporary Regulations Released
November 11, 2017

The finalized temporary regulations for medical marijuana patients and caregivers can be found in The Pennsylvania Bulletin. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Launches Patient/Caregiver Registry and Redesigned Website
November 1, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has launched the medical marijuana patient/caregiver registry, including an instructional video from DOH patient liaison, Lolly Bentch, to assist patients registering for the program. In addition to the registry, DOH also launched its redesigned medical marijuana website. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

First Meeting of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board Scheduled
October 21, 2017

The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board is scheduled to meet for the first time on November 6 th . The Board’s purpose under the Medical Marijuana Act, among other things is to: examine and analyze the statutory and regulatory law relating to medical marijuana in this Commonwealth; examine and analyze the law and events in other states and the Nation with respect to medical marijuana; accept and review written comments from individuals and organizations about medical marijuana; and 2 years after the effective date of the act issue a written report to the Governor, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Draft Temporary Regulations for Medical Marijuana Patients and Caregivers
September 25, 2017

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released draft temporary regulations for patients and their caregivers, available on the Department’s website. Acting Health Secretary and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today encouraged patients and their caregivers to provide comments on the proposed regulations for their participation in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program: “Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program is about the patients suffering from one or more of the 17 serious medical conditions outlined in the law and the caregivers who provide them with extensive care as they suffer from their conditions,” Dr. Levine said. “The proposed regulations comment period provides an opportunity to participate in developing the program to meet your needs as a patient. Your input as to how these regulations will affect you is invaluable and will assist the department in implementing this program as effectively as possible.” Comments will be accepted until October 2, 2017. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Launches Medical Marijuana Practitioner Registry
July 26, 2017

Acting Secretary of Health and Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine today announced that physicians can now take the first steps to participate in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program by completing the Practitioner Registry. Two continuing education providers have been approved to offer the four-hour training required for practitioners: Extra Step Assurance LLC and The Answer Page Inc. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Dispensary Permit Award Winners
June 29, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced the following dispensary permit winners for Phase I of Pennsylvania’s medial marijuana permitting process:

  • GTI Pennsylvania, LLC
  • Dubois Wellness Center, LLC
  • Maitri Medicinals, LLC
  • Keystone Relief Centers, LLC
  • Cresco Yeltrah, LLC
  • The Healing Center LLC
  • Keystone Integrated Care, LLC
  • PA Health & Wellness LLC
  • Keystone Center of Integrative Wellness, LLC
  • Lebanon Wellness Center, LLC
  • Organic Remedies, LLC
  • KW Ventures Holdings LLC
  • Cansortium Pennsylvania, LLC
  • Mission Pennsylvania II, LLC
  • Columbia Care Pennsylvania, LLC
  • Justice Grown Pennsylvania LLC
  • GuadCo LLC
  • SMPB Retail LLC
  • Franklin Bioscience – Penn LLC
  • Chamounix Ventures, LLC
  • AES Compassionate Care LLC
  • BAY, LLC
  • IIera Healthcare LLC
  • TerraVida Holistic Centers LLC
  • PharmaCann Penn LLC
  • RestoreCann Penn LLC
  • Holistic Pharma, LLC

Visit our blog for more information on Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces Grower/Processor Permit Award Winners
June 20, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has announced the following grower/processor permit winners for Phase I of Pennsylvania’s medial marijuana permitting process:

Southeast

  • Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, LLC—South Heidelberg Township, Berks County
  • Franklin Labs, LLC—Reading, Berks County

Northeast

  • Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC—Scranton, Lackawanna County
  • Standard Farms, LLC—White Haven, Luzerne County

Southcentral

  • Ilera Healthcare, LLC—Taylor Township, Fulton County
  • AES Compassionate Care, LLC—Chambersburg, Franklin County

Northcentral

  • Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC—Pine Creek Township, Clinton County
  • GTI Pennsylvania, LLC—Danville, Mountour County

Southwest

  • AgriMED Industries of PA, LLC—Cumberland Township, Greene County
  • PurePenn, LLC—McKeesport, Allegheny County

