Lancaster County Cannabis Overview

  1. Pennsylvania Cannabis
  2. Lancaster County Cannabis

Is Cannabis Cultivation Legal in Lancaster County?

Yes, marijuana cultivation is legal in Lancaster County. In 2016, Senate Bill 3 legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Recreational marijuana remains illegal in the State.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health regulates and issues permits to no more than 25 growers/processors in the State. The application process for a cultivator applicant includes:

  • Providing information in the application form, such as the ability to provide a diversity plan and proof of zoning requirements compliance and maintain security to prevent abuse, diversion, or other illegal conduct
  • Submitting a permit application with an initial fee of $10,000 (non-refundable), a permit fee of $200,000 (refundable if the permit application is not approved), and proof of $2 million worth of capital
  • Being awarded a cultivator permit before starting growing/processing medical marijuana

The cultivators whose permits are granted must complete a training course that lasts for two hours. In addition, the department may provide for other requirements they deem necessary through temporary regulations.

Pennsylvania Code, Title 28, Section 1151.23 states that a cultivator may only grow, store, harvest, or process seeds, medical marijuana plants (both mature and immature), and medical marijuana in an indoor and secure facility. The cultivation facility must have an enclosed and locked area that is out of the public eye.

Moreover, Title 28, Section 1151.27 of the Pennsylvania Code states that a medical marijuana cultivator is required to install a system to record, monitor, and regulate:

  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Ventilation
  • Lighting
  • Water supply

Is Cannabis Manufacturing Legal in Lancaster County?

Yes, medical marijuana manufacturing is allowed in Lancaster County. The application process for cultivators and manufacturers is the same. The first six months after the Pennsylvania Department of Health determines the manufacturer is operational is crucial. Within the time frame, the manufacturer shall provide the department with a projected amount of medical marijuana it will produce and in what form. In case there is a potential decrease or increase in the projected amount of medical marijuana, the manufacturer shall inform the department in writing immediately within the subsequent 6-month period.

Title 28, Section 1151.27 of the Pennsylvania Code says that a processor/ manufacturer must process medical marijuana plants in a safe and sterile manner. The following conditions apply:

  • Medical marijuana plants, raw materials, and other products used in the processing of medical marijuana must be handled on food-grade stainless steel tables or benches
  • Proper sanitation during the manufacturing process must be maintained
  • Proper rodent, pest, and bird exclusion practices must be employed

Furthermore, Section 1151.34 states that a processor/manufacturer shall seal medical marijuana in a package that minimizes exposure to oxygen. It must be:

  • Tamper-proof or tamper-evident
  • Child-resistant
  • Resealable
  • Light-resistant or opaque, or both

Is Cannabis Retail Legal in Lancaster County?

Yes, medical marijuana retail is legal in Lancaster County. The Pennsylvania Department of Health issues retailer permits for no more than 50 dispensaries in the State. Each dispensary is authorized to have no more than three separate locations.

The application process for dispensaries includes:

  • Applying for and being awarded a permit before dispensing medical marijuana
  • Providing necessary information in the application form, such as the proof of municipality zoning requirements compliance, description of business activities and organization, ability to maintain security to prevent diversion, abuse, or other illegal conduct, a diversity plan
  • Submitting a permit application with an initial fee of $5,000 (non-refundable), a permit fee of $30,000 (refundable if the permit application is not approved), and proof of $150,000 worth of capital

The dispensaries whose permits are granted must complete a two-hour training course. Additionally, the department may provide for other requirements they deem necessary through temporary regulations.

The registered patient must be a Pennsylvania resident and must have a serious health condition confirmed by a certifying physician who is registered under the State’s medical marijuana program. Minors with serious medical conditions may also get medical marijuana through a registered caregiver.

Before dispensing medical marijuana to a patient or caregiver, the dispensary shall:

  • Check the validity of the patient/ caregiver identification card via the program’s electronic tracking system
  • Review the patient information and most recent health certification via the electronic tracking system to enter the Department of Health’s database
  • Prepare a receipt of the medical marijuana transaction and endorse that receipt to the department via the electronic tracking system
  • Provide a copy of the medical marijuana transaction receipt to the patient/ caregiver

Furthermore, Section 1151.28 states that the manufacturer may only process medical marijuana for dispensing to a patient/ caregiver in the following forms:

  • A form medically appropriate for administration via nebulization/ vaporization
  • Pill
  • Oil
  • Tincture
  • Liquid
  • Topical forms, including gel, creams, or ointments

Is Cannabis Delivery Legal in Lancaster County?

Medical marijuana delivery to residential addresses is not permitted in Lancaster County. As far as medical marijuana delivery is concerned, only business-to-business transaction is allowed— from a medical marijuana cultivator/ processor to a medical marijuana dispensary and vice versa.

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code, Section 1161.35, a dispensary may deliver medical marijuana only to a medical marijuana organization between 7 am and 9 pm for the purposes of delivering medical marijuana among the licensed retail facilities and returning medical marijuana to cultivators/manufacturers. The licensed dispensaries may not deliver or transport to any location outside of Pennsylvania.

How to Get Medical Marijuana Card in Lancaster County

The approved medical conditions stated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health are any one of the following:

  • Nervous tissue damage with an indication of intractable spasticity and other neuropathies
  • Huntington's disease
  • Intractable seizures
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Autism
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Glaucoma
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Cancer, including remission therapy
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Opioid use disorder for which therapy is ineffective or contraindicated
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Neuropathies
  • Severe and chronic or intractable pain
  • Tourette syndrome
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Terminal illness

To get a medical marijuana card in Pennsylvania, you need to:

  • Apply on the website
  • To verify if you have registered successfully, you must have a Patient ID number on the website and an email confirming your registration and stating your next steps
  • Have an appointment with a registered physician and get certified with a qualifying health condition
  • Pay for your medical marijuana card
  • Visit a dispensary in Pennsylvania with your approved medical marijuana card

If you have questions or concerns, you may contact:

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Health & Welfare Building

625 Forster St., 6th Floor

Harrisburg, PA 17120

Phone: 888-733-5595

Email: RA-DHEPCS@pa.gov

How Has Cannabis Legalization Impacted the Economy of Lancaster County?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, cultivators and manufacturers are mandated by law to pay a 5% excise tax on the gross receipts from medical marijuana sales to the dispensary. Medical marijuana is not subject to sales tax in the State.

The Office of the Governor of Pennsylvania published a 2019 report that states medical marijuana sales grossed over $132 million a year after the official start of selling the product (2017). Four years later, the total medical marijuana sales skyrocketed close to $2.6 billion, and more than 31.2 million medical marijuana products have been sold by cultivators, manufacturers, and dispensaries.

As of 2019, the Pennsylvania government collected more than $2 million in tax revenue from cultivators and manufacturers. The figure shows that the medical marijuana industry helps boost the Pennsylvania economy.

The Effects of Cannabis Legalization on Crime Rates in Lancaster County

According to the data generated from the Pennsylvania State of Police, the DUI cases in Lancaster County from 2019 to 2020 and 2021 increased from 171 arrests to 365 and 396, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of drug offenses in Lancaster County varies drastically during 2019, 2020, and 2021— from 277 cases to 560 and 405, respectively.

The legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania took place in April 2016. However, the 2019 records from the State’s crime database are the earliest available data.

Lancaster County Cannabis