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Legal cannabis has a big future in the Keystone State. Medical cannabis has been legal since 2016 and has been booming. Lawmakers continue to push bills in the House and Senate to legalize weed. The bills intend to meet the high demand for weed for adult users. A large market base would bring in much-needed tax money. If you’re planning on opening a PA pot shop, here’s what you need to know.
Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 to legalize medical cannabis in 2016. Medical patients must have at least one of the listed medical conditions. The Department of Health (DOH) is in charge of running the program. The department issues licenses to all business types available. Under this law, licensed dispensaries can sell medical cannabis products. The law created 50 dispensary licenses and 25 grower licenses. License holders are allowed to open three locations within the state. That means that the total potential store limit could be 150 dispensaries total.
The state limits you to hold only five business permits. You can choose between three business types: growers, processors, or dispensaries. The DOH has issued all medical cannabis licenses for now. If you want to open a shop, you’ll have to wait for legal weed laws. Pennsylvania has a state-store system for selling alcoholic drinks. Lawmakers are hoping to model the recreational program similarly. The state has a couple of legislative bills fighting to legalize the drug. These bills do not model the program on the state-store system for alcohol. Senate Bill 350 allows for an unlimited number of pot licenses. House Bill 2050 artificially caps the number of licenses available at 300.
Not everyone can meet the requirements to apply for a license. The state has certain restrictions on who can and can't receive a store permit. First, applicants should have a good moral character to get a permit. Certain public executives can't apply for a license. You can't apply if you are a doctor or have violated medical cannabis laws. The department denies applicants if they have dealt with addiction issues. Those with a prior drug conviction can't apply for a business license.
Dispensary permits aren’t available at the moment. Knowing the state's application process can help you plan for the future. You don’t have to be a state resident to apply. There are certain requirements you must meet. You have to apply for a permit before dispensing medical cannabis. Then you have to provide the following information:
- Description of business organization and activities
- Ability to maintain effective security and control to prevent theft or loss
- Evidence of local zoning requirements compliance
- Provide a diversity plan
- A criminal history record check of owners, financial backers, and employees
All applicants must complete a two-hour training course to apply. Future dispensary application processes will be similar to this one. Retail stores will be able to hold a delivery and use lounge permits. Use lounge permits would cost $1,000 and $1,000 to renew every year. Weed delivery permits would cost $50 and $50 to renew every year. The state plans to provide business training for minority applicants. The department will train those with prior cannabis criminal convictions.
Dispensary License Fees
Consider these application costs before applying for a license. Dispensary owners must pay a $5,000 non-refundable application fee. On top of that, they must pay a $30,000 fee for each location opened. If rejected, the department will refund the $30,000 to applicants. Dispensary owners must pay an annual $5,000 license renewal fee. Applicants must have a bank account with at least $150,000 of accessible capital. You must pay dispensary fees by certified check or money order. There’s a $250 fee when amending the dispensary application. Changes can indicate relocation or a change of approved activities.
A Bright and Green Future
The state's cannabis market is growing fast with no signs of slowing down. In 2019 alone, the cannabis industry doubled in size. While there are legal weed states with more revenue growth, the numbers are impressive. In 2019, the state brought in $406 million in sales and hired 8,765 full-time weed jobs. The push for legal weed for adults by lawmakers and activists continues. Recreational weed is right around the corner for adult users.
Online Dispensary Training
Anyone can benefit from enrolling in online dispensary training. CTU's training program is the most affordable and thorough around. Learn how to navigate the rules and regulations of the Keystone State. Learn how to develop a business plan and get financial backing. Our program takes you through every aspect of the legal industry. If you're ready to start your own pot business, sign up for CTU today!