Northeast

  • Holistic Farms, LLC—New Castle, Lawrence County
  • Cresco Yeltrah, LLC—Brookville, Jefferson County

Visit our blog for more information on Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases List of Grower/Processor and Dispensary Applications Received
June 15, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released full lists of the grower/processor and dispensary applications received for Phase I of the medial marijuana permitting process. Visit our blog for a regional breakdown of the applications received and to access the full lists released by the Department.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Draft Temporary Regulations for Clinical Registrants
June 5, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released proposed temporary regulations for clinical registrants, viewable here. The Department of Health will be accepting comments on these proposed regulations. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Temporary Medical Marijuana Physician and Practitioner Regulations Released
June 2, 2017

Temporary regulations for medical marijuana physicians and practitioners will be published in the June 3, 2017 edition of The Pennsylvania Bulletin . Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to promulgate regulations under Act 16.

Dr. Karen Murphy Leaving Pennsylvania Department of Health; Applications for Medical Marijuana Training Program Released

Governor Tom Wolf announced that Dr. Karen Murphy will be leaving the Pennsylvania Department of Health to enter the private sector. Commending Secretary Murphy for her numerous achievements throughout her time with the Department, Governor Wolf noted, “one of the most important pieces of legislation passed into law over the past two years was medical marijuana legislation. Since the passage of the legislation, Secretary Murphy oversaw the plan to develop the regulatory structure of the program to ensure that patients can get medication in under two years.”

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Department of Health also released the Application for Approval to Provide a 4-hour Training Course in the Medical Marijuana Program to provide training to physicians as a condition for their right to recommend marijuana, and for those physicians and pharmacists employed by medical marijuana dispensaries.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Applications for Medical Marijuana Laboratories
May 11, 2017

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health released the Application to Become an Approved Laboratory for Medical Marijuana Testing. The application required interested laboratories to submit detailed information related to accreditation, standard operating procedures, specialized laboratory equipment, quality assurance, and chain of custody procedures in accordance with the Department’s Temporary Laboratory Regulations, 28 Pa. Code § 1171. Approvals issued to laboratories will be valid for 2 years from the date of issuance for the laboratory location specified in the approval. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Provides Update on Medical Marijuana Program Implementation
April 26, 2017

Today, at her regular briefing on the status of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy provided an update on the application intake process for growers/processors and dispensaries and discussed steps moving forward for practitioner and patient regulations. More than 500 packages were received, containing one or more grower/dispenser applications in each package. The department anticipates it will issue permits at the end of June, consistent with its original 90-day review timeline. The names and regions of the companies with logged applications can be found on the Department of Health website here ​and will be updated when the logging is complete. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Selects Vendor for Medical Marijuana Tracking System
April 20, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy announced that the Department of Health has selected MJ Freeway to implement the seed-to-sale electronic tracking system for Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. “This is an important step forward in ensuring that we can get medical marijuana to patients who desperately need it,” Secretary Murphy said. “This contract serves two important functions for the program: tracking medical marijuana from seed-to-sale; and creating a registry for patients, caregivers, and practitioners to participate in the program.” Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program .

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Draft Temporary Regulations for Physicians
April 11, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released proposed temporary regulations for medical marijuana laboratories, viewable here. Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy urged the medical community to provide feedback on these proposed regulations. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Provides Update On Medical Marijuana Program
March 31, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy announced that permits for growers/processors and dispensaries will be issued in Late June. Following the issuance of permits, the Department plans to release information about the total number of applications for each region. In addition to providing an update on the permitting process, Secretary Murphy encouraged health care providers to participate in an online survey as the agency moves forward in the implementation of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Now Accepting Grower/Processor and Dispensary Applications
February 20, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is now accepting applications for grower/processor and dispensary permits. The deadline for application submission is March 20, 2017. Applications and filing instructions are available through the Department of Health’s website. Also available on the Department’s website are additional answers to questions regarding applications:

Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Responds to Grower/Processor and Dispensary Application Inquiries
January 27, 2017

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released an informational video on Phase One of Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program. The Department has also released answers to questions posed to the Department regarding Grower/Processor and Dispensary applications. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues implement Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Medical Marijuana Applications for Growers/Processors and Dispensaries
January 17, 2017

Applications for prospective marijuana Growers/Processors and Dispensaries in Pennsylvania are now available on the Department of Health’s website. The Department will begin accepting applications on February 20, 2017. The deadline for application submission is March 20, 2017. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to promulgate regulations under Act 16.

