Licensed cannabis cultivation in Franklin County is legal only if intended for medical use, as stated in the 2016 Medical Marijuana Act of the State of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is implementing the state’s Medical Marijuana Program.
To start operating in Franklin County, a medical cannabis cultivation company must have a medical cannabis grower’s permit issued by the DOH Medical Marijuana Program. Only 25 of this type of permit will be issued statewide by the DOH. It comes with a requirement to attend a training session for two hours.
The requirements to apply for a medical cannabis grower’s permit are as follows:
A $10,000 application fee (non-refundable)
A $200,000 permit fee (refundable when the permit is denied)
$2 million in venture capital, documented, of which $500,000 is in a financial institution deposit
Documented compliance with municipality zoning regulations
Documented ability to keep the medical cannabis growing facility secure from unlawful access and use
A diversity plan
Only pesticides specifically allowed for use with medical cannabis and registered with the State of Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture in accordance with the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act of 1973 may be used by licensed medical cannabis cultivation companies.
PA Code 1151.23 and the PA Medical Marijuana Act require licensed medical cannabis cultivation facilities to be fully enclosed and secure buildings. Medical cannabis cultivation and storage must be completely indoors and not seen from any public area. The interiors must be divided by usage with entry to each section restricted to the necessary personnel only. Signage measuring a minimum of one square foot with letters no smaller than one-half inch high must be posted conspicuously to designate each section and indicate restrictions on entry.
Only authorized individuals must be allowed access to the licensed medical cannabis cultivation facility. Permitted guests must be escorted by facility personnel at all times. The facility must be equipped with a security system employing electronic locking mechanisms and non-stop video surveillance that is recorded and saved for not less than 180 days.
Any licensed medical cannabis facility, such as a medical cannabis cultivation facility, must have its own electronic inventory tracking systems linked with the online medical cannabis database of the DOH. Each facility must update its online inventory daily.
Licensed cannabis product manufacturing in Franklin County is legal only for medical cannabis products under the State of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act.
To start operating in Franklin County, a medical cannabis manufacturing company must have a medical cannabis processor’s permit granted by the Medical Marijuana Program of the DOH. These are also limited to 25 across the state.
The medical cannabis processor’s permit has the same application requirements as the medical cannabis grower’s permit and likewise requires the holder to attend two hours of training. Licensed medical cannabis manufacturers are also mandated by PA Code 1151.23 and the PA Medical Marijuana Act to comply with the same regulations for indoor production, restricted entry, security, public shielding, signage, and online inventory control as licensed medical cannabis cultivators.
Licensed cannabis retail in Franklin County is legal only for medical cannabis and medical cannabis products sold to patients and caregivers who are medical cannabis cardholders, according to the Medical Marijuana Act of the State of Pennsylvania.
To start operating in Franklin County, a medical cannabis retail company must be issued a medical cannabis dispensary permit by the DOH Medical Marijuana Program. The DOH will only issue 50 of this type of permit throughout the state. It also requires the permittee to attend a two-hour session for training. Every permit holder is authorized to establish up to three dispensary facility sites.
The requirements to apply for a medical cannabis dispensary permit are as follows:
A $5,000 application fee (non-refundable)
A $30,000 permit fee (refundable when the permit is denied)
$150,000 in capital
Documented compliance with municipality zoning regulations
Documented ability to keep the medical cannabis dispensary secure from unlawful access and use
A business plan
A diversity plan
There were two licensed medical cannabis dispensaries in Franklin County as of April 17, 2023, both in the City of Chambersburg. Each licensed dispensary is allowed to sell to each medical cannabis cardholder medical cannabis and medical cannabis products for only a 90-day supply every 83 days. The quantity of the supply will be according to the specific patient’s prescription.
