Dad. Recreational and medical marijuana laws in 2024

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A comprehensive bipartisan bill was introduced last year, co-sponsored by Senator Dan Laughlin, a Republican representing Erie, and Senator Sharif Street, a Democrat representing Philadelphia. The Pennsylvania Legislature operates on a two-year cycle, so bills can remain in effect for that long.

The bipartisan bill would legalize marijuana for adult use, ban marketing to children, create a state regulatory board and social equity program, and impose an 8% sales tax in addition to a 5% excise tax on dispensary sales, among other things.

“We are negotiating what the form and function of adult use will look like. I think most people recognized that Pennsylvania is moving toward adult recreational use,” Street said. “I am cautiously optimistic that an amendment will be passed and there is a good chance that a bill will be passed this session. We have not yet fully agreed on the entire wording of the bill.”

In July 2023, the bill was referred to the Law and Justice Committee.

Sen. Mike Regan, a York County Republican, chairs the Law and Justice Committee. Regan has publicly supported marijuana reform and recreational legislation, but has not scheduled the bipartisan bill for a hearing.

Meanwhile, a companion bill to legalize marijuana for adults was introduced in the House of Representatives by state Rep. Amen Brown, a Democrat from Philadelphia. It was referred to the Health Committee.

State Rep. Dan Frankel, a Democrat who serves Allegheny County, chairs the Health Committee. Although Representative Frankel supports legalizing adult use, his committee has not held a hearing on Brown’s bill.

“We wanted to take a very deliberate approach in the health committee to do this, so we’ve now had six hearings on this issue,” Frankel said, “to hopefully avoid some of the mistakes we’ve seen in other states.”

Instead, Frankel expects to introduce his own adult-use marijuana legislation for consideration in the coming weeks, which could be referred to the same committee he chairs.

Another issue at stake involves smoke shops taking advantage of a legal loophole and selling hemp-derived Delta-8 THC products, which are unregulated in Pennsylvania. These products “undermine the medical marijuana market and would pose a problem in the adult-use market in the future,” he said.

Frankel was also concerned about the quality of a social equity program that forced independent pharmacies to compete with multi-state incumbents, while startup costs were high and existing medical pharmacies could easily sell adult-use products immediately.

“It’s going to be very difficult in the long run to prevent vertical integration of this industry, similar to what we’ve seen in the tobacco industry. I think it will eventually consolidate,” he said. “The idea that there will be many independent players in the market is unrealistic.”

Frankel proposed directing the revenue to communities hardest hit by the criminalization of marijuana and creating more laboratory testing for marijuana products to ensure safety.

“I think there is a grudging feeling that this has to happen now, whether (all Republicans) end up voting for it or not.”

Buettner of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition, an industry advocacy group, said she is optimistic this year will be “the closest we get to adult-use legislation.”

“I think it’s more likely that the House will take this issue up and get a vehicle through committee,” she said.

If a recreational marijuana bill moves through the state Legislature, Gov. Josh Shapiro said he would sign it into law.

How much does medical marijuana cost in Pa.?

The cost of selling medical marijuana has fallen from $14.90 per gram in 2021 to $8.26 in 2024.

The average cost for an eighth of an ounce of medical marijuana – a common amount – is between $40 and $50. For edible medical marijuana products, it costs between $20 and $40 for a pack of 10 gummies or dissolvable pills.

Buettner of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition attributed the price reduction as multi-faceted: increased supply, larger and more experienced grow operations and more customers in the market.

Is there a Dad? medical marijuana dispensary near me?

There are 181 medical marijuana dispensaries and 32 medical marijuana growers and processors statewide.

Zoning restrictions limit where pharmacies can operate, even within the city of Philadelphia.

How much is marijuana taxed in Pa.?

For patients, there is no tax on the sale of medical marijuana.

The state collects 5% of the gross revenue from the sale of medical marijuana from the grower or processor to the dispensary. That wouldn’t change with any recreational marijuana proposal.

Gov. Shapiro has included recreational marijuana in his budget for the past two years with an estimated tax rate of 20%. But the current proposed recreational marijuana bill in the Legislature would impose an 8% sales tax, in addition to a 5% excise tax, for a total of 13%.

Industry attorney Buettner said an effective tax rate of 13% is feasible given what surrounding states are asking for, and that there would be room for local municipalities to add their own taxes without scaring off consumers.

“We want to try to bring back to Pennsylvania those consumers that we already know are leaving the state to purchase cannabis,” she said.

Can you in Pa. be hired or fired for using medical marijuana?

The law, passed in 2016, bans a number of employment protections for patients, preventing employers from refusing to hire or fire individuals based on their status as a medical marijuana patient. But employers are allowed to enforce rules surrounding use at work.

Can you do it at home in Pa. growing medical marijuana plants?

)aNo. It is a crime to grow marijuana as an individual in Pennsylvania. Violators face a $15,000 fine and jail time.