Pennsylvania medical marijuana licensing process faces legal tests

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Pennsylvania has two legal challenges to deal with regarding licensing decisions for hotly contested medical marijuana business permits.

Two lawsuits were filed Friday against the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana:

  • BrightStar Biomedics is challenging the cultivation license given to Pennsylvania Medical Solutions, a subsidiary of Minnesota-based Vireo Health, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. BrightStar takes exception to the fact two former Vireo employees are under criminal investigation for allegedly smuggling marijuana oil across state lines.
  • Keystone ReLeaf alleges the state’s license application scoring was unfair and seeks an injunction to halt the licensing process.

Legal challenges and lawsuits have become common in states with limited numbers of marijuana-related business licenses, given that applicants often spend enormous amounts of capital in the process and, after failing to win a license, decide to sue.

Those lawsuits can often lead to delays in new marijuana program rollouts, such as in Massachusetts and Maryland.

Pennsylvania’s MMJ program allows for up to 25 cultivation permits – though so far only 12 have been awarded – and 50 dispensary licenses, of which 27 have been handed out.