Yes, the cultivation of medical marijuana is legal in Butler County following the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Act 16 of 2016 or the Medical Marijuana Act. While medical marijuana use has been legal since 2016, adult-use remains illegal as of March 2023.
Butler County residents are prohibited from personally cultivating marijuana in their homes. Growers/Processors with permits granted by the Department of Health (DOH) are the only entities authorized to acquire immature marijuana plants to cultivate and process medical marijuana. Pursuant to the medical marijuana regulations developed by the DOH, Growers/Processors must provide the DOH with an operational plan covering employment policies and procedures, security protocols, operating procedures, workplace safety, contamination protocols, maintenance and sanitation of the site, and inventory procedures.
Growing and processing medical marijuana may only be done in an approved indoor, enclosed, secure facility. A dedicated enclosed area must also be available for the loading and unloading of seeds, immature plants, medical marijuana plants, and products to and from a transport vehicle. Constant video and security surveillance systems must be installed within the premises of the Growers/Processors’ facility. Pesticides approved by the Department of Agriculture may be used in cultivating marijuana and must be in compliance with the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act of 1973.
As previously discussed, Growers/Processors with permits may operate in Butler County to cultivate and process medical marijuana. As stipulated in § 1151.28, a Grower/Processor may process or manufacture medical marijuana into pills, oils, topicals, vapes, tinctures, and liquids to help manage the condition of a qualifying patient.
All processed medical marijuana must be packaged and labeled prior to sale and dispensing. As a general rule, all packages must be child-resistant and tamper-evident. Additionally, it should be light-resistant and resealable to minimize exposure to oxygen and preserve its quality. Labels, which are pre-approved by the DOH, must be readable and visible. It must contain the details of the grower/processor, form and quantity of medical marijuana per package, identifier, expiration date, warning labels, and instructions for proper storage.
All equipment used by Growers/Processors must be well-maintained and regularly calibrated to ensure accuracy. A written process regarding the sanitation and operation of its equipment must be maintained to prevent contamination among seeds, immature plants, medical marijuana, and other processed medical marijuana.
Yes. Butler County residents registered under the medical marijuana program may purchase medical marijuana products in dispensaries located in Butler, Cranberry Township, and Zelienople. According to Chapter 3 of the Medical Marijuana Act, edibles are prohibited from being sold in the Commonwealth. However, this does not prevent patients and caregivers from incorporating medical marijuana into edible form to aid ingestion.
Dispensaries must be located 1,000 feet away from public and private schools. A separate indoor, enclosed, and secured facility, different from the growing/processing facility, must be dedicated to the dispensary. Furthermore, adequate security and video surveillance systems must be installed to prevent unauthorized access.
Medical marijuana products may only be dispensed to a patient or caregiver with a valid medical marijuana card. Their identity must be validated by the authorized dispenser before dispensing. Only the amount, dosage, and form of medical marijuana indicated on the patient’s certification may be dispensed in every transaction. A limit of a 30- to 90-day supply of medical marijuana may be dispensed.
Medical marijuana may be delivered to medical marijuana cardholders residing in Butler County. The approval of Act 44 of 2021 paved the way for dispensaries in the Commonwealth to be authorized to offer curbside delivery services to medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Protocols concerning curbside delivery will be developed by the DOH and must be followed stringently.
Aside from delivery to patients, medical marijuana products may also be transported or delivered by a dispensary or a third-party contractor to a medical marijuana organization from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. All vehicles used during delivery must not be identifiable to be containing medical marijuana products. It must be equipped with a lockbox to store the products and be able to control the temperature for perishables. At least two delivery personnel must work together during deliveries with one always remaining inside the vehicle.
The first step to obtaining a medical marijuana card is to register online. Next, patients must visit a physician and get certified to be able to register in the program. Lastly, pay the $50 fee for the card. Proof of residency and a working email address will be required for all applicants. Patients may expect to receive their medical marijuana card via mail after a successful application.
For inquiries, the DOH may be reached at 888-733-5595 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily, except during state holidays.
In line with the legalization of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth, a 5% tax is imposed on the sale of medical marijuana by a grower/processor to a dispensary. This is paid for by the grower/dispensary on the last day of January, April, July, and October. On the other hand, retail sales are not subject to any sales tax. All fees and taxes related to medical marijuana are deposited into the Medical Marijuana Program Fund and are allocated accordingly.
According to a 2020 report by the DOH Office of Medical Marijuana, the Commonwealth has recorded 12,606,458 products sold in at least 4,432,579 dispensing transactions. In 2022, the Medical Marijuana Program has recorded 712,421 patients, 37,221 caregivers, and 1,812 certifying physicians. These increasing statistics are seen to positively impact the economy of the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania saw a significant decrease in the record of crime rates related to medical marijuana since it legalized its use in 2016. Based on the reports found on FBI Crime Data Explorer, marijuana possession arrests in the Commonwealth decreased from 18,470 in 2015 to 1,276 in 2021. Meanwhile, arrests due to marijuana sales decreased from 4,375 in 2015 to 72 in 2021.
From 2016 to 2020, the Commonwealth recorded the following arrests for marijuana possession: 20,154, 23,127, 23,925, 11,239, and 140, respectively. Meanwhile, the recorded marijuana sales arrests were 4,102 in 2016, 4,666 in 2017, 4,159 in 2018, 1,117 in 2019, and 37 in 2020.