Pennsylvania Issues Permits For Phase II Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

PENNSYLVANIA: The Pennsylvania Department of Health today issued 23 dispensary permits for Phase II of the medical marijuana program. The permittees will now have six months in which to become operational before they can begin dispensing medical marijuana.

“The permitting of these locations as part of Phase II of the medical marijuana program will ensure more people have access to medical marijuana close to home,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Medical marijuana is an essential form of treatment for Pennsylvanians suffering from one of 21 serious medical conditions. This step continues the growth of our scientific, medically-based medical marijuana program.”

Once all Phase II dispensaries are operational, there will be a total of 79 dispensaries located throughout the commonwealth. Each of the dispensary permit holders is eligible to open a total of three locations. Some dispensary permit holders have opted not to open all eligible locations at this time. A complete list of operational dispensary locations is available on the Department of Health website at www.medicalmarijuana.pa.gov.

The 23 permits were issued to:

Southeast Region

Restore Integrative Wellness Center LLC

Cresco Yeltrah, LLC

Franklin BioScience – SE, LLC

Harvest of Southeast PA, LLC

PharmaCann Penn LLC

MLH Explorations, LLC

CB Health Services, LLC

Agape Total Health Care, INC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northeast Region

Pennsylvania Dispensary Solutions LLC

Franklin BioScience – NE, LLC

Harvest of Northeast PA, LLC

Southcentral Region

Harvest of South Central PA, LLC

Local Dispensaries, LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northcentral Region

Harvest of North Central PA, LLC

PharmaCann Penn LLC

Southwest Region

Franklin BioScience – SW, LLC

Harvest of Southwest PA, LLC

Sunrise Organic Wellness LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

Northwest Region

Harvest of Northwest PA, LLC

GTI Pennsylvania, LLC

More than 98,000 patients in Pennsylvania have registered to participate in the medical marijuana program, and over 66,000 have identification cards and are able to purchase medical marijuana at a dispensary. Approximately 1,380 physicians have registered for the program, 945 of whom have been approved as practitioners.

The medical marijuana program was signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf on April 17, 2016. Since that time, the department has:

  • Completed temporary regulations to enact the program;
  • Convened the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board;
  • Approved six training providers for physician continuing education;
  • Approved four laboratories to test medication before it is delivered to patients;
  • Registered more than 98,000 patients and issued more than 66,000 identification cards;
  • Validated over 364,000 dispensing events;
  • Issued 25 grower/processor permits, 12 of which are operational;
  • Issued 50 dispensary permits and approved 43 locations to begin operations; and
  • Certified eight medical schools as Academic Clinical Research Centers.

The medical marijuana program offers medical marijuana to patients who are residents of Pennsylvania and under a practitioner’s care for the treatment of a serious medical condition as defined by the Medical Marijuana Law.

Utah: Medical Access Initiative Certified For November Ballot

UTAH: State regulators have certified a voter-initiated medical cannabis access measure for the 2018 ballot. Officials announced last week that proponents had gathered nearly 154,000 validated initiative signatures from registered voters – far exceeding the total necessary to place the measure before a statewide vote.

The Utah Medical Cannabis Act permits qualified patients to obtain either herbal cannabis or cannabis-infused products from a limited number state-licensed dispensaries.

Both the Utah Medical Association and Republican Gov. Gary Herbert have publicly opined against the measure. Nonetheless, public support in favor of the initiative remains strong, with 77 percent of Utahns either “strongly” or “somewhat” endorsing the plan, according to a UtahPolicy.com poll.

Voters in Oklahoma will also decide on a medical access initiative in a special election on Tuesday, June 26. By a margin of nearly 2 to 1, Oklahoma voters support the passage of State Question 788, according to polling data reported last week.

Voters in two other states – Michigan and Missouri – will also decide on Election Day on statewide marijuana reform initiatives. Recent polling from those states finds majority public support for all three measures.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Proposed CBD Ban Endangers Patients Warns Texas Cannabis Industry Association

TEXAS: Texas Cannabis Industry Association warns that the Texas Department of State Health Services’ (DSHS) is days away from the unprecedented banning of hemp-CBD products in the state of Texas. This would present a blow to the liberty of thousands of Texans who choose hemp-CBD as a general wellness product and rely on it for the natural treatment of serious medical conditions.

