Yes. The Medical Marijuana Program Act, which took effect in April 2016, legalized the growing, processing, storing, and transporting of medical marijuana to licensed dispensaries. Pennsylvania continues to prohibit recreational use and possession of marijuana.
Limitations to the cultivation of marijuana include “a grower/processor may only grow, store, harvest, or process medical marijuana in an indoor, enclosed, secure facility,” as provided in Section 702(b) of the Act. Consequently, outdoor cultivation is prohibited even to those with a license to grow and process. Home cultivation is also not permitted in the state.
Other limitations imposed are that licensed growers or processors must maintain uninterrupted video surveillance on the premises and utilize pesticides that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture approves.
Yes. Processing of marijuana for medical uses is allowed in Pennsylvania. The Department of Health shall issue not more than 25 licenses to qualified growers or processors. License holders must finish a two-hour training administered by the DOH.
To secure a grower/processor permit, the applicant must provide proof that they will be able to:
Application fees include the following:
Yes. Authorized dispensaries may lawfully sell marijuana to patients and caregivers with valid identification cards. Section 304(5) states that it shall be unlawful for dispensaries to sell medical marijuana without a permit.
Section 303(b) of the Act mentions eligible consumers of marijuana. Cannabis may only be dispensed to a patient with a certification from their doctor and a valid ID issued by the DOH, and to a caregiver with a valid identification card also provided by the department.
Under the same section, medical marijuana can only be sold in the following forms:
Dry leaf or plant form is prohibited from being dispensed to a patient or caregiver. Incorporating medical marijuana into edible form is unlawful. However, this is without prejudice to adding marijuana to edible form to help the ingestion of the product to the patient.
Yes. Caregivers are registered individuals allowed to pick up medical marijuana from a dispensary and deliver it to the patient. There is no mention of enabling dispensary employees to do deliveries to patients. To be a caregiver, they must be 21 years old, a Pennsylvania resident, designated by the patient, register with the DOH, and complete a criminal history background check.
Patients can only buy medical marijuana from the premises of the dispensary or through their caregiver. This rule is under Section 802(a)(1), stating that medical marijuana may be dispensed in an indoor, enclosed, and secured facility or following the curbside delivery protocol.
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the DOH relaxed its rules on dispensing medical marijuana to ID holders. Specifically, dispensary employees may provide the medical marijuana to the patient’s vehicle within the dispensary’s premises.
Patients must show their medical marijuana identification cards to purchase the products from dispensaries. Caregivers may require the patients to show their ID to show that doctors or health practitioners have certified them as medical marijuana patients.
Getting a medical marijuana card can be done by following these steps:
The following are some serious medical conditions that shall qualify you to be in the medical marijuana program:
See the complete list of serious medical disorders as a precondition to obtaining a medical marijuana identification card here.
Melissa C. Lyon, MPH CPH
Delaware County Health Department
212 Front Street Suite 201
Media, PA 19063
Phone: (484) 276-2100
In an article published by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the researchers projected growth of a compounded annual rate of 180.1% or around $981 million in revenue of medical marijuana in the state by 2020. In comparison with the income and market value of medical marijuana in California and Oregon, Pennsylvania is on its way to steady growth.
By the third quarter of 2020, the Pennsylvania Pressroom reported that the total sales within the medical marijuana program generated nearly $1.3 billion. This figure surpassed the prediction made by the researchers. More than 16 million medical marijuana products have been sold to patients since the commencement of the program.
Growers and processors of medical marijuana are subject to personal income tax, gross receipts, tax, and corporate net income tax, among others.
A grower or processor must comply with the gross receipts tax received from their sale to a dispensary at a rate of 5%. Section 901(a) further states that the tax “shall not be added as a separate charge or line item on any sales slip, invoice, receipt or other statement or memorandum of the price paid by a dispensary, patient or caregiver.”
On the other hand, sales tax is not exacted from the consumption of medical marijuana. US states which allow recreational use of marijuana subject these businesses to sales tax.
Taxpayers may file and deposit their taxes electronically at MyPath, the Pennsylvania Tax Hub.
Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2016; recreational marijuana was not allowed. Crime data pulled from the Federal Bureau of Investigation presents an 8% and 13% increase in arrests involving marijuana possession from 2015 to 2016 and 2016 to 2017, respectively, in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, there was a decrease of 7% in the sale/ manufacturing of marijuana from 2015 to 2016. From 2016 to 2017, the illegal sale/manufacturing of marijuana in the state increased by 12%.
The data suggest there was no significant drop in crime rates following the legalization of medical marijuana.
In 2022, the Pennsylvania state police seized more than $10 million in value of various illegal marijuana types: THC - liquid, THC - solid, and plants.