Cannabis companies sue Pennsylvania over academic research program

A group of cannabis cultivators and dispensary operators has sued the Pennsylvania Department of Heath over the provision in the state’s medical marijuana law that allows academic research universities to partner with cannabis providers who would also receive licenses to sell marijuana, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The group, listed in the lawsuit as Medical Marijuana Advocates for Research, objects to companies being able to be licensed without the rigorous application and background procedures that those interested in cultivating or selling medical marijuana faced when the program launched in 2016.

The Philadelphia Inquirer recently wrote about the University of Pennsylvania’s planned partnership with the major marijuana player Curaleaf.

Under the PA Medical Marijuana Act, eight academic research universities, throughout the state, will contract with a “clinical registrant” that would cultivate and grow medical marijuana and also operate up to six dispensaries. Initial applicants could only allowed to open three dispensaries with geographic restrictions so the lucrative clinical registrant licenses are naturally coveted.

During the initial application period, sources told Elevated Nation that the clinical registrant provision was being seen as a “Superlicense,” that some parties considered to be far more valuable than operating under the conditions set forth by the application process.

A Health Department spokeswoman did not address the specific legislation, but told the Post-Gazette that “Pennsylvanians should rest assured that, one way or another, our efforts to allow for research into epilepsy, cancer, autism, and a whole host of other serious conditions suffered by children throughout the commonwealth will prevail.”

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