Pennsylvania Advances Bill to Boost Independent Cannabis Firms

December 14, 2023 · Green Market Report

This week, Pennsylvania’s legislature passed a bill to allow more cultivators and independent dispensaries to grow and sell directly to consumers in the state.

Senate Bill 773, which is now awaiting Gov. Josh Shapiro’s signature, was passed by the state Senate and then altered in the House. It was at one point expected to address broader issues, such as home growing or full adult-use legalization, but the end version was more limited.

Instead, it focused on allowing all 25 independent medical cannabis growers and dispensaries in the state more freedom to conduct direct sales and to produce their own products.

It’s a big shift, as currently, Pennsylvania law limits how many growers can also be retailers to five. That created somewhat of a concentrated oligarchy in the state market, with most growers having to sell to a few large retailers.

One of the key changes made in the House was the reduction in the number of dispensary permits available to independent growers/processors. The Senate version allowed for two, while the House cut that to just one, a move that frustrated some, including the bill’s author.

“That’s certainly frustrating to us because we did a lot of market research and calculations in terms of what we determined should be two permits versus one,” Sen. Chris Gebhard, a Republican from Lebanon County told Penn Live, adding that lawmakers put prospective grower and retailers “in a very difficult position long term to compete in the marketplace.”

Despite the reduction in permits, the Senate agreed to the House version.

“Half a loaf is better than no loaf at all,” said Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, a Democrat from Allegheny County.

Changes made in the House also include provisions that permit stand-alone dispensaries to seek licenses to grow cannabis as well.

SB 773 also introduces a temporary moratorium on the transfer of licenses by grower/processors and dispensaries, specifically designed to shield independent growers and retailers from being taken over by larger conglomerates. Large, vertically integrated companies have previously dominated the landscape, overshadowing smaller independent entities.

The economic impact could be substantial. Pennsylvania’s medical market has experienced robust growth, with monthly sales figures reaching between $115 million and $140 million. According to Penn Live, the state also collected $37.5 million last fiscal year from a 5% tax on wholesale cannabis sales. (Full Story)

Next Post

New York’s Grower Showcase Events Provide Pipeline for Producers, Refreshing Space for Buyers

New York’s rollout of legal weed shops has been a mess, to say the least. Designed to revolutionize the legal weed marketplace, New York has instead fallen short either by design or outside factors, including numerous lawsuits.  One of the…
Previous Post

How to Tell if Your Cannabis Plant Is Male or Female

Cannabis cultivators the world over know the obsessive, purgatorial feeling of waiting for their plants to mature to discern sex—female, male or hermaphrodite. A male plant, while essential for reproduction, can also run rampant across a garden and devastate an…
Random Post

Missouri to issue 48 marijuana microbusiness licenses in October

Missouri plans to license an initial round of 48 cannabis microbusinesses, to be awarded via a lottery in October. The microbusiness licenses “are designed to allow marginalized or under-represented individuals to participate in the legal marijuana market,” according to new release issued…
Random Post

State Cannabis Regulators Urge Congress To Change Hemp And Cannabinoid Rules Through 2023 Farm Bill

A group of state cannabis regulators is asking Congress to change laws around hemp and cannabinoids through the forthcoming 2023 Farm Bill, seeking to adjust the federal definition of the crop and modify rules around hemp-derived cannabinoids. The changes are…
Random Post

Hawaii Lawmakers Announce Marijuana Legalization Push For 2023, With Newly Seated Pro-Reform Governor

Hawaii advocates are feeling confident about the prospects of advancing marijuana legalization in the new session, with an activist coalition holding a press conference on Wednesday alongside state lawmakers to lay out the path forward for reform. There’s renewed reason…
Random Post

Alabama vows 2024 medical marijuana launch despite latest legal obstacle

Alabama regulators ended 2023 with a promise that the first legal sale of medical marijuana will happen sometime in 2024. But MMJ sales in the state cannot begin until dispensary licenses are issued, a process that an Alabama circuit judge temporarily blocked…