Let the green rush begin.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health on Tuesday released application forms to grow and distribute medical marijuana in the Keystone State.
Up to 25 grower-processor and 50 dispensary permits are up for grabs. But getting into the game will come at a steep price.
Any application for a growing operation will cost a non-refundable $10,000, in addition to a $200,000 permit fee that will be returned only to the unsuccessful applicants. The ante for a dispensary license, which will allow the winner to operate up to three storefronts, is $5,000, and that must be accompanied by a refundable permit fee of $30,000 per storefront.
The state is anticipating about 900 individuals and corporations will apply, John Collins, director of Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana Program, said during an afternoon teleconference with reporters. Applications will only be accepted from Feb. 20 to March 20, he said. A 90-day review period will follow.
The selection committee at the Health Department will evaluate each application on 30 criteria. The most heavily weighted categories, accounting for 20 percent of the total points, are diversity and community impact. Aspiring owners and contractors must discuss what roles minorities, veterans, and women will play in their operations. Applicants also will need to submit a statement on the impact their businesses will have on their communities. To view the application click here.
“The scoring rubric will be extremely helpful to applicants, as it articulates exactly what they must do to obtain a permit," said Steve Hoenstine, a spokesman for State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who co-sponsored the state's medical marijuana law, Act 16 .
"The 'community impact' factor gives them a chance to explain exactly how they will serve their patients while acting in the best interests of their neighbors,” Hoenstine said.
Each dispensary license is good for three storefronts, but the outlets must be in three different counties, said April Hutchinson, a spokeswoman for the Health Department.
"It's important to make certain that patients have access to this medicine," she said. "We want to spread out the dispensaries through each region."
Gov. Wolf signed the state's medical marijuana law on April 17, 2016. Use by adults still is not permitted, and won't be until cannabis is legally grown in the Keystone State. The Department of Health, however, has granted "safe harbor" letters to more than 100 parents and caregivers so children who suffer from any of 17 medical conditions might use it.
For instructions on how to apply for a license, click here.
Contact Sam Wood at 215-854-2796, firstname.lastname@example.org or @samwoodiii.