Pennsylvania is a recent adopter of medical marijuana, with legalization taking place in 2016. Philadelphia and Pittsburg are two of the largest UScities where cannabis has been decriminalized. In April 2016 Pennsylvanian Governor Tom Wolf declared:
“I am proud to sign this bill that will provide long overdue medical relief to patients and families who could benefit from this treatment… I want to thank the thousands of advocates who have fought tirelessly for this cause”.
The Fort Washington Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Fort Washington Office Park is set to become a medical marijuana dispensary owned by Bay LLC, who will be operating under the name of Cure Pennsylvania. The company contacted local authorities asking about the permit process and zoning regulations for the construction of a dispensary and the sale of medical marijuana. The company claimed to have a lease on the property and local representatives of Upper Dublin Township responded that they could not give any information until they received an official application. The primary contact for the Cure Pennsylvania company is listed as Justin Bruce on the website, but a spokesperson has stated that no information would be provided for either the company or Justin Bruce.
The site is currently a vacant gas station. The vacant Exxon gas station was closed more than 20 years ago, and the State are not releasing information on who the current owners are. If it does happen to become a dispensary, then it will need to be renovated, refurbished and fenced in order to comply with all of the rules and regulations governing medical marijuana dispensaries. The company would need to have a physician or doctor on site and the jurisdiction has significant regulations on marijuana sales. Current State law allows the sale of medical marijuana only as an extract, oil or tincture. 14 other locations across the state are set to become medical marijuana dispensaries, the sites kept by those who successfully applied for medical marijuana dispensary licenses.
With a company operating under the name of another company anonymously calling up local authorities to inquire about the zoning rules for a medical weed dispensary, the current medical marijuana rules do not seem very transparent. It seems to pave the way for centralization and corruption as opposed to simply letting people grow their own residential weed
The current site is at risk of flooding in any case, and would not be a good fit for a medical weed dispensary, according to local representatives at Upper Dublin Township. It is known as a “Sending” property, one that is prone to flooding. The company would first have to tell them in a proposal or application what they intend to do, and then the Township could fill them in on all the necessary rules and requirements. The Township has not since received an application from Cure Pennsylvania, who sometimes operate under the name of Cure Colorado. They may have moved on to other sites for their intention to set up medical marijuana dispensaries. Not that their intentions were revealed in any kind of forthright manner in the first place.
All is not Well for Pennsylvanian Marijuana
Unfortunately, all is not as it seems and the way that medical weed has been implemented in Pennsylvania leaves a lot to be desired. There are a limited number of permits being given out to certain dispensaries and growers. This means that medical marijuana patients do not have the option to grow their own cannabis, as both recreational and medical growth are illegal in residential environments.
There are only 25 permits being given out in Pennsylvania for the growth of medical marijuana. A fee of $200,000 is to be paid along with a nonrefundable application fee of $10,000. The annual renewal fee will cost $10,000. Applicants must be able to show proof of funds of $2 million with $500,000 in the bank. No more than 50 medical marijuana dispensaries are permitted, with a fee of $30,000 for each application and a non-refundable fee of $5,000. State authorities in Pennsylvania are most certainly cashing in on marijuana and cutting out small time applicants, leaving only large businesses to swallow the market.
The licenses to grow and distribute marijuana in Pennsylvania are incredible expensive, and only accessible to companies that are already large and can afford such fees. The takeaway is that the weed industry is more or less sown up in Pennsylvania. Only the big businesses are allowed into the market. Even if smaller businesses are allowed entry over the next few years, they will not be able to compete with businesses that have far more money, power and have first to market advantage. And even at this early stage the whole thing seems very much a cloak and dagger affair with many deals being made being closed doors. The only way to remedy this state of affairs is to legalize recreational marijuana. If large industries are not supplying good quality marijuana at reasonable prices, people can then simply resort to growing their own.