DSHS Commissioner John Hellerstedt has put forth a “Proposed Inspection Protocol” that states all products containing hemp-CBD will be seized from store shelves across the state and either returned to the manufacturer or destroyed.  Commissioner Hellerstedt has given the public until April 16, 2018 to provide comments. DSHS will then decide whether to begin enforcing the ‘Protocol.’

Hemp-CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that even the World Anti-Doping Agency (who oversees the planet’s most-elite athletes) has removed from its banned list. Not only is the DSHS proposal detrimental to thousands of locals whose lives are improved by these products; it is also disastrous for the Texas companies and entrepreneurs who have invested to build out hemp-CBD businesses.

In addition, the legal grounds on which DSHS purports to have the authority to do this are highly-questionable. The TCIA Board of Directors has submitted a one-page executive summary of those legal concerns. TCIA’s General Counsel (Richard Cheng of Dykema Cox Smith – a firm with a national cannabis practice and Texas offices) has submitted a position paper detailing why this state agency cannot lawfully proceed.

Cannabis Legal Trends To Watch In 2018

By Sharon Golden

Ever since you were young, your family was very problematic. There was never a day when you didn’t hear your parents shouting and arguing with each other. You would often lock yourself in your room as an escape from all the tension in the house. You’d rather be alone rather than be in a situation where everyone around you is shouting. As you got a little older, you opted to use marijuana to relieve the stress, anxiety and fear that your family brings you. This has been legal in the state you’re living, so you don’t worry about violating any laws whenever you use marijuana. Because of this, marijuana has become your escape whenever things don’t go according to plan. You’ve been using this almost every day because the relief it gives you is exceptional. Since you’re looking forward to use marijuana in the coming years, you’re very curious on the marijuana legal trends to watch in 2018. You’re excited to know how you can use marijuana in more ways than one.

  1. Marijuana will be used in sports: Sports organizations have gradually acknowledged the fact that marijuana has helped players in treating physical ailments and improve the condition of their nervous system. Aside from that, marijuana has been used in the past to treat sports-related injuries. Yes, marijuana can do all of those things. Some of the players who have been using marijuana are Bryon Morris, Michael Phelps and Nick Diaz. Additionally, National Basketball Association (NBA) has already given a statement which now allows their players to use marijuana. Given that the NBA is one of the most recognizable sports organizations in the world, it won’t be long before other organizations will also follow their lead!
  1. Marijuana will be used in healthcare: More and more health professionals are slowly adapting marijuana in some of their medical treatments. It has been found that marijuana is effective in treating medical conditions such as muscle spasms, nausea and even Crohn’s disease. Researcher is also in the works to determine what other ailments or diseases can be treated with medical marijuana. As such, you can expect that medical marijuana will be prominent in different states across the globe by 2018.
  1. Marijuana will be taught in schools: Yes, you’ve read that right. Because marijuana has made notable advancements in the medical and recreational markets, there are certain states  which offer marijuana-related college courses. In California for example, a university in Irvine is currently developing an interdisciplinary research center which aims to investigate marijuana. Consumers can also educate themselves with marijuana classes and tours that allows them to learn about the differences of using marijuana medicinally and recreationally. With all of these efforts, more people will learn about the benefits of marijuana and will no longer consider the drug as something that deteriorates health.
  1. Marijuana will be in pet food and treats: Not only is marijuana beneficial to human beings but to pets, too. The number of pet owners who find the medical advantages of using hemp formulas is gradually increasing and demand is developing quickly. The industry is now seeing an increase of companies which would produce and sell wellness items for pets which contains marijuana as one of the main ingredients.
  1. CBD oils will be successful: Cannabidiol is the part of the marijuana plant that doesn’t cause the certain side effects associated with marijuana use. Because of this, CBD oils are now used in medical marijuana to treat pain or the symptoms associated with chemotherapy. With the ever-changing marijuana map and the progress of research in marijuana in the field of medicine, the CBD oil industry is expected to have a boost in profits in the coming years.
  1. Marijuana will be available in deliveries: You can now purchase marijuana in different ways and one way of doing this is by having it delivered to your doorstep. There are also big players in the industry which funded millions of dollars to allow marijuana to have a delivery service and to fulfill all of your marijuana needs right in the comforts of your home!
  1. Marijuana will be in holistic and wellness products for you: You can now soothe your body, mind and soul with marijuana as this will be present in body creams, shampoos and even supplements. You’ll have more ways of enjoying your favorite marijuana!

