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 '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."
For instructions on how to apply for a license, click here.