In another devastating setback to Pennsylvania's medical marijuana research program, all eight growers approved to partner with accredited medical schools have had their applications denied.
According to reports, when the growers announced their partnerships with their respective research programs, a lawsuit was filed by the some of the denied applicants, alleging a pay-to-play scheme and unfair treatment during the selection process.
All eight of the selected growers are backed by billionaire groups that have used their influence to muscle their way to the top of Pennsylvania's medical marijuana program, shutting out all the smaller groups that feel they deserve the same opportunity afforded to the elite eight.
The suit claims that the growers selected would be allowed to compete in the commercial market in addition to research with their accredited partner. Any grower that obtains a license to participate in the research will receive up to six licenses to operate dispensaries.
The selection process for the rest of the medical marijuana businesses in the state was very difficult and approving these eight with such a low barrier of entry did not sit will with the rest of the community. It was this unfair advantage that led to the class action suit facing the state today.
The Department of Health claims that the class action suit had no bearing on the decision to deny the partnerships, and that the issue surrounds the fact that every single application was denied on the basis that the growers did not meet the minimum standards required.
Some of the mistakes that led to the denials included simply leaving out information on the application, to unacceptably low scores in areas concerning growers community impact statements, diversity plans and experience in the field.
Whatever the reason may be, the end result is the same. A major delay for this research program, a first of its kind here in the United States, and a real disappointment to the patients of Pennsylvania who are in desperate need of a non narcotic solution to their pain.