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Building a Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Pennsylvania: Advice From Attorneys On Starting Your Own Dispensary Legally Grown
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Have you ever dreamed of joining the booming cannabis industry? If so, now is the perfect time to learn about Pennsylvania's medical marijuana dispensary application process, which reopens on May 12, just a few days from now. Check out the following for ways to ensure that your application is detailed and well-rounded! Please note that dispensary applications are limited to individuals who currently hold a grower or processor permit.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is transitioning from traditional paper applications to a new online format; still, familiarizing yourself with the current paper application will prepare you to apply immediately when the time comes.

Here’s how the application process starts:

Region Selection:

Choose from one of six regions in Pennsylvania—Northeast (Allentown, Bethlehem, Stroudsburg, Scranton), Southeast (Lancaster, Conshohocken, Philadelphia), Southcentral (Harrisburg, York, Altoona), Northcentral (State College, Bloomsburg, and Berwick), Southwest (Pittsburgh, Somerset), or Northwest (Erie).

Business Details:

Provide your business name, any trade names, your business address, and the address of your proposed dispensary. If you haven’t yet formed a business or identified a location, you’ll need to establish a corporate entity and secure a potential property, ensuring it meets zoning requirements.


The application uses a point system to assess candidates, beginning with your diversity plan. Be prepared to describe how you will promote diversity within your business—perhaps by appointing a Chief Diversity Officer or hosting diversity-oriented events for employees and customers.

Disclosure of Corporate Structure:

Disclose details about all the principals (e.g., LLC members), financial backers, operators, and employees. For each, include their full name, address, and contact details, and confirm their good moral character. This section is scored on a pass/fail basis.

Operational Plan:

Describe your operational strategies including security, employee training, product transportation and storage, inventory management, sanitation, recordkeeping, prevention of unlawful diversion, and your timetable for becoming operational within six months of receiving your permit. Describe the involvement of medical professionals at your site, or the lack thereof. Again, this section is scored, so pay close attention to it.

Corporate Structure:

Provide details about your corporate structure, EIN, and Pennsylvania unemployment compensation account number; and describe your business operations, demonstrating your capability to operate effectively and sustainably. This is graded on a points system, so be accurate and thorough.

Community Impact:

Explain how your dispensary will positively impact the community, including plans for hosting community events and preventing minors from accessing cannabis products. If you do not yet have events planned or a system in place, strategize one quickly to achieve maximum points!

Opening a dispensary involves meticulous planning and compliance with state regulations. Before diving in, consider all aspects carefully to ensure your success. We are here to guide you through the entire process—from planning and entity formation to lease reviews, zoning approvals, and regulatory compliance. Let us help you turn your cannabis business dream into a reality in Pennsylvania.

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