Medical Marijuana in PA: What Happens Next?

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

On April 17, 2016, Gov. Tom Wolf signed the medical marijuana bill into law, making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. Even though the legislation has been passed, there is still much to be done before medical marijuana is up and running. The Health Department estimates it will take between 18 and 24 months to implement the new law. However, there are some allowances for parents to legally administer medical marijuana to children under special circumstances in the meantime. In order to effectively implement and oversee this new legislation, the Pennsylvania state government has created the Medical Marijuana Bureau and is currently accepting applications for the director position. The Bureau will be in charge of all aspects surrounding medical marijuana, from growing, processing, dispensing and even regulating which doctors and patients will have access to the medication. Currently, the Health Department is working with medical marijuana experts and consultants from all over the United States to figure out what will work best for our state. While legislators are figuring out the small details, businesses in the state are starting to look for land to begin their medical marijuana operations. However, this is easier said than done. Local municipal offices and zoning codes are a huge hurdle that have yet to be addressed by the legislation. Zoning codes will determine where growers, processors and dispensaries can be located and many of these codes will have to be changed to allow for this new industry. Consulting firms are already dealing with the legal side of zoning for these new marijuana businesses. These businesses and consulting firms are being met with mixed reviews in various counties and municipalities. Some areas are eager to streamline this process due to the potential for an influx of jobs and industry, while others are looking to block these businesses from their area. Although at this moment we still have little with regards to information on this topic, the next few months and years will tell what route medical marijuana will take in Pennsylvania and how the public will respond. If want to remain informed about changes and updates surrounding medical marijuana in Pennsylvania please turn to www.governor.pa.gov. This website will help you understand the future of medical marijuana in the state of Pennsylvania. If you are concerned about your rights or the rights of your loved ones when it comes to the issue of medical marijuana, please contact the experienced legal advocates at the law office of Scartelli Olszewski, P.C. We are here and happy to help with any questions or concerns you may have.