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pennsylvania Marijuana laws 

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As of 2016, Senate Bill 3 permits for the medical use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The bill legalized the consumption and possession of medical marijuana for patients suffering from qualified medical conditions, and allowed for a state regulated dispensary system to grow and sell medical marijuana. The full statute can be found here. 


The Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, a division of the state’s Department of Health, regulates the program. In April 2018, 12 Growers/Processors had been approved by the board. The board may issue permits to no more than 50 dispensaries, which can each have three locations, allowing for up to 150 total dispensaries. In Phase I, the Department approved 27 dispensary permits. In Phase II of the Program, the Departments intends to issue up to 13 grower/processor permits and up to 23 dispensary permits. The department approved the first Phase II medical marijuana grower/processor, located in Farrell, Mercer County, to begin operations, bringing the total number of operational grower/processors to 13.


In an Information for Patients Brochure, the Pennsylvania Department of Health lists the availability of the following forms of medical marijuana: pills, oil, topical forms such as patches or ointments, forms medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization, including dry leaf or plant form for administration by vaporization, and tinctures and liquids.

Application Fees/Start up costs


  • Initial nonrefundable application fee: $10,000

  • $200,000 must be submitted with application, to be returned if the permit is not granted

  • Annual renewal fee of $10,000

  • Proof of funds of $2 Million, $500,000 of which must be in the applicant’s bank account


  • Initial nonrefundable application fee: $5,000

  • $30,000 must be submitted with the application, to be returned if the permit is not granted.

  • Annual renewal fee of $5,000.

  • Proof of funds of $150,000 (in applicant’s bank account)

  • Up to 50 dispensary permits may be awarded.

  • Up to 5 permits to be awarded to one person.

  • Each permit holder will be allowed to open up to 3 dispensaries

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Available License Types


  • Allows for 25 permits

  • No more than five grower/processors may also be issued a dispensary permit.

Qualifying Conditions 

  • Alzheimer’s disease

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

  • Cancer

  • Crohn’s Disease

  • Glaucoma

  • Hepatitis C

  • HIV or AIDS

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Chronic medical conditions or disabilities, with treatable symptoms including but not limited to:

    • Cachexia, or wasting syndrome

    • Seizures

    • Severe and chronic pain

    • Severe nausea

    • Severe or persistent muscle spasms

In the first year of availability, state officials estimated at least $135 million in total sales. On April 4, 2019 the Governor’s Office announced on an official government website, that more than 131,000 patients in Pennsylvania have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, and close to 102,000 have received their patient certification and are able to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary. Governor’s Office added that more than 780,000 dispensing events have occurred at medical marijuana dispensaries across Pennsylvania, with more than 2.2 million products sold.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has helped to clarify the differences between hemp derived CBD and medical marijuana derived CBD relative to the State programs.The two programs are separate and authorized by different Acts and Departments. Industrial hemp contains virtually no THC (less than 0.3%). Both plants do contain levels of other compounds of interest, for example cannabidiols (CBDs). The Medical Marijuana Act requires all the cannabis for medical use to be grown at a permitted growing/processing facility and the products to be tested before being sold in order to meet specific requirements for purity and standardized chemical concentrations.


Industrial hemp growers must have a permit from the PA Department of Agriculture. PDA does permit growth of hemp for the purpose of producing CBD. However, it will be the permit holder's responsibility to ensure that any CBD extraction or the production of CBD-containing substances complies with all laws and regulations.

Estimated market size

The Department of Health recorded revenues of $524 million for 2019, on track to see a higher than 500% sales jump from year one to year two.

how to start a marijuana business pennsylvania

If you are just starting your marijuana business, the next best step is to start a Business Plan to help educate your team and be ready to apply for a marijuana business license. If you are ready to apply for a Marijuana Business License in Pennsylvania, please Contact us or call our offices to set an appointment to get started. You can also select another State Opportunity, or fill out our Contact Form to discuss potential strategies such as Investment or Partnership Opportunities. 

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