Pennsylvania wraps up medical marijuana research partnerships

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Marijuana multistate operator Parallel will provide $3 million in grants to the University of Pittsburgh to research medical cannabis under a 10-year agreement.

The partnership is the eighth and final of such alliances permitted under Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana rules.

Under the program, the MMJ businesses grow, process and supply marijuana to the research institutions.

In return, the companies are granted a vertically integrated medical cannabis license with the right to open six dispensaries across the state.

Atlanta-based Parallel, formerly Surterra Wellness, said it will operate its Pennsylvania MMJ dispensaries under its new Goodblend retail brand.

If the research produces promising results, it could encourage more physicians to recommend medical marijuana and eventually lead to increased sales in the state.

The University of Pittsburgh medical cannabis research initially will focus on treating sickle cell disease. Subsequent research will address anxiety disorders and chronic pain.

Pennsylvania has emerged as one of the country’s strongest MMJ markets since sales began in early 2018.

The new Marijuana Business Factbook projects that sales will reach $400 million-$500 million this year, up from $225 million-$275 million in 2019.