On August 18, 2016, the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health (“DOH”), Dr. Karen Murphy, announced that the DOH has posted draft temporary regulations (“Regulations”) focusing on the 25 medical marijuana grower/processor permits that will become available under Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act (“Act”) that was passed last April.

The Regulations state the general application requirements for medical marijuana organizations, which requirements include detailed information about principals and financial backers of such organizations. Medical marijuana organizations include not just grower/processors, but also clinical registrants and dispensaries. The application requirements also contain a clear commitment to foster diversity. The Regulations establish procedures for promoting and ensuring that medical organizations foster diversity through participation of diverse groups in all aspects of the medical organization’s operations. This includes but is not limited to requiring each organization to have a diversity plan. Diverse groups are defined under the Regulations as “disadvantaged business[es], minority-owned business[es], women-owned business[es], service-disabled veteran-owned small business[es] or veteran-owned small business[es] that ha[ve] been certified by a third-party certifying organization.”

The Regulations also contain specific requirements for grower/processor permits. Application forms for permits will be posted on the DOH website in the future. Among the requirements is that a grower/processor notify DOH within six months of being issued an initial permit that it is ready, willing and able to begin production.

The Regulations prohibit executive level employees of the Commonwealth and their immediate family members from being employed by or holding an interest in medical marijuana organizations while employed by the Commonwealth and for one year thereafter.

The Regulations are not final and are open for public comment until August 26, 2016.

Although Pennsylvania joins 23 other states and the District of Columbia to legalize medical marijuana, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, and as such it remains a crime under federal law to grow, sell and/or use marijuana. Any content contained herein is not intended to provide legal advice in connection with the violation of any state or federal law. Although the Act provides for the legalization of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, one should obtain legal advice with respect to any such compliance issues.