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Temporary Medical Marijuana Laboratory Regulations Published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin
December 24, 2016

Temporary regulations for medical marijuana laboratories can be found in the Christmas Eve edition of The Pennsylvania Bulletin. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to promulgate regulations under Act 16.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Provides Update On Medical Marijuana Program
December 21, 2016

On December 21, 2016, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy announced applications for medical marijuana grower/processors and dispensaries will be available beginning January 17, 2017. Permit applications will be accepted from February 20, 2017 until March 20, 2017. Secretary Murphy said. “In the first phase of the program, there will be up to 12 permits issued for grower/processors across Pennsylvania’s six medical marijuana regions, and up to 27 permits issued for dispensaries.” A map outlining the regions and number of permits to be issued in each region can be found here.

Secretary Murphy also discussed recommendations made by the Physician Work Group, which met November 28 in Harrisburg. Some of Physician Workgroup recommendations included clearly identifying the role of physicians serving adults and children for the conditions outlined in the program; developing specific training for dosing recommendations for physicians at dispensaries and for quality monitoring of the program; and having different approaches for rural and urban areas in program access, education and medication delivery.

Temporary Dispensary Regulations Published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin
December 10, 2016

Temporary regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries were published in today’s edition of The Pennsylvania Bulletin. Be sure to visit and subscribe to the Cannabis Law PA blog for more updates as the Pennsylvania Department of Health continues to promulgate regulations under Act 16.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Releases Draft Temporary Regulations for Marijuana Laboratories; Seeks Public Input
November 7, 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has released proposed temporary regulations for medical marijuana laboratories, viewable here. DOH will accept public input on the proposed temporary regulations until November 18, 2016. Encouraging the public to comment on the proposed regulations, Department of Health Secretary, Dr. Karen Murphy, emphasized the Department’s goals, “As we move forward in this ground-breaking effort, we want to make sure that patient safety is paramount, and laboratories are essential to meeting that goal. These regulations are designed to ensure we have a safe and responsible process in place.”

Department of Health Seeks Input from Patients and Caregivers; Gives Safe Harbor Guidance to Schools
November 4, 2016

Today, the Department of Health posted a request to patients with a serious medical condition, their family members and caregivers to complete a short, confidential survey to assist the Department of Health reach its goal of ensuring effective implementation of the medical marijuana program. The Department of Health also provided guidance to schools and school districts to support the administration of medical marijuana to students with serious medical conditions. The Department of Health guides schools and school districts to provide the school with a copy of the student’s Safe Harbor letter and notify the principal in advance of each instance of administration of medical marijuana. The Department guides that the student themselves not be permitted to possess medical marijuana at any time on school property. The Department’s recommended guidance will remain in effect until the Pennsylvania Department of Education promulgates regulations regarding the possession and use of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth’s schools.

Temporary General and Specific Grower/Processor Regulations Released
October 28, 2016

Temporary regulations, Chapter 1141 (General Provisions) and Chapter 1151 (Growers/Processors), relating to growers and processors will be published in tomorrow’s edition of The Pennsylvania Bulletin and are now available to view online. Be sure to visit our blog for more updates from the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s press conference.

Department of Health Provides Update on Medical Marijuana Program Implementation in Pennsylvania
October 25, 2016

Department of Health Secretary Dr. Karen Murphy announced today that temporary regulations for marijuana growers and processors under Act 16 are slated to be published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on October 29. Secretary Murphy noted that proposed temporary regulations for dispensaries will be posted on the Department of Health’s website today and the Department will be seeking public comment on these new regulations. Secretary Murphy also confirmed that the timeline for implementation of the program remains at the Department’s original estimate of 18 to 24 months. Be sure to stay tuned to Cannabis Law PA for continued updates on the medical marijuana program in Pennsylvania.

