Yes. Pursuant to Pennsylvania Act 16 of 2016 or the Medical Marijuana Act, only medical marijuana is allowed in the state. The act allows an individual with a serious medical condition to obtain a certification to use medical cannabis from licensed dispensaries.
A grower/processor with the necessary permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) is the only one allowed to cultivate and process medical marijuana in Lackawanna County. The grower/processor may obtain and transport seed and plant material from outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania within the 30 days per year allowed by the DOH to grow and process medical marijuana. They may also acquire seed and plant material from another grower/process within the state.
Cultivation areas where medical marijuana grew, stored, harvested, or processed must be indoors and in an enclosed and secured facility. The DOH requires the facility to include electronic locking systems and electronic surveillance as a safety precaution. Additionally, the area must be located within Pennsylvania. Growers/processors may use pesticides approved by the Department of Agriculture.
Recreational use of marijuana remains illegal in the state. Consequently, residents are prohibited from growing cannabis plants. One may face charges of a misdemeanor which may lead to imprisonment and payment of fines.
Yes. The Department of Health issues no more than 25 permits to growers/processors who manufacture medical marijuana. The applicant must provide information in their permit application that they have met the following requirements:
The ability to sustain adequate security and control to prevent abuse, diversion, or other illegal conducts
Evidence of compliance with the municipality zoning requirements
Established a diversity plan
Provide proof that the applicant has $2 million in capital (where $500,000 must be deposited in a credible financial institution)
Growers/processors shall pay the following application and renewal fees:
$10,000 - nonrefundable initial application fee
$200,000 - permit fee valid for one year; refundable if not granted
$10,000 - renewal fee for a permit as a grower/processor, which shall cover renewal for all locations
Applicants and licensees shall pay by certified check or money order. Growers/processors who were granted a permit must undergo a two-hour training course.
Yes. Dispensaries with a permit may lawfully sell medical marijuana to patients holding a medical marijuana ID, certifying that they are diagnosed with a serious medical condition and caregivers upon presentation of a valid ID issued by the DOH. The dispensary shall provide a safety insert developed and approved by the department. Medical cannabis shall be dispensed in a sealed and properly labeled package.
Under the Medical Marijuana Act, medical marijuana may be distributed only in the following forms:
Topical forms (creams, gels, or ointments)
Medically appropriate forms for administration by vaporization or nebulization
Marijuana in dry leaf or plant form is prohibited in cases where the administration is by vaporization or nebulization. Dispensing of edibles is forbidden. However, this prohibition does not preclude adding cannabis to edible form to help the patient ingest the product.
Physicians and pharmacists must be available in dispensaries for verification of patient certifications and consultation purposes. Dispensaries shall not sell a quantity of medical marijuana greater than what the patient or caregiver can possess or a form of medical marijuana prohibited under the law.
Dispensing facilities must be in an indoor, secure, enclosed building in the state. Their operations site must not be in the same site used for growing and processing medical marijuana. It should not be within 1,000 feet of the property line of a private, public, or parochial school or daycare center.
Yes. Patients and caregivers can obtain medical marijuana according to the curbside delivery protocol of the DOH. Patients can only buy medical marijuana from dispensaries or through their caregivers. Caregivers are designated individuals who can pick up medical cannabis at a dispensary for their patient/s. Any individual who is 21 years old and submits to a complete criminal history background check can be a caregiver. They may help up to five (5) patients.
One of the first requirements to get a medical marijuana ID is that the individual is diagnosed with an approved severe medical condition under the law. Some of the qualifying medical conditions are:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
HIV / AIDS
Inflammatory bowel disease
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
See the complete list of serious medical conditions here.
After that, the patient must meet the following requirements and follow the steps to obtain a medical marijuana ID:
The patient must be a resident of Pennsylvania
Register on the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program
Visit a medical marijuana-approved practitioner who will certify that you are diagnosed with a qualifying serious medical condition
Pay the $50 fee for your medical marijuana ID.
Executive Director of Health and Human Services
Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program
Call center hours of operation: 7 AM - 9 PM ET
A rate of 5% excise tax is to be paid by a grower/processor on the gross receipts it received from the sale of medical marijuana to a dispensary. All proceeds collected from the tax herein shall be deposited to the Medical Marijuana Program Fund. The fund is a special fund under the State Treasury. A portion of the proceeds shall be appropriated for the programs, operations, and other projects of the DOH. Other fees and taxes imposed under the Medical Marijuana Act shall be deposited to the fund.
However, the sale of medical marijuana shall not be subject to the tax imposed under Section 202 of the Tax Reform Code of 1971. According to this section, a rate of 6% of the purchase price is imposed upon each separate sale of tangible personal property or services.
In 2021, a cannabis report calculated that the medical marijuana market in Pennsylvania could generate up to $1.5 billion in sales in 2023 and $1.7 billion in 2024.
The Medical Marijuana Act was signed into law in 2016, but it was only in 2018 that medical marijuana was available to dispensaries for sale.
According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, arrests for driving under the influence in Lackawanna County were around 16 in 2015, a year before lawmakers legalized medical marijuana. By 2016, this number decreased to over 100 arrests for the same crime. The latest data on DUI arrests was in 2018, when state police made more than 280 apprehensions.
The number of arrests for illegal possession of marijuana was nearly 20 in 2015 and 15 in 2016. This figure increased to 50 arrests for the same unlawful act in 2018.
On the other hand, there were 13 arrests made for the illegal sale/manufacturing of cannabis in 2015; 17 in 2016. The latest statistic revealed that apprehensions for this illicit activity went down to 3 by 2018.