A new Request for Applications has been submitted by the state of Pennsylvania for additional dispensaries and grower/processors. For updated information, read our more recent blog.
If all goes as planned, the state will award 12 of the coveted growing permits by the end of June. An announcement of the winners could come as soon as next week.
Two of those permits are slated for Southeastern Pennsylvania, the state's most populous and potentially most lucrative region, where 51 aspirants are vying to set up growing operations inside warehouses that will be sealed tighter than prisons.
The majority of the applicants are cloaked in mystery. The state issued only a list of company names. It withheld locations of the proposed sites and did not identify the principals involved. The businesses have not had to register with the state. The Department of Health has promised to release details - but only about the winners - when it awards the permits.
Several of the businesses, however, are established entities that operate in other states. Franklin Labs is a partner in the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, N.J.; Palliatech is a publicly traded medical marijuana company based in Massachusetts; Rise Labs principal David Tuttleman is an owner of Matrix NV, a flourishing producer of cannabis in Nevada.
Some of the local aspirants have been public with their intentions and have aligned themselves with established cannabis powerhouses. Snider Health, which wants to build a facility in Northeast Philadelphia, is working with the Clinic, which operates marijuana businesses in Colorado and Illinois. A number of high-profile former sports stars, including Pittsburgh Steelers legend Franco Harris, are seeking roles in Pennsylvania's budding industry.
The SENTEL Group and Surterra Pennsylvania hedged their bets and applied for permits in several Keystone State locations. There is no readily available information about SENTEL online. Surterra appears to run a marijuana farm in Florida.
More than two dozen states and the District of Columbia have passed medical cannabis laws. Four of those jurisdictions - Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and the nation's capital - allow adult recreational use.
Gov. Wolf last year signed a bill that will make medical marijuana available in 2018, when doctors will be able to recommend cannabis-infused oils to patients. Qualifying ailments include autism, cancer, intractable pain, multiple sclerosis, and post-traumatic stress disorder, among a dozen other conditions.
The list of the 400 companies that applied to grow in Pennsylvania can be found here .