Medical Marijuana Growing Licenses Granted
Pennsylvania’s Department of Health has issued 12 licenses for medical marijuana growers. The winners of the bids included many wealthy and powerful business firms. The medical marijuana industry is not for people with small bank accounts. There is a non-refundable application fee of $10,000 in addition to a permit fee for growers of $200,000. This permit fee is refundable if you are not awarded the license. The permit is only valid for one year, but the growers can apply to renew their permit for an additional $10,000 each year, which will be refunded if the renewal is not granted. In addition to paying these fees, the growers must show they have capital to back up the granting of this license. The grower must have at least $2,000,000 in capital, $500,000 of which must be on deposit with a financial institution. There are also additional fees growers will be subject to, such as a 5% tax on gross receipts from the growers’ sales to dispensaries. Other costs include an enclosed building to grow the medical marijuana, a mandatory electronic inventory tracking system, and security/surveillance. Once granted the permit, the growers should have little trouble with these costs in an industry expected to be worth $21 billion by 2021, according to Arcview Group research.
The Medical Marijuana Act provides that the Department of Health must establish a minimum of three regions within the state. The Department chose to establish six regions in Pennsylvania to issue permits. In deciding where these licenses would be issued, the Medical Marijuana Act requires the Department to consider (1) regional population, (2) the number of patients suffering from serious medical conditions, (3) the types of serious medical conditions, (4) access to public transportation, and (5) any other factor the department deems relevant. The Department granted two growing permits within each of the six regions it created.
The Department of Health guidelines established by the Medical Marijuana Act are used to assess the granting or denial of a permit to a grower. The following list was established:
(1) The applicant will maintain effective control of and prevent diversion of medical marijuana.
(2) The applicant will comply with all applicable laws of this Commonwealth.
(3) The applicant is ready, willing and able to properly carry on the activity for which a permit is sought.
(4) The applicant possesses the ability to obtain in an expeditious manner sufficient land, buildings and equipment to properly grow, process or dispense medical marijuana.
(5) It is in the public interest to grant the permit.
(6) The applicant, including the financial backer or principal, is of good moral character and has the financial fitness necessary to operate.
(7) The applicant is able to implement and maintain security, tracking, recordkeeping and surveillance systems relating to the acquisition, possession, growth, manufacture, sale, delivery, transportation, distribution or the dispensing of medical marijuana as required by the department.
(8) The applicant satisfies any other conditions as determined by the department.
Additionally, there was an emphasis on diversity created by the Medical Marijuana Act. A whole section of the application dedicated to the grower providing its’ diversity plan, which emphasizes people from diverse groups being involved at all levels of the organization.
For more than twenty-five years, the Law Offices of Marc Neff has been defending the rights of individuals and corporations facing serious criminal charges. Throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere, Mr. Neff has successfully defended clients charged with white-collar crimes such as mail fraud and bank fraud, RICO, drug distribution, money laundering, sex crimes and other serious offenses.