With the application deadline for businesses seeking to obtain medical marijuana licenses under Pennsylvania’s newly-enacted Medical Marijuana Act tentatively scheduled for January 2017, it may seem like you have plenty of time to fill out a couple of forms and get in line. However, the truth of the matter is that applying for a license to start a cannabis-based business in Pennsylvania is going to be a cumbersome process, and entrepreneurs who are considering filing an application will be well-served to get started as soon as possible.
While the Pennsylvania Department of Health is still in the process of developing regulations for what is widely expected to be a thriving medical marijuana industry in the state, there is a lot that has already been decided. As a starting point, you can read the text of the Medical Marijuana Act on the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s website. In addition, here are some important first steps for anyone planning to file for a medical marijuana business license in Pennsylvania:
Preparing to File for a Medical Marijuana Business License in Pennsylvania
1. Make Sure You Are Eligible.
Under the Medical Marijuana Act, there are a number of factors that can cause a person to be disqualified from applying for a license. These include:
• Lack of good “moral character”
• Prior conviction for the sale or possession of a controlled substance
• Prior violation of the Medical Marijuana Act
• Prior legal issues involving marijuana in another state
• Employment as an executive public employee, officer, or official within the past year
• Family relation to a disqualified current or former public employee
In addition, physicians are automatically disqualified from owning or directly investing in any business that grows, processes, or dispenses medical marijuana.
In order to start a medical marijuana business, you will also need to demonstrate that you have secured adequate initial funding and that you have the financial wherewithal to sustain your business and secure it against illegal activity. The filing and permit fees alone amount to $25,000.
2. Prepare a Business Plan.
Once you determine that you are eligible to start a medical marijuana business, it is time to write a business plan. Your plan should address, among other things, the Act’s financial requirements and the expectation that Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana laws and regulations will change as the industry develops over time. Due to the complexities involved, most medical marijuana entrepreneurs and investors will want to work closely with an attorney to develop a business plan that addresses these issues in a way that will satisfy Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana regulators.
3. Address the Other Legalities Involved in Forming a New Business Now
When starting any new business, there are a number of legalities involved. Starting a business in the medical marijuana industry is no exception. In addition to forming a new business entity and applying for your medical marijuana business license, there will likely be other permitting and licensing requirements as well. Then, there are trademark issues, the need to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), the need to establish new banking and credit facilities, and the various formalities involved in making sure that your personal assets are shielded from liability. Plus, don’t forget about business insurance.
In short, there is a lot you need to do before you can hit the ground running.
Resources for Medical Marijuana Business License Applicants in Pennsylvania: LegallyRooted.org
If you are planning to start a medical marijuana business in Pennsylvania, in addition to reviewing the information on our website, we also encourage you to visit LegallyRooted.org. Our firm sponsors Legally Rooted, and there you will find numerous resources on the Medical Marijuana Act and starting a medical marijuana business in Pennsylvania.
For More Information, Contact The Slocum Firm Today
Of course, you can also contact us for a consultation, and our attorneys will be happy to meet with you to discuss your legal needs. To schedule an appointment, call our Scranton, PA law offices at (570)209-7376 or contact us online today.