Unforeseen Demand Leaving PA Medical Marijuana Dispensaries High And Dry

Licensing, Processing Stifling Supply For 51 Dispensaries

Jennifer Bloodworth
March 05, 2018 - 6:19 pm
Medical Marijuana Products

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) — Just two weeks after the start of medical marijuana distribution in Pennsylvania, dispensaries are running out of product.

Only one of twelve licensed wholesalers in the commonwealth is actually providing product to retailers. Cresco Yeltrah was the first to be licensed and begin growing. Supply will increase once other growers-processors can get plants in the ground and products in dispensaries.

Cresco Yeltrah co-founder Trent Hartley told the KDKA Radio Afternoon News Monday that underestimation also played a role.

“I don’t think we anticipated the program patient count being as high as it is,” Hartley explained. “When you look at other states getting off the ground, we’ve exceeded all those numbers.”

Hartley says two more grower-processors should be on-line by the end of the month with product available.  

Until then, it’s a waiting game.

Pennsylvania only allows the medicinal sale of oils, pills, tinctures, topicals, and vaping liquids, but not actual parts of the plant. This further delays the supply by requiring wholesalers to not only grow the plant but process it into legal products that must also go for testing prior to shipment.

Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill closed today after running out of product along with two dispensaries in the Philadelphia area. The shortage comes as the state medical marijuana advisory board is looking at expanding the program.

“I think we’ll be able to hold people over for a good week or so,” Hartley said. “But we do need the other grower-processors on-line.”