The Pennsylvania Capitol Building lit up with green lights to celebrate the House passage of the state's medical cannabis law in 2016.

Governor Tom Wolf

Lawsuit Threatens to Delay MMJ Rollout in Pennsylvania

A lawsuit by one of the Pennsylvania companies not chosen for a medical cannabis license could shut down the program before it’s implemented, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Keystone ReLeaf LLC is seeking an injunction against the state Department of Health, alleging that the licensing awards process was “arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable.”

The company applied for one of 12 cultivation licenses and one of 27 dispensary licenses and was not chosen for either. According to the report, court documents indicate that the company missed the state application deadline by two days. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Keystone by Seth Tipton, a partner in the law firm Florio, Perrucci, Steinhardt & Fader. Christian M. Perrucci is also a partner at the firm in addition to serving as a managing member of the rejected medical cannabis company. Further, the plaintiffs argue that the selection process was “infected by bias and favoritism” and that the Health Department panelists were kept secret and the state Office of Open Records has ruled that the panelists must be named.

In response to the lawsuit, state Sen. Daylin Leach, the prime sponsor of the state’s medical cannabis law, said if the suit moves forward it could results in the deaths of “hundreds” of citizens, citing a National Institute on Drug Abuse study with the RAND Corporation that found states with comprehensive and active medical cannabis programs see a 25 percent reduction in opioid-related deaths.

Steve Schain of Hoban Law Group, a cannabis-focused law firm in Colorado, told the Inquirer that while the suit raises “many factual points,” Keystone “has fallen short of establishing they’ve been irreparably harmed.”

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