Update on Pending Federal Marijuana Legislation
October 11, 2016

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is in the process of implementing the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program and an unprecedented amount of states are set to vote on marijuana initiatives this November. While states individually address the question of marijuana legalization, federal lawmakers have proposed a number of bills aimed at reconciling the state and federal conflict over marijuana laws. Visit our newest blog post to stay updated.

PA Department of Health Grower/Processor Regulations Update
September 21, 2016

Update! The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) removed its draft temporary grower/processor regulations from its website. DOH is in the process of reviewing comments submitted by Cannabis Law PA and others. When DOH issues its revised regulations incorporating comments received, we will post these new regulations on this page. Please check back regularly, subscribe or contact us to receive updates as soon as the new regulations are issued.

PA Department of Health Issues Proposed Temporary Grower/Processor Regulations
August 18, 2016

Today, Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) issued Temporary Grower/Processor Regulations under the Medical Marijuana Act (Act). These regulations come just 4 months after the Act was signed into law. These regulations address the application and permitting process with great detail, providing precise information on everything from background checks to employee hand washing requirements. The regulations also mandate security measures, pesticide use, and packaging requirements for growers/processors.

DEA Declines Marijuana Rescheduling, Announces New Policy on Cultivation for Research
August 12, 2016

While still refusing to reschedule Marijuana from its status as an illegal drug, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced that it is adopting a new policy that is designed to increase the number of entities registered under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to grow marijuana to supply legitimate researchers in the United States. This new DEA policy statement was published in the Federal Registrar on August 12, 2016.

Pennsylvania Department of Health Announces New Office of Medical Marijuana Director
August 4, 2016

On August 4, 2016, Secretary of Health Dr. Karen Murphy announced that John J. Collins has been named director of the Office of Medical Marijuana. Collins, who currently works in the Department of Health’s HIV Care Section, will assume his new role on Aug. 8, 2016. Collins will be responsible for guiding the implementation of the Commonwealth’s medical marijuana program.

“I am very proud to be chosen to lead such an important office,” said Collins. “My experience in a heavily regulated medical enterprise, market research and new product development, strategic planning, logistics, communications, and customer service is a perfect fit for the requirements of overseeing the implementation of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Program. I am excited and eager to get to work on this medically-focused program that will help Pennsylvanians suffering from one of the 17 serious medical conditions outlined in Act 16.”

Pennsylvania Department of Health Creates First Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup
July 19, 2016

On July 19, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health announced the creation of the first Medical Marijuana Physician Workgroup, which will be convened within the next few weeks. In a statement, Department of Health Secretary Murphy explained that the workgroup would “ensure continued communication and feedback on the [medical marijuana] program and its implementation.”

Temporary Safe Harbor Regulations Published
June 25, 2016

On June 25, 2016, the Pennsylvania Department of Health published Temporary Medical Marijuana Regulations, which provide for a Safe Harbor Letter for minors with a serious medical condition. A serious medical condition is defined by the Medical Marijuana Act and includes 17 different serious medical conditions including cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and autism.

If Pennsylvania Is Going to Legalize Adult-Use Marijuana, This Is How It Should Be Done

Marijuana law experts and advocates weigh in on six things lawmakers should keep top of mind amid the movement to legalize weed.

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If Pennsylvania is going to legalize adult-use marijuana, these are the issues legislators should keep top of mind. Photograph by Getty Images/Gradyreese

Experts have been predicting marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania since at least as early as 2013, more than a year after the first few states in the U.S. legalized recreational adult use. The state didn’t make medical marijuana legal until 2016 and patients didn’t gain full access to medical marijuana in dispensaries until two years after that. All in all, it’s been a long journey, that some now believe may come to an end with recreational marijuana being legalized in the state thanks to the life-disrupting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While several Pennsylvania legislators have fought against or failed to get marijuana legalization passed, current governor Tom Wolf was the one who ultimately signed medical marijuana into law in 2016, making Pennsylvania one of 33 states to legalize medical cannabis. This is why, in August, when Wolf called on the legislature to legalize recreational marijuana, our ears perked up a bit.

