Yes. Monroe County allows the cultivation of medical marijuana pursuant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Act 16 of 2016 or the Medical Marijuana Act. Meanwhile, the adult use of marijuana remains unlawful in the Commonwealth as of May 2023.
Under Chapter 6, permits are granted by the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to medical marijuana organizations to grow, process, or dispense medical marijuana. As a requisite, these organizations must comply with the DOH Regulations to operate in the county. While it is legal to cultivate medical marijuana, Monroe County does not have a medical marijuana grower/processor permit awardee as of May 2023.
If a permit is granted to a Monroe County grower/processor applicant in the future, they are bound to follow Chapter 1151 of the Pennsylvania Code. A complete plan of operation comprised of employment policies and procedures, security policies and protocols, operational procedures, workplace safety, contamination protocols, sanitation, quality controls, inventory maintenance, and recall plans must be provided to the DOH. The permit application will require an initial non-refundable fee of $10,000, a permit fee of $200,000, and proof of $2 million in capital. Medical marijuana may only be grown in an approved indoor, enclosed, and secured area. Pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides may be used if it complies with the Pennsylvania Pesticide Control Act of 1973 and is approved by the Department of Agriculture.
Manufacturing medical marijuana by medical marijuana organizations is legal in Monroe County, although it does not have an operational grower/processor permit awardee as of May 2023.
Per Chapter 1151, growers/processors may process medical marijuana into pills, oils, topicals, tinctures, liquids, and a medically-appropriate vaporization or nebulization form. Prior approval from the DOH is necessary for growers/processors to process, manufacture, and produce medical marijuana products. Products must be placed in a child-resistant, tamper-evident, light-resistant, and resealable package with unique identifiers. Lastly, products must have a legible and tamper-resistant label containing the address of the grower/processor, form and amount of marijuana per package, number of individual doses in the package, THC and CBD content, packaging date, expiration date, storage instructions, and warning labels.
Medical marijuana products may not resemble commercially-available food or beverage products.
Yes. Monroe County medical marijuana patients and caregivers may purchase flowers, vapes, concentrates, capsules, tinctures, and topicals from dispensaries in Stroudsburg and nearby counties. Following Chapter 3 of the Medical Marijuana Act, edibles are prohibited from being manufactured and sold in the county.
As stipulated in Chapter 1161, dispensaries may not operate within 1,000 feet of schools and daycare centers from the exact location of a grower/processor facility and the same office of a physician. The presence of a licensed physician or pharmacist is required during its operating hours. For multiple dispensaries operating under one permit, a physician assistant or a certified registered nurse practitioner may be present instead.
A 90-day supply of medical marijuana may be purchased by medical marijuana patients and caregivers every time they only have a remaining supply good for seven days. Employees must verify the identity of the patient and caregiver by checking their identification cards and recent certification before dispensing.
Dispensaries in Monroe County have been authorized to offer curbside delivery services after the Commonwealth approved Act 44 last June 2021. Deliveries to medical marijuana cardholders will be guided by the protocols the DOH will develop.
Additionally, dispensaries are authorized to deliver medical marijuana to other medical marijuana organizations in the Commonwealth. Per Chapter 1161, deliveries may be conducted from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Transport vehicles must have GPS, a secure lockbox, and temperature-controlled storage for perishable products. Two employees must complete the delivery, with one remaining inside the vehicle all the time.
Monroe County residents certified to have a serious medical condition may enroll in the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program. Under the law, the following medical conditions are considered serious:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic hepatitis C
Damaged central nervous tissue
Dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders
Inflammatory bowel disease
Opioid use disorder
Severe chronic pain
Sickle cell anemia
Generally, getting a medical marijuana ID card involves three steps:
Residents must register online if they believe they are eligible for the program.
Visit a DOH-approved medical marijuana practitioner to get a certification. Practitioners may be found in Stroudsburg, Brodheadsville, and East Stroudsburg.
Pay the $50.00 fee to get the medical marijuana ID card.
Once approved, applicants may receive their ID cards after 21 days. These will be mailed to the provided address during registration. Residents under the age of 18 will not be issued an ID card. Instead, they must have a designated caregiver who will be registered in the program.
For inquiries, the DOH may be reached at 888-733-5595 from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM daily, except on state holidays.
According to Chapter 9 of Act 16 of 2016, growers/processors must pay a 5% excise tax on the gross sales of medical marijuana to dispensaries. All collected excise tax revenues are deposited into the Medical Marijuana Program Fund and allocated to the DOH, Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, and Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.
The legalization of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth has helped improve its economy. According to a 2022 report by the DOH, dispensing activities in the Commonwealth started in February 2018. By May 2022, 61,647,200 products were sold in 21,687,632 transactions. Regarding patient certifications, 1,812 physicians have been able to issue 1,068,111 certificates since the medical marijuana program began in 2017. Additionally, the program has at least 712,421 patients, and 37,221 caregivers registered as of May 2022.
According to the FBI Crime Data Explorer, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recorded a significant decrease in the number of arrests related to marijuana since it legalized its medical use in 2016. From 18,470 marijuana possession offenses in 2015, the Commonwealth has recorded only 1,276 arrests in 2021. Meanwhile, arrests related to sales have decreased from 4,375 in 2015 to 72 in 2021.
From 2016 to 2020, recorded marijuana possession offenses and sales are as follows:
2016: 20,154 possession and 4,102 sales
2017: 23,127 possession and 4,666 sales
2018: 23,925 possession and 4,159 sales
2019 - 11,239 possession and 1,117 sales
2020 - 140 possession and 37 sales