Pennsylvania recently joined a host of other states in legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes, and businesses are chomping at the bit to be some of the first to participate in the new industry. Although the law was signed on April 17, Governor Tom Wolf says that even those residents who qualify to receive medical marijuana products will not be able to do so until those products are produced within Pennsylvania. The new business sector means many new businesses will be vying for permits to grow the crop, not to mention the ancillary businesses which may have to acquire special licensing for extracting, processing and packaging medical marijuana products.
While the state develops the regulatory infrastructure, the Department of Health has agreed to license up to 25 businesses to grow the crop, though there may be more local and county-related red-tape to cut through for growers once they receive their state-level licenses. These applications will be available by the end of 2016.
The law indicates that the crops must be grown indoors, which may entail either special construction or significant renovation to existing facilities. The state has indicated that it will only license 150 dispensary locations, which will have their own set of location and shopping hassles. The physical locations of the growing operations and dispensaries could influence the availability of over 2,500 jobs over the next five years. It still remains to be seen how the locations will be distributed across Pennsylvania’s three primary regions.
New business opportunities are always exciting when they emerge, but they often bring with them complex issues of how they may be housed and who will be using their property to house them. While medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, there is still a significant stigma around it for many property owners. An experienced attorney can help property owners and businesses alike structure agreements that are equitable for all parties.