The Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow all of the state’s medical marijuana growers and processors to sell their products directly to patients, with several senators speculating that the bill could — and should — become a vehicle for further opening up the commonwealth’s marijuana laws.
Senate Bill 773, which won wide bipartisan approval 44-3, specifies that all licensed cannabis grower-processors in Pennsylvania also be issued dispensary permits, allowing them to retail their products directly to medical marijuana patients.
Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, enacted in 2016, currently specifies that no more than five of the state’s 25 grower/processor license holders be allowed to also act as dispensaries.
The remainder must sell their products to a retail dispensary which acts as a middleman — but that system has grown into a near-monopoly, according to lawmakers, creating an imbalance which the bill aims to correct.
Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis system is dominated by “just a few corporations who control the vast majority of the retail market,” said Sen. Tim Kearney, D-Delaware County, and independent growers must “sell to the corporate buyers on their terms, or you close your shop.”
Senate Majority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny County, similarly described a “monopoly-type situation with out-of-state, multi-state organizations coming in to the detriment of these independent grower-processors,” that and…