Understanding Pennsylvania’s Complex Legal Weed Laws

Compared to other states, PA medical marijuana laws might just be some of the most complex ones you’ll ever encounter. And we’re not kidding when we say that. There are just so many details that you need to pay attention to or else you’ll risk breaking the law.

Complicated laws aren’t really a rare thing in the United States but PA definitely takes it to the next level. In this article, we’ll be discussing the complicated weed law in PA.

Medical Marijuana Program in PA

Medical marijuana was legalized in the state back in 2016. Just like every other state, those who have qualifying conditions are legally allowed to get their own medical marijuana card which allows them to buy MMJ from dispensaries.

Currently, there are over 21 conditions and patients are applying by the thousands. What’s amazing is that there are just over 400 doctors out of 56,000 in the state that are qualified to recommend marijuana to patients.

One main obstacle that limits the number of doctors getting approved is that they don’t have the time to go through a four-hour training program. Most of them think that the entire process is just not worth their time.

The disparity between the number of doctors available to the number of patients wanting to get approved is so big that it might actually take more time waiting for a doctor’s appointment than waiting for you medical marijuana card if ever you get approved.

But lucky for patients, the MMJ program made sure to help these patients out by providing a list of approved doctors in the PA state website. Surely, patients know just how much time is saved with a list to go through.

Complex Parts of the Law

It’s not exactly easy understanding where the PA marijuana law comes from, especially for the side of businesses. In the first phases of their business from the point of getting approved, they are already faced with lots of deadlines.

Deadlines

One of these deadlines is that in a span of six months, these dispensaries and growers should already be up and running for business. This might seem possible for dispensaries, but for growers, it sounds like a crazy dead-end.
Planting and growing these plants go through a really tough process of making sure they’re excellent by the time inspectors come around. And when these growers encounter bumpy rides along the way, dispensaries are also affected.

University-based Research Centers

Another difficult part of the law is that it allows universities to create their own research centres for cannabis. But despite being allowed to do so, these research centres can only use cannabis grown in government-designated areas in Mississippi.

They can’t use marijuana that’s grown in PA, only the ones approved by the government. If they fail to do so, they could be at risk.

But this is often confused with the idea that these universities will grow marijuana and open their own dispensaries. Doing such a thing puts the entire institution in jeopardy, not just their funding because after all, marijuana is still a Schedule I drug.

No Growing at Home

Only those with licenses can grow medical marijuana, which makes it illegal for residents to grow their own supply of marijuana in their backyard.

If you grow marijuana at home, you can be fined up to $15,000 and be jailed for 2.5 to 5 years in prison. Even if you don’t plan to sell it to other people, you’ll still be found guilty of disobeying the law.

Impact of Recreational Marijuana

While talks of recreational marijuana don’t exactly lead to a clear path right now, it’s still going to change the game in the state.

Its first impact would be the influx of people buying marijuana for whatever they want to use it for. But the important aspect here is that those with conditions not included in the list will have access to marijuana itself.
Another important factor would be the lessened need for doctors to recommend patients for the drug. A lot of these doctors don’t really support medical marijuana and that’s made an impact on the number of available doctors who actually do.

With full legalization, patients no longer need approval by the doctor because they can just march right on to the doors of dispensaries. But of course, patients are always prioritized.

PA doesn’t seem like a much different state compared to other states with stricter laws. For sure, this will be completely different if marijuana will be fully legalized in the state. For now, some aspects of the law can be quite confusing, even for institutions.

What’s important is that you remind yourself of your limits and always double-check the actions you take whenever it’s about medical marijuana.

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