For sure, you’ll be able to use marijuana in different ways this 2018. There are now a lot of mediums available on how you can enjoy marijuana. Since this is legal in your state, no one will ever hinder you from using it the way you want. You can have the liberty to use marijuana wherever, whenever. So if this is the only drug that gives you pleasure, go ahead and indulge yourself!

However, there are some states around the world where it is illegal to use cannabis in any way. If you or you know someone who has been involved with the law due to cannabis use, this website can be of very great help.


Sharon Golden has been a law writer and businesswoman for more than 20 years, and she is currently working on his next big project. Her pieces offer knowledge on various law topics that are easily understandable to the common reader. Sharon cannot be separated from Sophia, their family dog. When Sharon has the time, she’s always seen walking Sophia around the city.

FDA Grants ‘Priority Review’ Of Plant-Derived CBD Extract

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Representatives of the US Food and Drug Administration will undertake a ‘priority review‘ of data specific to the safety and efficacy of Epidiolex, a standardized, plant-derived CBD extract formulated by a British pharmaceutical company. The review is scheduled to be completed by June 27, 2018.

Phase III clinical trial data shows that Epidiolex administration reduces seizure frequency in various hard-to-treat conditions, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome.

To date, the FDA has approved three marijuana-based pharmaceuticals – dronabinol (aka Marinol), nabilone (aka Cesamet), and liquid dronabinol (aka Syndros). All three of these products primarily consist of synthetic forms of THC.

If Epidiolex achieves FDA-approval, analysts suggest the product could retail for between $30,000 to $60,000 annually.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org.

Lawmakers Demand The VA Study Medical Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Members of the US House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs are demanding that the Department of Veterans Affairs facilitate protocols to assess the efficacy of medical cannabis in veterans suffering from chronic pain conditions and post-traumatic stress.

Minnesota Democrat Tim Walz, along with nine other Democrat members of the Committee, authored an October 26, 2017 letter to VA Secretary David Shulkin stating: “[The] VA is uniquely situated to pursue research on the impact of medical marijuana on veterans suffering from chronic pain and PTSD given its access to world class researchers, the population it serves, and its history of overseeing and producing research resulting in cutting-edge medical treatments. … VA’s pursuit of research into the impact of medical marijuana on the treatment of veterans diagnosed with PTSD who are also experiencing chronic pain is integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the nation. We ask VA to respond … with a commitment to the development of VHA-led research into this issue.”

In September, representatives from The American Legion addressed a separate letter to VA Secretary Shulkin encouraging the federal agency to assist in an ongoing, FDA-approved clinical trial assessing the safety and efficacy of various strains of cannabis in veterans with PTSD. To date, the VA has refused to assist in patient recruitment for the trial. The VA has yet to publicly respond to the Legion’s letter.

Survey data finds that military veterans frequently consume cannabis therapeutically, often using it as an alternative to conventional medications in the treatment of pain and post-traumatic stress.


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

ACLU Pennsylvania: Blacks Eight Times More Likely Than Whites To Be Arrested For Marijuana Possession

PENNSYLVANIA: African Americans in Pennsylvania are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession offenses than are Caucasians, according to an analysis of statewide arrest data by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ACLU Pennsylvania report reviewed arrest data for all 67 counties from 2010 to 2016. Excluding Philadelphia, which decriminalized cannabis possession offenses in 2014, adult marijuana possession arrests increased 33 percent during this time period – at a cost of $225.3 million to taxpayers. Black adults were 8.2 times more likely than their white counterparts to be arrested for possessing marijuana. In 2010, African Americans in Pennsylvania were 6.5 percent times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana possession crimes.

Recent analyses from other states, such as New Jersey and Virginia, have similarly identified racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests. Nationwide, African Americans are approximately four times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing marijuana, despite members of both ethnicities using the substance at similar rates.

