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dispensary permit

How Do You Get a Dispensary Permit? (The PA Dispensary Application Process Explained)

Medically Reviewed by: Dr. Richard E. Greer, BS, PharmD, RPh

Did you know there are more than 28 million small business in the United States? In fact, small businesses make up 99.7 percent of all U.S. business, according to the Small Business Administration. Solevo Wellness is just one of them. However, operating a medical marijuana business is a bit different than the normal small business.

A permit specifies that the applicant is authorized to begin the process necessary to become operational. The permit is only valid for the person named in the permit and only for the location specified in the permit. In addition, it’s non-transferable to any other person or any other location.

Since marijuana is legal in some states, either medically or recreationally, we must follow many rules and regulations per the Department of Health because it is still illegal federally. Even the smallest mistake could cost us thousands of dollars in one single fine or even our operating permit.

You might be wondering why we are telling you all of this. Here at Solevo, transparency with our patients is a top priority for us. That’s why we’re breaking down every single part of what it takes to operate a medical marijuana dispensary. Over the next few months, we’ll be walking you through the whole process so patients can have a better understanding of the rules, regulations, and steps that all dispensaries must follow in the state.

Part I: The PA Dispensary Application Process Explained

We’ll start with a common question: how do you get a dispensary permit? And what does it take to even consider applying for a medical marijuana permit in Pennsylvania? Well, it’s not simple.

First, it’s important to know that the PA Department of Health will only issue up to 50 dispensary permits in the commonwealth. A dispensary can be awarded more than one permit and have up to 3 locations per permit.

So, How Do You Apply for A Dispensary Permit?

Here is what’s required for the dispensary application process:

1. An applicant must apply for a permit. Once the application is submitted, the PA Department of Health must review the application.

2. In the application, the dispensary must provide certain information about their business. Some of the information that is necessary includes: 

  • A business description of the organization and the activities that the business is involved in
  • The dispensary must prove that they are able to maintain adequate security at their location and maintain control of the business in a way that prevents illegal conduct, diversion, or abuse
  • The dispensary must comply with the location and zoning requirements in their municipality and must provide the proper evidence for it
  • And lastly, the dispensary must present a diversity plan

3. Along with the permit application, the dispensary must provide certain funds in order to successfully submit their permit application. Those funds include:

  • An initial fee of $5,000, which is non-refundable
  • A permit fee of $30,000, which is refundable if the permit is denied
  • Proof of $150,000 in capital

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into applying for a PA medical marijuana dispensary license. However, it doesn’t stop there. Once someone has successfully obtained a permit through the PA Department of Health, there is further training involved. For example, all employees must complete a two-hour training course once awarded a permit. In addition, the department can issue other requirements as permitted by the Act.

What Happens When Awarded A Medical Marijuana Dispensary Permit?

A dispensary is restricted from possessing, dispensing, selling or offering to dispense medical marijuana without first being issued a permit and deemed operational by the Department of Health. It’s also important to know that the qualifications that a dispensary must meet to receive the permit are ongoing. This means that if these requirements are not met, the permit may be revoked.

Like other dispensaries in the state, Solevo has many regulations and requirements we must follow in order to stay operational according to the Department of Health guidelines. It’s an ongoing process for us, and we want to be as transparent as possible with our patients about the process.

What’s Next?

What’s Part II of our series? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we continue to breakdown the Department’s checklist. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter for updates and get in touch with our team anytime!

If you want to follow along as we break down this operational checklist, you can check out the official Dispensary Operational Checklist.