Eleven states and Washington, D.C. have legalized cannabis for adult use. Could the man who garnered enough support for medical marijuana do the same to finally eliminate the prohibition of adult recreational use?

Some argue Republican and Democratic leaders are still too divided on the issue to see anything passed. Others say the one thing that makes the conversation different this time is COVID-19. The pandemic has left the state with a gaping $4 billion budget shortfall. Filling that budgetary hole has become a priority for lawmakers across party lines and revenues from taxes on legal marijuana sales could mean an influx of tax dollars to help make up the shortage.

“In challenging times like these, foregoing the chance to boost small business, minority entrepreneurship, employment and state tax revenue can hardly be passed up. That is true now more than ever,” executive vice president of the National Association of Cannabis Businesses Mark Gorman said in a recent statement.

But how long might it take to effectively transition the state from medical to recreational use sales before tax revenues would have an actual impact on the budget? And what other decisions — like who can and cannot get licenses and how decriminalization will be managed — should lawmakers be considering before they make the switch?

We spoke to experts and advocates about how lawmakers can legalize recreational marijuana in Pennsylvania quickly and fairly. Here’s what they said.

Use the state’s existing supply chain

Pennsylvania may be in a better position to make a quick transition to legal adult use because the state has already legalized the sale of marijuana for medical purposes. This means many of the infrastructural updates needed to facilitate the legal sale of weed are already in place.

“There is a supply chain that is already intact and could likely be expanded very quickly to allow for a recreational marijuana program to be implemented without too much challenge,” said Seth Goldberg, a partner at the Philadelphia-based law firm, Duane Morris, and team lead for the Duane Morris Cannabis industry group, which represents individuals and businesses in the cannabis supply chain.

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“You have growers and processors who can expand their production, labs who could expand their testing, dispensaries who could expand their sales, fairly quickly, to provide adult-use marijuana to Pennsylvanians. This is a very good framework to be utilized in a way that could get this done quickly and efficiently if people wanted to.”

Make sure there is a low bar of entry for any person that wants to become a legal cannabis business owner

To make legal marijuana widely available quickly, the state will need an ample number of entrepreneurs to launch businesses focused on marijuana sales. But if there are too many barriers to qualifying to become a legal marijuana business owner — like unnecessarily exorbitant costs, training, or certifications — some may forego the journey altogether.

“Whether they have an existing business that is currently unregulated or they want to get a license and get a dispensary, the bar of entry has to be low so that people who don’t have the financial means or may not have the financial capital can still be able to participate,” said Tauhid Chappell, founder of the CannAtlantic Cannabis Conference, an educational event that brings community leaders, policymakers, business owners, media professionals, patients and curious minds from across the Mid-Atlantic Region together to discuss the need for more education on cannabis legalization.

According to Chappell, one such barrier would be if Wolf were to follow through with his proposed idea of having marijuana sold primarily through state-owned stores that operate much like liquor stores in the state.

“Pushing a state store model where cannabis businesses are regulated like alcohol is not the right way to go,” he said. “How many Black and Brown people own alcohol stores? Any language that talks about creating a state-run model is inappropriate because that will severely limit who actually gets to participate in the legal market.”

Keep social justice and equity at the forefront of the agenda

One challenge to legalizing any activity that was previously prohibited is that there will undoubtedly be people who were punished for participating in the activity before it was lawfully permitted. With marijuana, this fact has uniquely affected victims of the War on Drugs — a decades-long government campaign that, among other strict enforcement, imposed mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

Cherron Perry-Thomas, co-founder of the Diasporic Alliance for Cannabis Opportunities (DACO), says marijuana legalization in Pennsylvania must be accompanied by forgiveness to individuals who are currently incarcerated for marijuana offenses.

