While COVID-19 walloped many sectors of the economy with stay-at-home orders, shutdowns and layoffs, the medical marijuana industry appears to be booming, with the overall market doubling in size since February.
“As of now, the market is $1.3 billion, with sales from (growers/processors) to dispensaries more than $528 million and sales from dispensaries to patients close to $800 million,” said Nate Wardle, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. “For comparison, as of Feb. 10, the total sales were just under $700 million, with $282 million from (growers/processors) to dispensaries and sales from dispensaries to patients at approximately $415 million.”
Pennsylvania joined the ranks of states providing a medical marijuana program with a bill signed by Gov. Tom Wolf in April 2016. The program came online with deliveries to patients about two years later.
The state initially counted 17 serious conditions that could be treated with marijuana following doctor approval, though that list has since been expanded to 23. Wardle said Friday that the top three medical conditions in the state cited to receive a prescription for medical marijuana are chronic pain, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The law allows for a maximum of 25 grower/processors in Pennsylvania, as well as up to 50 licenses for dispensaries. Each dispensary may have up to three locations, for total of 150 dispensing sites.
Wardle said Friday that as of August 14, some 366,146 patients and 1,968 physicians have registered with the state. There are currently 1,416 approved practitioners and 231,760 active certifications, he said, though the state is seeking more pediatric specialists to be approved practitioners.
“More than 120,000 patients are visiting a dispensary each week, this is up from 73,000 in February,” said Wardle. “Weekly purchases are close to 370,000 products, up from 178,000 in