Pennsylvania Marijuana Cultivation License

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Does Pennsylvania Require Marijuana Growers to Obtain Cultivation License?

The State of Pennsylvania requires growers of marijuana to obtain a cultivation license before growing marijuana in the state. According to Section 304 (b) (3) of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act, growing marijuana without a grower permit is unlawful. The Medical Marijuana Act does not make provision for the home cultivation of marijuana for medical marijuana patients. Only licensed medical marijuana growers are allowed to cultivate marijuana in the state, and they are required to obtain a license from the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The Pennsylvania Department of Health combines grower license and processor license; hence a licensed grower can also process medical marijuana in the state. The medical marijuana cultivation license in Pennsylvania is called medical marijuana grower/processor permit.

Section 702 (b) (1) of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act states that a grower/processor is only allowed to grow, store, harvest, or process marijuana in an indoor facility. Such a facility must be enclosed and secured, having both an electronic locking system and electronic surveillance. Pennsylvania legalized the medical use of marijuana in 2016 through the passage of Senate Bill 3 by the legislature, but the recreational use of marijuana is still prohibited in the state.

What Are the Different Types of Cultivation Licenses in Pennsylvania?

The medical marijuana grower/processor permit is the only type of cultivation license issued in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Department of Health issues permits to prospective medical marijuana growers and regulates the processes of medical marijuana cultivation in Pennsylvania. The Department of Health has established standards that applicants for medical marijuana growers/processors must meet before being awarded a permit. They are required to show evidence that they:

  • Have mechanisms to maintain effective security and control over the premises where the marijuana is to be cultivated. This is to prevent the diversion of the harvests from the marijuana plants and prevent abuse and other possible illegal conduct.
  • Can comply with municipality zoning requirements as set by the Department of Health. The Pennsylvania code requires a grower to meet the identical municipal zoning and land use requirements used by other marijuana growing and processing plants in the same zoning district. The zones are also called regions. Pennsylvania has six medical marijuana regions, these regions are as follows:
    • Region 1, also known as the Southeast region.
    • Region 2, also known as the Northeast region.
    • Region 3, also known as the South Central region.
    • Region 4, also known as the North Central region.
    • Region 5, also known as the Southwest region.
    • Region 6, also known as the Northwest region.
  • Have a diversity plan, i.e., how the company plans to include people from diverse backgrounds.

Who Can Grow Marijuana in Pennsylvania?

Only adults are allowed to apply for marijuana grower/processor permits in Pennsylvania. No person under the age of 18 will be awarded a grower/processor permit. Title 28, Chapter 1151.21 of the Pennsylvania Code prohibits a marijuana grower/processor from engaging the service of anyone who is not up to 18 years in their marijuana cultivation farm. The law prohibits a minor from entering a marijuana cultivation facility. Adults over the age of 18 in Pennsylvania may apply for marijuana grower/processor license if they have the requirements demanded by the Department of Health.

Persons who have been convicted for felony criminal offenses pertaining to the manufacture, delivery, or possession of controlled substances may be restricted from obtaining a grower permit. Pennsylvania disallows felons from working in a marijuana growing or processing facility in the following capacities:

  • As principal of marijuana cultivating firm.
  • As a financial backer of a marijuana cultivation firm.
  • As an employee of a marijuana cultivation firm.

In situations where a felony conviction has lasted for a period of 10 years or more, the restriction may be removed. The restriction may also be removed for the felon one year after the completion of their prison term. These two conditions will be factored in if a felon applies for a grower/processor permit; whichever of the two conditions comes later will be used in awarding the permit. The same restrictions and conditions apply when a felon applies as a financial backer, employee, or clinical registrant to a medical marijuana cultivation firm.

Pennsylvania does not permit medical marijuana patients to cultivate marijuana. Persons arrested for the cultivation of less than 10 marijuana plants in the State of Pennsylvania, even without an intention to sell will be charged with a felony. This offense is punishable by two and half years to five years imprisonment and a fine of $15,000.

How to Get a Marijuana Cultivation License in Pennsylvania.

Anyone who wishes to obtain a marijuana cultivation license in Pennsylvania will need to apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Although, applications for marijuana cultivation licenses are currently closed in Pennsylvania. There have been two phases of application for grower/processor application since the legalization of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania in April 2016. These are the phase I grower/processor application and the phase II grower/processor application. In phase I grower/processor application, 12 permits were awarded, and in phase II grower/processor application, 13 permits were awarded. The phase II grower/processor application began on 5th April, 2018 and it closed on 17th May, 2018.

Prospective applicants for grower/processor permit need to wait till the Pennsylvania Department of Health advertises another application phase. The application dates and the procedures for application will be published on their website. The Department of Health assesses and scores all applications, and permits are awarded on a merit basis. The Department of Health announces on their website when the application is open. The application process usually requires the following:

  • A completed application form for a grower/processor permit.
  • Completed attachment pages and checklist attached to the application form.
  • A redacted version of the application document as provided with the online application form.
  • Payment of initial application fees and initial permit fees which are payable in checks and money orders. These are to be written in the favor of the “Commonwealth of Pennsylvania”.

Applications should be sent by mail to:

Office of Medical Marijuana,

Department of Health,

Room 628, Health and Welfare Building,

625 Forster Street,

Harrisburg, PA 17120.

How Much Do Marijuana Cultivation Licenses Cost in Pennsylvania?

Applicants for the medical marijuana growers permit in Pennsylvania are required to submit their applications with the following fees:

  • A non-refundable initial deposit of $10,000
  • A sum of $200,000 as permit fee (this is refundable in case the permit is not granted)
  • A proof that they have up to $2,000,000 as capital. They must show that at least $500,000 of this amount is deposited in a financial institution.

The renewal of the medical marijuana grower permit costs a fee of $10,000. This amount must be submitted while applying for the permit renewal. If the renewal is not granted, the amount will be refunded.

Can Licensed Marijuana Cultivators Hold Other Cannabis Licenses in Pennsylvania?

Yes. Licensed medical marijuana cultivators in Pennsylvania may also hold other marijuana licenses except for a testing laboratory license. The application for a dispensary license has to be done separately. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Health has established that no more than five out of the 25 growers/processors awarded permits will be given dispensary permits.

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Pennsylvania Marijuana Cultivation License