Allowed for retail selling are medical cannabis and medical cannabis products in the form of dried cannabis plant parts such as leaves, tinctures, oils, liquids, pills, gels, creams, ointments, and other topical products. Medical cannabis products for vaping are also allowed except for those that contain harmful additives, [listed by the DOH as forbidden products](https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Programs/Medical Marijuana/DOH - Withdraw of Products Containing Additives Not Approved for Inhalation by the FDA.pdf). Licensed medical cannabis dispensaries are prohibited from selling edible medical cannabis products and medical cannabis for smoking.
The delivery of even medical cannabis and medical cannabis products to medical cannabis cardholders is not legal in Franklin County as mandated by the State of Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act. This law only allows in-person purchasing of medical cannabis and medical cannabis products by medical cannabis cardholders in licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. However, licensed medical cannabis businesses are authorized to transport medical cannabis among themselves.
A Franklin County resident needing medical cannabis treatment can get a medical cannabis card by first creating an account online in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Registry. This entails creating a username and password and entering the patient’s full name, USPS-recognized state residential address, and a copy of a valid state-issued ID card. The registry will provide the account holder with a patient identification number (PIN).
The patient must then find a DOH-approved medical cannabis health practitioner. As of May 2023, there are 13 such doctors in Franklin County. The doctor will examine the patient for a diagnosis of one of the following serious illnesses:
Chronic hepatitis C
Opioid Use Disorder
Sickle cell anemia
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Central nervous system damage
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
Inflammatory bowel disease
Severe chronic pain
If the patient qualifies, the doctor will issue a certification using the PIN on the online registry. The certification must indicate the patient’s email address. The doctor will also indicate the need for up to two caregivers each for patients below 18 or adults who need to be assisted. The email address of the caregiver must also be in the certification. If the patient’s healthcare insurance does not cover the consultation fee, the patient must pay out-of-pocket.
The patient and caregiver will separately receive an email from the registry detailing how to finish the application process and pay the $50 fee. Payment is waived for beneficiaries of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly Needs Enhancement Tier (PACENET), or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
The caregiver must also create an account online in the registry and provide the same information as the patient but must pass a criminal history background check.
The medical cannabis card will be sent by mail to the residential address provided by the patient and the caregiver, respectively.
To make further inquiries, the following may be contacted:
Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program
7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern Time, including weekends and holidays
The Department of Revenue of the State of Pennsylvania declares that taxation on medical cannabis does not include sales tax. Rather, licensed medical cannabis cultivators and manufacturers are charged a 5% gross receipts tax on all their medical cannabis and medical cannabis product sales to licensed medical cannabis dispensaries. Also, all types of medical cannabis business license holders are required to pay regular business taxes.
The Medical Marijuana Program Fund is where all revenues from medical cannabis taxes, application fees, and licensing fees are centralized. The collected amount is allocated in the following manner:
|40%||Medical Marijuana Program: For operations and outreach efforts|
|30%||DOH Research Program: For additional qualifying illnesses to be included in the Medical Marijuana Program|
|10%||Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs: For counseling, prevention, and treatment programs|
|5%||Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency: For local police departments, including those in Franklin County, to spend on the Medical Marijuana Act’s implementation|
Medical cannabis was legalized in Franklin County in 2016.
Data on the FBI’s Crime Explorer page sent by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office states that in 2015, a year before the legalization of medical cannabis, there were two arrests for marijuana offenses, both for possession. This is the only data available for the county.
For the State of Pennsylvania, the same FBI page shows that in 2015, a year before medical cannabis legalization, there were 22,845 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of 18,470 arrests for possession and 4,375 arrests for sales.
In 2017, a year after medical cannabis legalization, there were 27,793 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of 23,127 arrests for possession and 4,666 arrests for sales.
The latest data available, which is from 20201, shows 12,348 arrests for marijuana offenses, comprised of 1,276 arrests for possession and 72 arrests for sales.
The number of DUI arrests statewide in those years was as follows:
2015: 46,904 arrests
2017: 45,492 arrests
2020/1: 3,903 arrests