“There are many places where you can walk in and buy marijuana and we still have many people around the country that are still incarcerated for it. Those lives need to be repaired,” Perry-Thomas said. “We’re asking that those people are released, that their records are expunged and that they are allowed to be a part of this growing industry.”

Goldberg echoed Perry-Thomas’ sentiment.

“You don’t want to prevent people who’ve had marijuana offenses from getting jobs in this expanding industry,” he said. “One thing that some states have tried to do is to make sure that a criminal record that is comprised of marijuana-related violations shouldn’t prevent somebody from becoming employed in some way in the cannabis industry.”

Pay close attention to the nuances of decriminalization efforts

Perry-Thomas is hinting at the idea of decriminalization. Legalization and decriminalization do not mean the same thing. If marijuana is legalized, all legal prohibitions against its use will be removed. If marijuana is decriminalized, punishments and sanctions related to marijuana would be removed. In some states, the two have gone hand-in-hand, with governments enacting decriminalization measures along with the legalization of marijuana.

Chappell believes that “anyone who’s been impacted by the war on drugs, whether it’s related to marijuana possession or distribution, should have their criminal record expunged,” but says the devil is in the details.

“The rhetoric that we often hear is that anyone who is a non-violent person with a marijuana-related conviction should be able to have their records expunged and they should be released from prison, and that is true. But often, there are subtle nuances to what is classified as a non-violent offense and what is classified as a violent offense when it comes to marijuana cases,” he explained. “So, we have to go beyond expungement of just the marijuana conviction. We have to talk about everything else that is attached to a person’s conviction that is also keeping them in jail.”

Be mindful of how marijuana is taxed

Currently, marijuana growers and processors in Pennsylvania are taxed five percent on the gross receipts received from the sale of medical marijuana to a dispensary. But there is no sales tax on marijuana, so consumers who purchase it do not pay a tax. According to Goldberg, that could change with legalization, but it shouldn’t.

“Whether a marijuana sales tax is imposed on consumers or whether the five percent excise tax that’s imposed on growers and processors is increased, these are things that I certainly wouldn’t advocate for because I don’t know that it would be necessary to result in a boost in the tax revenue,” Goldberg said.

“When the growers and processors expand their operations to meet the additional demand of adult-use cannabis, their excise tax will naturally grow because the gross receipts that they receive from selling medical marijuana to a dispensary will increase.”

Goldberg also warned that a marijuana sales tax on consumers might be a disincentive for consumers to buy state-regulated cannabis, as opposed to black-market cannabis.

“The higher that consumer tax gets, the greater that disincentive is,” he said. “If you’re going to have adult-use cannabis, you want to have it be a regulated product as opposed to a black-market product. So, it may be sufficient alone with the five percent excise tax to generate a very significant boost in the state’s tax revenue.”

Make sure the money goes to the right place

In his announcement of his fall legislative agenda, Gov. Wolf called for revenue from the legalization of recreational marijuana to support “small business grant funding and restorative justice programs,” with an eye on pursuing “policies that restore justice for individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses.”

But with COVID-19 related needs looming, some worry the funds could wind up being diverted to pandemic needs instead of supporting the communities most affected by the War on Drugs.

“No money should go to any area that hasn’t been impacted by the War on Drugs and there is data to support where those areas are. Those counties should be first in line to get some money,” Chappell said.

In Massachusetts, for example, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission employed researchers to conduct a thorough study that identified the specific counties within the state that were most impacted by marijuana-related arrests. Chappell believes Pennsylvania should do the same.

“It’s one thing to hear the governor say we’re going to put some of this revenue into places that have been impacted by the War on Drugs, but the plan needs to be more specific,” Chappell said.

“Even if the governor earmarked 50 percent of the funds to be directed to small, minority-owned businesses, that is still too vague for me,” Thomas-Perry added. “I think that it’s important that any revenue that is coming from a legalized market should really go to those communities who have been disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs because that extracted a lot of people from their communities and those families and those communities need the funds to repair and be made whole.”

