PENNSYLVANIA – Governor Josh Shapiro has enacted a transformative shift in Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis landscape by signing Senate Bill 773 into law.
According to a report by the Cannabis Business Times, the legislation dismantles previous restrictions that limited retail licenses to just five out of the 25 medical cannabis grower/processor licensees.
Introduced by Sen. Chris Gebhard, the bill addresses concerns of market concentration, a result of limited vertically integrated operators dominating the medical cannabis retail sector.
The amended law not only opens the door for all 25 existing medical cannabis grower/processors to apply for retail licenses but also extends opportunities for independent dispensaries to seek cultivation licenses. Despite these advancements, disappointment echoes as the House’s modifications reduce the number of dispensary licenses for independent growers/processors from two to one.
“That’s certainly frustrating to us because we did a lot of market research and calculations in terms of what we determined should be two permits versus one,” says Sen. Chris Gebhard, R-Lebanon County, adding that the change puts prospective grower/retailers “in a very difficult position long term to compete in the marketplace.”
Nevertheless, the Senate’s concurrence with the House version on December 12 paved the way for Governor Shapiro’s approval. In addition to expanding licensing opportunities, Senate Bill 773 aims to diversify the market by imposing restrictions on the transfer of licenses between entities, fostering a more competitive medical cannabis industry in Pennsylvania.