Pennsylvania court hits pause on medical marijuana research program

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A first-of-its-kind medical cannabis research program was halted at least temporarily when a Pennsylvania court issued an injunction preventing eight universities from solidifying deals with companies that want to grow and dispense MMJ.

A group of licensed MMJ companies in Pennsylvania filed suit last month to stop the program, arguing that it would “flood the market with medical marijuana” because each company that won a university contract would be allowed to cultivate MMJ and open six dispensaries, the Tribune-Review reported.

According to the suit, the contracts would allow competitors of MMJ licensees to bypass the permitting process and strike deals directly with the eight schools, which, in turn, would give them direct access to the state’s cannabis market.

In mid-May, the state announced the eight schools it had chosen to participate in the research program.

This week, Judge Patricia McCullough agreed to stop the program until she can hear oral arguments in the case, according to the Tribune-Review.

A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Health – which oversees the MMJ program – said the state is “evaluating our legal options” but will continue to support the research initiative.