A Pennsylvania House committee has approved a Senate-passed bill that would allow all licensed medical cannabis grower-processors in the state to sell their cannabis products directly to patients, along with an amendment to further permit independent growers and dispensaries to expand their operations.
The House Health Committee passed the legislation from Sen. Chris Gebhard (R) on Monday—about one month after it cleared the GOP-controlled Senate. Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis law currently says that only 25 businesses can be licensed for cannabis growing and processing, and only five of those licensees can sell directly to patients through vertically integrated dispensaries.
That’s created a near-monopoly in the state, giving select out-of-state operators dominance over the industry, and supporters say allowing independent in-state growers to vertically integrate represents a partial remedy. “We were clear in the original statute that the number of vertically integrated businesses… would be limited. It has not turned out to be that way,” Rep. Dan Frankel (D), who chairs the panel, said ahead of the vote. “Instead, we’ve seen dramatic consolidation of the industry, and many of the companies that make medical cannabis products now also own retail stores to distribute those products. Unfortunately, that’s tilted the scales away from the people making products that don’t own dispensaries who can’t find shelf space for their medications.”
Before passing the bill in a vote of 20-5, SH, 773, committee members adopted an amendment reducing the number of permits that could be issued and adding new restrictions on the ability of businesses to sell ownership of their permits.
Read more at marijuanamoment.net