Marijuana Law, Policy & Reform

Editor: Douglas A. Berman
Moritz College of Law

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Advice to would-be Keystone cannabis counselors: "It's really here, it's really lucrative and it's really tricky."

The Legal Intelligencer, a Pennsylvania law-oriented publication, has this lengthy new article headlined "Marijuana Law: Protecting Your Client and License," and its great first sentence is the quoted portion of my post title. Here is how the effective article gets started:

Joining 23 states and the District of Columbia, legalized medical cannabis has come to Pennsylvania in the form of the Medical Marijuana Act, signed into law on April 17 and set to take effect May 16.

At that point, 80 percent of America's population will have some form of legalized marijuana access, the 2016 sales of which Fortune Magazine estimates to exceed $6.7 billion (a 25 percent increase of 2015's $5.4 billion).

Because of the law's breadth and the state's demographics, Pennsylvania is poised to be legalized ­marijuana's next hot spot.  Specifically, the Medical Marijuana Act enumerates 17 "serious medical conditions" eligible for ­marijuana prescriptions encompassing autism and sickle cell anemia alongside the more traditionally covered ailments such as cancer, epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder.

By cutting such a wide swath, the act invites high program participation, particularly in light of Pennsylvania's huge ­potential patient base.

Further, unlike New Jersey and other states severely limiting the number of issued licenses, the Medical Marijuana Act authorizes 25 grow/processing licenses and 50 dispensary licenses, each of which empowers the licensee to open three locations for up to 150 dispensaries.

This column explores legal issues confronting the cannabis industry, starting with the big enchilada.  Regardless of the law of 24 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana is still 100 percent illegal under federal law.

Business laws and regulatory issues, Medical Marijuana Commentary and Debate, Medical Marijuana State Laws and Reforms | Permalink


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