Limitations for Medical Marijuana Business Permits Under the Medical Marijuana Act
In Section 616 of Chapter 6 in the Medical Marijuana Act, the limits for permits are set forth. These are subject to change in two years after the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board under the Department of Health presents its recommendations for change. Consult an attorney to learn more about permit regulations and multi-unit medical marijuana businesses.
For 2016, the current permit limitations are as follows:
- Only 25 permits for processors and growers.
- Only 50 permits for dispensaries.
- Each dispensary may have up to three locations.
- Up to five growers/processors may hold a dispensary permit.
- If future regulations change, no more than 20% of growers/processors may hold permits for dispensaries.
- One person may hold no more than five permits for dispensaries.
- One person may hold no more than one permit for grower or processor.
- A dispensary may only obtain medical marijuana from a grower/processor that holds a Pennsylvania medical marijuana permit under the Medical Marijuana Act.
- A grower/processor may only supply medical marijuana dispensary that holds a permit under the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act.
Considerations in Applying for a Medical Marijuana Business Permit in Pennsylvania
In Section 603 of the Medical Marijuana Act, the regulations that the Department of Health must consider when granting a medical marijuana business permit are listed. When you write your medical marijuana business plan and submit your application for a permit, pay particular attention to proving the following:
- Effective control to prevent diversion of medical marijuana.
- Ability to comply with the laws of Pennsylvania.
- Readiness, willingness, and ability to conduct your medical marijuana business.
- The ability to expeditiously obtain capital to start your medical marijuana business, particularly land, buildings and equipment.
- The medical marijuana business you propose in the permit application is operating in the public interest.
- The applicant, financial backers and principals have the financial backing to successfully start and operate the medical marijuana business.
- The applicant, financial backers and principals have good moral character.
- The applicant can implement and maintain the following for acquisition, possession, growth, manufacture, sale, delivery, transportation, distribution and dispensing (as your business and the Department of Health requires):
- Surveillance Systems
- Any other requirements made by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Renewing a Medical Marijuana Business Permit
When you apply for a renewal of your medical marijuana business permit, you will have to list any changes that have occurred since the original application. You will also have to report any charges that were made against you or your business through any government or administrative agency that involves theft, loss, diversion, or non-compliance with Section 4 of the 1972 Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act. Consult an attorney if you’ve had civil or criminal complaints or charges served against you.
Permit Renewal Denial of a Medical Marijuana Business Permit in Pennsylvania
If you are denied renewal of a permit for a medical marijuana business, the Department of Health must provide you a detailed notice with the reasons for the denial. You will then have 30 days to submit the documentation required, request a hearing, or both.
The reasons for permit renewal denial outlined in Chapter 6 Section 612 of the Medical Marijuana include:
- Inability to secure the medical marijuana enough to prevent diversion of medical marijuana, and
- Inability to comply with Pennsylvania laws pertaining to the medical marijuana business.
Suspension and Revocation of a Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Business Permit
A medical marijuana license in Pennsylvania can be suspended or revoked under the following circumstances:
- There is evidence that the medical marijuana business did not keep the medical marijuana secure against diversion.
- The medical marijuana business violates any provision of the Medical Marijuana Act.
- The medical marijuana business violates a Department of Health regulation.
- The medical marijuana business has intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently violated Pennsylvania medical marijuana laws.
If this happens, your medical marijuana business will be closed. You cannot operate without a permit.
Automatic Disqualification for a Medical Marijuana Permit
Be aware that individuals convicted of any criminal offense related to the sale or possession of illegal drugs, narcotics or controlled substances cannot participate in a medical marijuana business. This includes investors, principals, clinical registrants, employees and volunteers. The Medical Marijuana Act states that a person with a history of drug abuse will not be approved for a medical marijuana business.
The Medical Marijuana Act also states that executive-level public employees and their immediate family members cannot be employed by a medical marijuana organization, or any affiliate, subsidiary, intermediary or holding company, while employed and for a year after employed. The same rule applies executive-level public officials and party officers. The State Ethics Committee will be publishing a list of executive-level public employee positions that qualify for this regulation (see Medical Marijuana Act, Chapter 21, Section 2101.1).
Posting Requirements for Medical Marijuana Permits
Medical Marijuana permits granted by the Department of Health must be posted so they are “easily observable by patients, caregivers, law enforcement officers and agents of the department.” Failing to do so is a violation, and it could result in suspension or revocation of the Pennsylvania medical marijuana business permit.