Chester County Entrepreneurs Applying for a Medical Marijuana Dispensary License Should Prepare for High Costs

A jar of consumer grade marijuana at a dispensary in Denver, Colorado--photo via

Prospective owners of medical marijuana dispensaries in Chester County are finding that the application process will be an expensive proposition, writes David Weissman for York Dispatch.

Russ Cersosimo, Director of Strategic Alliances for the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society, said that interested parties should expect to pay up to $1 million if they want to be able to submit a competitive application.

While the state’s application fee of $200,000 will be returned to the submitter if not selected, the additional costs required to complete the process are non-refundable. These will include fees for lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists noted Cersosimo.

Last April, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill that legalized medical marijuana.
Last April, Pennsylvania lawmakers passed a bill that legalized medical marijuana. The costs of doing business in the budding industry are steep, as residents are finding out.

“People don’t realize the financial and time commitment necessary to be successful in this business,” he wrote. “It’s a big undertaking. You’re going to have to quit your job.”

The legislation, signed into law by Governor Wolf in April, will allow for 25 grower/processor licenses, five of which will also allow holders to open up to three dispensaries each. There will also be another 50 dispensing licenses available, each permitting up to three outlets.

Cersosimo added he expects applications to be released in December with investors already chomping at the bit for a chance to step into the budding industry.

Then there’s also the banking issue. On a federal level, cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I drug by the DEA making it federally outlawed. Since banks are federally insured, any business associated with the drug will have problems opening and maintaining accounts. 

Read more about the process at York Dispatch here, and check out previous VISTA Today coverage on medical marijuana here.

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