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Pennsylvania Plans New Bill To Allow Direct Marijuana Sale To Patients

A senator in the state of Pennsylvania has upcoming plans to bring in legislation, which would amend the Commonwealth's medical marijuana program to provide independent grower/processors with permits to sell their goods directly to patients.

Commenting on his plans, State Sen. Chris Gebhard said in a co-sponsorship memo sent to his Pennsylvania Senate colleagues, "Originally, the medical marijuana program did not allow a Pennsylvania-based grower/processor to sell medicinal marijuana directly to patients. Instead, the grower/processor must sell to an authorized distributor."

The memo added, "However, as the program has evolved and expanded, the State Department of Health enabled some growers to sell directly to patients while leaving other growers without the ability to sell directly to patients. This has now created an unfair system for getting products to patients."

In what the lawmaker describes as "the most even-handed solution" to the problem, two permits must be issued to all the independent grower/processors in the State who do not currently have one.

"This will create a free and fair market and will allow all businesses to operate on the same playing field as their competitors," Gebhard said in the memo, which asks all state senators to help make Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program more equal.

At present, Pennsylvania's medical marijuana law allows for just 25 businesses to be licensed to grow and process marijuana, and only five of those licensees can sell cannabis directly to patients through vertically integrated dispensaries, according to the July report issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana.

As per the report, Pennsylvania's cannabis law also says that businesses with a retail permit can't operate more than 15 dispensaries, the report says.

Although the state is yet to bring in adult-use legalization of marijuana, it is expected at some point to join nearby states like New York and New Jersey, in allowing recreational cannabis sales. Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana use in the year 2016.

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