What Are the Latest Developments in Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Regulations?

The Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program’s final-form regulations (DOH Regulations) were published in the Pennsylvania Bulletin on March 4, 2023. This significant update impacts all grower/processors and approved laboratories in the state. Additionally, on the same day, the Commonwealth Court issued an order temporarily restraining the Department of Health (DOH) from enforcing certain provisions of these regulations.

In the broader context, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 [P.L. 117-328] includes a rider that restricts the Department of Justice (DOJ) from taking legal action against states to prevent them from implementing or enforcing medical marijuana laws. This represents a significant development in the ongoing tension between federal and state policies regarding marijuana.

Starting July 1, 2023, a new law in Pennsylvania permits adults aged 21 or older to possess and consume up to 1.5 ounces of cannabis flower, 12 grams of concentrated cannabis, or cannabis products with a total THC content not exceeding 750 mg. This limit is referred to as the “personal use amount.”

Moreover, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced Operation Bottleneck, an initiative targeting the diversion of controlled substances. This operation led to actions against six DEA-registered companies for failing to account for over a million doses of opioids, showcasing the federal government’s continued focus on controlled substance regulations.

The Medical Marijuana Program in Pennsylvania, established by the Medical Marijuana Act signed into law on April 17, 2016, is responsible for maintaining electronic data, including patient and practitioner registries and an electronic tracking system.

For individuals seeking to obtain medical marijuana, the process involves certification by an approved physician and completing an application for a medical marijuana ID card. The cost of the ID card is $50, with fee reductions available for participants in assistance programs such as Medicaid and SNAP.

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Mayor Kenney of Philadelphia recently presented a five-year financial plan for 2023-2027, focusing on supporting Philadelphians, including aspects related to medical marijuana.

In Pennsylvania, the number of medical marijuana dispensaries is capped at 50, with each allowed up to three separate locations. The application process for dispensaries is detailed and requires several compliance measures.

Lastly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information on marijuana, noting that it contains over 100 compounds, including THC and CBD, which have different effects.

For more detailed information on these topics, please refer to the following sources:
Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program Regulations,
Federal Status of Marijuana,
Recently Adopted Cannabis Legalization Laws,
DEA’s Operation Bottleneck,
Getting Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania, and
What We Know about Marijuana by CDC.

Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program

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