“Pennsylvania’s insistence in continuing to fight the war on marijuana, is at the root of the problematic data presented in this report,” the ACLU of Pennsylvania concluded. “Law enforcement has not only continued its business-as-usual arresting policies in enforcement of cannabis prohibition, it has ramped up enforcement as marijuana use has become more accepted throughout the commonwealth and the nation. If laws don’t change, this pattern will likely continue; law enforcement could become even more heavy handed until policymakers are clear that it is time to end this approach. The clearest way to send that message is to end prohibition altogether.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the report is available from the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Federal Marijuana Protections Extended Through April

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Members of Congress have re-authorized a federal provision prohibiting the Justice Department from interfering in state-authorized medical cannabis programs. The provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, was included in short-term spending legislation, House Resolution 2028, and will expire on April 28, 2017.

Initially enacted by Congress in 2014, the amendment maintains that federal funds cannot be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” In August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the language bars the federal government from taking legal action against any individual involved in medical marijuana-related activity absent evidence that the defendant is in clear violation of state law.

Because the provision is included as part of a Congressional spending package and does not explicitly amend the US Controlled Substances Act, members must re-authorize the amendment annually. However, House leadership may prohibit federal lawmakers from revisiting the issue when they craft a longer-term funding bill this spring. Such a change in House rules would require members of the Senate to pass an equivalent version of the legislation, which would then need to be approved by House leaders in conference committee.

DEA Hurts Growing Industry; Enacts Final Rule Seeking To Make Any Extract Of Cannabis Plant Schedule 1 Drug

By Bob Hoban, Managing Partner – Hoban Law Group

On December 13, 2016, the DEA issued its Final Rule, “Establishment of New Drug Code for Marihuana Extract,” which serves to potentially devastate developing businesses and consumer, textile and manufacturing industries related to cannabinoids. Robert Hoban, a cannabis, cannabinoid and hemp lawyer and expert as well as an adjunct professor of law at The University of Denver, states the DOJ and DEA cannot unilaterally make law and schedule controlled substances, thus causing this Final Rule to exceed the DEA’s authority. Instead, such actions require an act of Congress.

As is the case here, the DEA is an agency that has previously sought to exceed its authority contrary to applicable law. It is anticipated that this “final ruling” and determination will be challenged both in court and administratively across the country. With 28 states that already have medical cannabis laws on the books, 8 states passing adult use laws in the November election, and numerous other states enacting industrial hemp legislation, the industry is up for the challenge of litigation against any government agency that operates contrary to prevailing law and enforcement policies.

The DEA’s Final Rule seeks to broadly expand and override existing definitions of controlled substances by newly creating a “Marihuana Extract” classification. The effect of this Final Rule appears to be incorporation of any and all cannabinoids from the Cannabis plant as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, despite the fact that many such cannabinoids are naturally occurring derived from non-“marihuana” portions of the plant or or from entirely different plants altogether. Problematically, the Final Rule fails to acknowledge there exist certain parts of the plant, and certain types of the plant — namely, industrial hemp — which cannot and should not be treated as a “Marihuana Extract.” Notably, the DEA has sought to unilaterally create laws before, and has lost, when challenged.

Hoban surmises, “The feeling is that this is an action beyond the DEA’s authority and we believe this is unlawful and we are taking a course of action for our clients. This Final Rule serves to threaten hundreds, if not thousands, of growing businesses, with massive economic and industry expansion opportunities, all of which conduct lawful business in reliance upon the Federal Government also acting pursuant to law, and as ordered by the Ninth Circuit in 2003 and 2004. We will see the Federal Government in court.”

MPP Statement Regarding the Nomination of Sen. Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Marijuana Policy Project released the following statement Friday in response to President-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that he plans to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general.

Statement from MPP Director of Communications Mason Tvert:

“President-elect Trump has said on multiple occasions that he respects states’ right to establish their own marijuana policies. We would expect appointees who serve at the pleasure of the president to stick to the president’s position on this subject. It would certainly be controversial if Sen. Sessions completely defied the president who appointed him.

“The vast majority of Americans agree with President-elect Trump’s position that marijuana policy should largely be left to the states. A huge majority of voters share Trumps support for legal access to medical marijuana, and a steadily growing majority believes marijuana should be legal for adults. We remain hopeful that the incoming administration will refrain from interfering in state laws that were adopted by voters or their elected representatives in order to control marijuana and improve the health and safety of their communities. 

“There is a large and growing sentiment in Congress and among the American public that our federal government should not be wasting tax dollars enforcing failed marijuana prohibition laws. We hope Sen. Sessions or whoever is confirmed as our next attorney general will use federal law enforcement resources to protect our country’s citizens, not to defy the laws those citizens have adopted.”