The Pennsylvania Department of Health awarded medical marijuana licenses to 12 growers out of the 177 applications it received.
The medical marijuana license application process is proving very lucrative for Pennsylvania.
After carving the state into six geographic regions, Pennsylvania officials awarded two medical marijuana licenses for each zone. To be considered, each applicant pays a nonrefundable $10,000 application fee. In addition, they supply a $200,000 deposit (refundable only to the losers). They must also show they have access to at least $2 million in additional capital. In addition, each applicant incurs expenses for architectural plans, security studies, and zoning appeals.
Keith Morgan, the Lower Merion Township heir to the Aamco transmission fortune, won a growing license for the northwestern region of the state with his company Holistic Farms. “It was an incredibly competitive process, and there were numerous outstanding applicants,” Morgan said. “Unfortunately, many of them were left disappointed, but that’s the nature of a highly competitive process.”
Twelve permits are issued to the following groups:
Prime Wellness of Pennsylvania, LLC
Franklin Labs, LLC
Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, LLC
Standard Farms, LLC
Ilera Healthcare, LLC
AES Compassionate Care, LLC
Terrapin Investment Fund 1, LLC
GTI Pennsylvania, LLC
AGRiMED Industries of PA, LLC
Holistic Farms, LLC
Cresco Yeltrah, LLC
However, there is no guarantee that these licensees will be farming their medical marijuana by the end of the year. This is because the state has not completed the necessary criminal background checks on the people working for these winning companies. Therefore, a black mark could jeopardize any license awarded.
Each winner is required to begin growing in six months.
The winning applicants will have six months to build a facility. Once seeds or clones are planted, the first crop can be ready for harvest in as little as 14 weeks. Then, the cannabis is processed into oils or tinctures and sold at medicinal marijuana dispensaries. Nothing that looks like plant material will be sold.
The state will announce the winners of 27 dispensary permits soon.
Sales of medical cannabis products are on track to start in early 2018, according to the Pennsylvania State Health Department. Studies have shown that medical marijuana can assist patients suffering from certain serious medical conditions by alleviating pain and improving their quality of life. Patients suffering from any of 17 qualifying ailments will require a doctor’s recommendation before purchasing any marijuana-derived medicine at a dispensary.
The statute defines a “serious medical condition” as any one of the following:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Crohn’s Disease
- Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity
- HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) / AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)
- Huntington’s Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Intractable Seizures
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective
- Sickle Cell Anemia
A second round of permits is expected to be issued in the future, taking the number of growing facilities to 25. But the state is already bracing for lawsuits from those who did not win licenses.
In addition, each unsuccessful company can reapply and submit another $10,000 application fee for another chance at a permit, a spokeswoman for the state Health Department said.