Until March 20, 2017, the Pennsylvania Department of Health (the “DOH”) will be accepting applications from companies seeking permits as Grower/Processors and/or Dispensaries of medical marijuana in Pennsylvania. Among other things, these applications require that the applicant raise substantial funding. To do so, certain applicants have been seeking investment from physicians. If you receive such a request, we encourage you to consult with a knowledgeable attorney before contributing funds to or agreeing to purchase securities in such a company.
It is important to note that the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Act prohibits any physician from holding a direct or economic interest in a Grower/Processor or a Dispensary, if such physician is registered with the DOH to certify the use of medical marijuana by his or her patients. [See Section 402(a)(2) of the Pennsylvania Marijuana Act, accessible here: Section 402]. The DOH has not yet begun accepting applications from physicians for registration to certify the use of medical marijuana, and will not do so prior to granting permits to Grower/Processors and Dispensaries. Therefore, any physician considering ownership in a Grower/Processor or Dispensary should carefully consider whether he or she would rather be registered to certify the use of medical marijuana by patients in Pennsylvania.
It should also be noted that the DOH will be issuing regulations regarding physician registration and certification of the use of medical marijuana sometime later this year or in early 2018. These regulations may provide further restrictions on ownership of Grower/Processors or Dispensaries by licensed physicians in Pennsylvania.
Stay tuned to the Fox Rothschild Physician Law Blog for further updates on this topic.