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Legalizing medical marijuana in Pennsylvania was quite a challenge. It took a bipartisan effort, months of hearings, and an 80-page bill.
As if passing the law weren’t difficult enough, entities looking to do business in this entirely new and soon-to-be fertile industry have reams of regulations and a litany of licensing requirements to consider as they ponder how to work within the Commonwealth’s complex legal framework.
By early 2017, state Health Department officials hope to have temporary regulations in place for growers/processors, dispensaries, research facilities, doctors and patients.
The future of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania is sunny. As the industry grows and matures and new research gets added to the conversation, more opportunities will open for businesses and consumers alike.
What It Means
While this is great news for those looking to enter the Commonwealth’s newest industry, it also means red tape will become more entwined and dense as laws, regulations, and requirements propagate and expand to accommodate the changes.
As of October 2016, 25 states have legalized some form of medical marijuana, and nine more states have measures related to the issue on the November ballot. Since marijuana is still outlawed at the federal level, however, each state that has approved medical marijuana has its own framework in place to manage the new taxes, enforce new laws, and administer licensing requirements and regulations. This can make the medical cannabis environment rather murky for organizations looking to do business in multiple states.
How Procurement Lobbyists Can Help
Lobbyists, like the ones at Pugliese Associates, have been around for years, helping organizations find new opportunities to do business with the Commonwealth, as well as navigate Pennsylvania’s tricky and complicated procurement policies and vendor acceptance processes. Pugliese employs a procurement specialist, Janine Pappalardo, who is very knowledgeable of procurement policies in the Commonwealth.
As the medical marijuana industry develops in our state, lobbyists are paying close attention to the ever-changing details surrounding the licensing and regulation requirements associated with the industry. Since procurement specialists often work closely with legislative lobbyists, they are often the first ones to know about upcoming changes and/or proposals that could mean the difference between winning business, or not, in the growing medical marijuana industry in PA. In fact, procurement and legislative lobbyists often work hand-in-glove with each other to help lawmakers understand the impact certain decisions could have on vendors, ensuring that all are aware of what is necessary to go to market and cultivate an appropriate supply for new demand.
As the medical marijuana infrastructure begins to take shape in Pennsylvania, consultants will start coming out of the woodwork. Don’t be fooled by novices. While the industry may be young the machination of government is not, so it is still best to have an experienced firm, with long standing relationships, covering your back. Procurement specialists not only monitor the legislature on behalf of their clients, they lobby for them, too. They know the lawmakers. They know the agency leaders. And they know the people who make things work.
If you are planning a growing facility, developing a dispensary, or looking to do work in an ancillary market related to medical marijuana, it isn’t too early to start readying the field.
Contact Pugliese Associates today.