Application forms released for PA medical marijuana growers, dispensaries

The Pennsylvania Department of Health posted application forms for potential medical marijuana dispensaries and grower/processors on Tuesday afternoon.

Applications will be accepted from February 20 to March 20, 2017.

The state’s Medical Marijuana Director John Collins told reporters this afternoon that he expects “at least a 90 day review” period after the March 20 application deadline before any permits are granted.

Asked when applications would be made public with principal participants identified, Collins said “I don’t have an answer to that question.” Collins said those who are awarded permits would be identified and reiterated not having an answer on whether all applicants seeking either a grower/processor or dispensary license would eventually be made public.

Applications will only be accepted by certified U.S. Mail and must be accompanied by a $10,000 non-refundable application fee and a $200,000 initial permit fee for grower/processors. The $200K is refundable if the applicant is not granted a permit. For dispensaries, a $5,000 non-refundable application fee is required with a permit fee of  $30,000 per dispensary sought. Those funds (of up to $90,000 as applicants may seek three locations) are refundable if the applicant is not granted the permits desired.

An interesting note from the online press webinar was Director Collins saying that the application permit forms and instructions clearly state that letters of support from elected officials or other people attempting to curry favor for a particular applicant will not be considered in any way.

Director Collins said today that there are no plans to allow smokable marijuana leaf products in medical dispensaries as they are not allowed in Act 16. Edibles are also not allowed, but oral tinctures derived from cannabis are permitted as are cannabis oils that can be vaporized.

There are 30 criteria on which each application will be judged. 20 percent of the overall score are the categories of community impact, and diversity. Applicants must include a “Diversity Plan” outlining how women, minorities and veterans will be involved in their businesses. Applicants must also submit a “Community Impact” statement about how the company will better its surrounding area. In addition to these criteria, applicants must also agree to hours of operation, security measures and more regulations.

As state officials revealed in December, there are 27 permits to be granted to applicants during phase one of the process, with each recipient being allowed to operate up to three medical marijuana dispensaries. The breakdown seems to be based on population and potential patient density with Region 1 Southeast being granted 10 permits: 3 in Philadelphia, two in Montgomery and one each in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Lancaster counties.

In addition to the 27 dispensary permits, there will be up to 12 grower/processor permits to be granted in the first phase of the permit process.

The PA MMJ program was signed into law by Gov. Tom Wolf in April 2016 is planned for implementation by early 2018. It will allow medical marijuana for PA residents under a doctors care for one of the following serious medical conditions:  ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), Autism, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Damage to Spinal Cord Nervous Tissue, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Intractable seizures, Multiple Sclerosis, Neuropathies, Parkinson’s Disease, PTSD, chronic or intractable pain and Sickle Cell Anemia.

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