Philadelphia Vying For License to Grow and Process Medical Marijuana


Pennsylvania’s relatively young medical marijuana program is continuing to grow and expand. Now, with Philadelphia vying for a license to grow and process medical marijuana, the legal cannabis industry could be on the verge of moving into the City of Brotherly Love.

Philly Wants to Grow Medical Marijuana

Pennsylvania is poised to issue another round of permits for medical marijuana growers and processors. The state of Pennsylvania issued its first round of permits last year, but Philadelphia didn’t get any of them. This time around, the state will reportedly give out 13 new licenses. And the city of Philadelphia wants in on the action.

According to local news outlet WPVI-TV, Philadelphia city leaders are pushing hard to obtain one of the forthcoming grower/processor permits.

As the state’s medical marijuana program unfolds, cities like Philadelphia have doubled their efforts to attract cannabis business. For many leaders in Philadelphia, it’s all about the economy.

“I think it is important that we raise this voice and raise this issue, as we try to combat poverty in our city,”said Philadelphia City Councilman Derek Green.


He added: “And we believe with this growing industry of medical cannabis, this is a real opportunity to provide economic development opportunities here.”

State Representative Jordan Harris took it a step further. He voiced his own particularly strong support of medical marijuana. In particular, he likes the idea of Philadelphia being able to move into the industry.

In recent comments, he praised the medical marijuana industry. He also reminded city residents and officials that the industry is expected to see rapid growth in immediate the future.

“We should be looking at not only do we want to have one in Philadelphia, we want to have all of the ancillary business that comes with it,” Rep. Harris said. “And we want to begin to train our young people on how to cultivate and how to grow and how [to] do so legally because this is the industry of the future.”


A Bid for Bud in the City of Brotherly Love

Philadelphia’s bid to obtain growing and processing permits is the latest development in Pennsylvania’s evolving cannabis laws.

The state legalized medical marijuana in 2016. In April of that year, Governor Tom Wolf signed a new bill into law making Pennsylvania the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana.

From there, it took some time for the program to become operational. In fact, Pennsylvania didn’t approve a growing facility until the fall of 2017. A few months later, in January 2018, the first medical marijuana dispensary in Pennsylvania opened for business.

Under current laws, patients can only access and use non-smokable forms of cannabis. However, a move to change that is currently underway. Beginning in March, Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board was tasked with looking into the possibility of expanding the medical marijuana program to include smokable flower.

In April, the Board voiced its support of the change. But before dispensaries can begin selling flower, the proposal must first be approved by other lawmakers and agencies.

Applications for the phase two licensing round must be postmarked by May 17th. Find more information about Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program on the state website.

Marijuana Legalization Effort in Connecticut Is Running Out of Time

The marijuana legalization effort in Connecticut is running out of time, as this year’s legislative session winds to a close this week. Lawmakers have until May 9 to pass a bill pending in the House of Representatives.

But that doesn’t seem likely, according to local media. Both the House and the Senate have other bills more likely to gain lawmakers’ attention.

Last month, the House Appropriations Committee voted 27-24 to support the measure and send it to the full House. If passed, the bill alone would not technically legalize cannabis. But it would direct several state agencies to form a plan to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana in the state. The law also includes provisions for the creation of substance abuse prevention, treatment, and awareness programs.

At that time, House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz did not commit to bringing the measure up for a vote by the full body.


“While the bill was passed by the Appropriations Committee,” he said, “it is still early in the process and I expect we will have continued discussions within the caucus before it can be determined if it will be called for a vote in the House.”

However, the Speaker did indicate that the legislature needs to act on the matter.

“This is one of those tough crossover issues that brings both a social and economic aspect with it, and with a number of states in the region having either already approved legalization and regulation, or are trending this way, it’s clearly something that deserves to be looked at,” he said.

Activists Demonstrate at State Capitol

In an effort to spur action on the legislation, cannabis advocates demonstrated at the Capitol in Hartford on Sunday. At the rally, protestors chanted slogans and carried signs with messages including “Cannabis Heals” and “Weed Deserve a Vote.”

The state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) organized the demonstration. Avery Press, a spokesperson for Connecticut NORML, said the activists hoped the legislature makes the bill a priority.



“Our mission with this rally is to bring attention to HB 5394 and educate the community about cannabis legalization, so they can urge their legislators to vote favorably, on this issue before the end of the session,” Press said.

The activists also hope to change people’s perceptions about cannabis.

“We’re not just stoners,” Press said. “We’re here today to try and break that stigma. The majority of people want legalization in this state and we are hoping our voices are being heard today by the legislators.”

Keith Wainwright of Stratford was one of the demonstrators at the rally. He believes that the legalization of marijuana is a matter of fairness.

“I just don’t get it,” Wainwright said. “You can buy a pack of cigarettes and right on the pack it has a message saying: “Warning: cigarette smoking can kill you – but it’s perfectly legal to smoke cigarettes. It’s perfectly legal to drink alcohol which also can be harmful.”