(Left, Mark Alderman; Right, James Davis — Images courtesy of Cozen O’Conner) 

In an “insanely” competitive and “frenzied” race to obtain one of the 12 available medical marijuana cultivation licenses in the state of Pennsylvania, hundreds of applicants — both wealthy and aspiring –have been pushed into working long days to acquire land and obtain zoning approvals, on top of paying over $1 million in fees before a looming March 20 deadline, reports Philly.com.  

But a number of applicants aren’t in it alone – advisers Mark Alderman and Jim Davis, of the Philadelphia-based law firm Cozen O’Conner, have been working extensively with clients to help them meet the stringent requirements of the application process. Here, they answer a few questions about the state’s MMJ market.

Cannabis Business Times: What are some differences in the Pennsylvania program that set it apart from other states’?

James Davis: Pennsylvania was in the fortunate position to be able to look at many states who had successful and failing programs, and utilize various best practices when drafting. Specifically, Pennsylvania approved 17 qualifying conditions, a significant and necessary aspect to ensure suffering children and adults the access to the medicine they need. Patient and physician participation in the program are absolute necessities for the businesses participating to remain viable. Our neighbors in New York and New Jersey have experienced significant challenges as their programs are implemented, due in large part to a lack of patients being approved by the state.

Pennsylvania is also the first state in the country to create a provision (Chapter 20) that allows for medical schools the opportunity to work closely with grower/processors in various research capacities. Many envision this provision providing the much-needed research, which will be documented and reported to the state, and ultimately shared with the entire medical

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