The medical cannabis industry in Pennsylvania is currently thriving, recently passing a half a billion dollars in sales since the program began almost 2 years ago. The sales figures were recently announced by John Collins, the director of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana, at an advisory board meeting.
As of this writing, there are 72 medical cannabis dispensaries in the Keystone State, and 147,000 patients are certified to purchase the plant medicine. There are approximately 65,000 visits that patients make to the 72 dispensaries weekly, with the average purchase being around $120. More than half – around 60 percent – of medical cannabis purchases made in Pennsylvania have been for pain-related issues, which tends to be typical for most states with medical cannabis programs.
The state’s medical cannabis program was implemented in 2016, first covering conditions like cancer, chronic pain, and PTSD. Earlier this year, Pennsylvania expanded qualifying conditions under its medical cannabis program, covering patients with both autism and anxiety. As the program expands to cover more patient conditions, sales will only continue to increase.
Demand for medical cannabis was high from the moment the state’s program began in February of 2018, with dispensaries underestimating how much product they would sell and experiencing shortages only a few short weeks after opening. In addition to the expansion of qualifying patient conditions, there have been other advancements in the cannabis market in PA. Earlier this fall, the state’s first cannabis labor union was formed, which includes over 30 employees of production and laboratory facilities.
As the demand for medical cannabis in Pennsylvania continues to be high, there has been much talk and speculation of legalizing the plant for adult-use as well. In December of 2018, Governor Tom Wolfe said that it was time for a ‘serious look’ at legalizing adult-use cannabis. In March of this year, state senators sought support for a bill that would have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes. Nothing has yet come out of these bills or interests, but it’s clear that many state residents and lawmakers are ready to legalize cannabis for adult use.
Even though complications for dispensaries nationwide will continue, such as restricted access to banking, demand does not seem to be slowing down, at least in Pennsylvania. As the 2020 election season is less than a year away, legalizing cannabis will continue to be a hot button topic. There is a great deal of interest in both potential jobs and tax revenue that come along with legal cannabis.