Cannabis

Duane Morris continues its series of webinars discussing issues affecting the cannabis industry.

Duane Morris attorneys represent businesses and individuals at every level of the cannabis supply chain. Our clients include state-licensed adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp cultivators, processors, distributors and dispensaries, whether vertically integrated or operating as standalone businesses, as well as investors in those businesses. We also represent the full range of business vendors that supply their products and services to the cannabis industry, such as raw materials, technology, advertising, social media, consumption products and security companies. We have advised a wide variety of non-cannabis companies, including traditional consumer goods companies, real estate developers, insurance companies, banks, media companies, government contractors, broker-dealers, and private equity and venture capital funds in evaluating the regulatory and business considerations pertinent to entering into the cannabis space.

Duane Morris attorneys have gained comprehensive, hands-on, cannabis-related experience and apply that knowledge to advise clients based in the United States, Canada and other countries on the federal, state and local laws, regulations and governmental guidance relevant to conducting business and investing in cannabis. This includes the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (also known as the 2018 Farm Bill), Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering (AML) statutes and the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as well as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and guidance, and state-specific marijuana and hemp regulations.

We assist our cannabis-related clients in understanding and assessing the federal and state regulatory framework for cannabis; applications for licenses to operate and related administrative matters; commercial litigation; negotiating and documenting investments, joint ventures, and mergers and acquisitions; conducting due diligence on the targets of such transactions; federal, state and local tax issues; day-to-day regulatory advice and general business counsel; and labor and employment, including workplace training and litigating workplace claims.

We have provided corporate governance and capital formation advice on both public and private securities offerings on behalf of privately and publicly held cannabis companies, including serving as counsel in the first investment-bank led public offering by a U.S. cannabis company. Additionally, we served as lead counsel for the first-ever trademark infringement action arising out of cannabis branding, and regularly represent clients in patent and trademark protection and enforcement matters.

Duane Morris’ deep commitment to the cannabis space is best reflected by our ranking among the national leaders in cannabis law by Chambers and Partners. In addition, we are the national law firm partner of the American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp, the first ever partnership between a major law firm and trade organization in this industry. Together, we are working on national issues affecting the legal cannabis and hemp industry as a whole. Duane Morris attorneys are at the forefront of this industry, driving thought leadership through frequent presentations at industry conferences, providing media outlets with insightful information, as well as supplying clients with the latest information through our Cannabis Industry Blog and webinar series.

Range of Experience

Duane Morris attorneys have specific experience pertinent to clients participating in or otherwise involved with the cannabis industry, including:

  • Regulatory
    • Licenses to grow, process or dispense adult-use marijuana, medical marijuana and hemp
    • Assessment of business and individual risks under federal and state cannabis-related laws, regulations and guidance
    • Administrative matters pertaining to licensure
    • Civil matters, such as RICO actions, breach of commercial contracts, fraud/misrepresentation and partnership/shareholder disputes
    • Products liability, manufacturing defects and failure to warn
    • Trademark and patent infringement
    • Employment claims, such as harassment
    • Challenges to state licensure programs
    • Corporate formation and structure, addressing complexities resulting from state-specific statutes and the conflict between federal and state law
    • Public companies and filings with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other agencies
    • Capital formation activities, including public and private securities offerings and lending transactions
    • Mergers and acquisitions
    • Partnership and operating agreements
    • Domestic and cross-border financing and merger and acquisition transactions
    • Federal and state planning and advice, including in connection with corporate formation and governance
    • IRS Section 280E
    • Zoning, water rights and land use
    • Leasing and landlord/tenant matters
    • Civil forfeiture risk
    • Trademarks and patents
    • Licensing agreements
    • Marketing and branding
    • University research centers and licensing
    • Hospital compliance
    • Workplace training
    • Non-compete and trade secrets
    • Executive employment agreements and severance agreements
    • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)

    For More Information

    For more information, please contact Seth A. Goldberg, Tracy Gallegos, Paul P. Josephson or any of the group members referenced in the Attorney Listing.