How to Open a Dispensary in Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania legalized medical cannabis in 2016. The state’s medical cannabis program is expected to be immensely successful. The following will tell you everything you need to know about opening a dispensary in the state of Pennsylvania.

Legalization in Pennsylvania

In 2016 Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law, legalizing medical cannabis in the state of Pennsylvania. The law allows qualified patients to use cannabis for their own medical use. The law allows for up to 25 Growers/Processors and 150 dispensaries.

When was cannabis made legal in Pennsylvania

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The SB3 includes provisions for the medical use of cannabis in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It allows for the consumption and possession of medical marijuana for registered patients suffering from qualified medical conditions.

 Cannabis Market in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania will offer 27 dispensary licenses. This will then become 50. Each one will then expand to a maximum of 3 locations, for a total of 150 storefronts in the first allocation period). However, no dispensaries operate currently in the state.

Licensing Requirements

Pennsylvania is only one of the latest states to legalize medical cannabis. Currently, no dispensaries are operating in the state, but this will of course be changing soon. Pennsylvania’s cannabis law also includes protections for medical cannabis users against being terminated from their jobs for their medical use.

Pennsylvania includes 17 medical conditions which allow medical use, including PTSD. Special regulations were issued to allow for minors to get permission to obtain cannabis out of state and bring it into the state. as of October 2016, 50 of these applications have been approved..

License requirements

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Currently, the state is limiting the number of dispensary licenses that they will distribute to 50 and also is not allowing a single person to have more than 5 permits. Each license grants owners the right to open up to 3 dispensaries under their name by submitting an initial nonrefundable application fee of $5,000.

Additionally, a fee of $30,000 for each location, must be submitted with the application. This fee will be returned if the permit is not granted. There is also an annual renewal fee of $5,000. You’ll also need to have plenty of money left over after paying these fees. The state requires proof of $150,000 in the applicant’s bank account before a license is granted.

Financial Requirements

You can expect the following fees when applying for a license et al.:

Fees for Dispensary licensees:

  • $5,000 non-refundable application fee
  • $30,000 registration fee – submit with application; refunded if not granted a license
  • $5,000 renewal fee
  • $150,000 required in capital by the Department on deposit with a financial institution
  • $250 relocation or modification of activities fee

Vertical integration – both Grower/Processor and Dispensary:

  • Must apply for each license separately, with each individual fee
  • Up to 5 vertically integrated entities may be licensed

Clinical Registration– Vertical integration with academic clinical research affiliation:

  • $15,000,000 required in capital by the Department

Note that all capital required by the Department must be verifiably available at the time of the application. All costs associated with preparing for the application, including early real estate costs, are added to these fees.

What are My Expected Profits?

Expected medical sales could possibly reach $227.4 million dollars by 2021. Though the state does not currently have any medical dispensaries operating, this is certainly an operation that you would do well to get in on, especially if you have the means to do so.



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As with starting any business, starting a cannabis dispensary in Pennsylvania can take some time. You should allow for a year or more to obtain your license, get your funds together and find suitable employees.

 Consulting Companies

The following firms can help with things like acquiring a business license, finding permits, advising you on local laws, and everything else you need to know to open a cannabis dispensary in Pennsylvania.


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