As PA rewrites medical cannabis research law, operators weigh new litigation

Commercial cannabis growers and dispensary operators are weighing their legal options in response to a newly rewritten Pennsylvania law around medical marijuana research.

HB 2477, recently signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, allows the state’s medical schools to partner with marijuana cultivators of their choosing to generate data for pharmacological research, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

According to the newspaper, the newly rewritten law:

  • Enables Pennsylvania’s MMJ research program to move forward.
  • Requires the state health department to draft new research regulations.
  • Circumvents a lawsuit filed by commercial MMJ licensees.

Cultivators – or clinical registrants, as they’re referred to in the law – that work with medical schools will be granted one of eight “super licenses” that allow them to open up to six dispensary locations. That’s twice the number of storefronts that commercial dispensary licensees are allowed to open.

The bill’s opponents – including those who filed the original lawsuit against the state – are weighing their litigation options and waiting for Pennsylvania’s health department to issue new regulations for HB 2477, said Judith Cassel, the lead attorney for the cultivators and dispensaries.

Cassel told Marijuana Business Daily that commercial MMJ businesses in the Keystone State want the new regulations to:

  • Issue research-only permits.
  • Define what constitutes medical research.
  • Prevent pay-for-play by creating transparent financial disclosure processes.
  • Require clinical registrants to go through the same permitting processes as commercial applicants.

Cassel added that she’s concerned because the department’s new regulations will bypass the state’s Independent Regulatory Review Commission.

Joey Peña can be reached at [email protected]

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