The Preclusion for Prior Criminal Convictions in Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Law is Too Broad

In legalizing medical marijuana, the Pennsylvania General Assembly precluded anyone convicted of “any criminal offense related to the sale or possession of illegal drugs, narcotics or controlled substances” from involvement in the industry. This applies to the financial backers, principals and employees of any entity seeking a permit to become a medical marijuana organization. As discussed in the attached article, the categorical preclusion of everyone with a prior drug related conviction – however minor – may sound smart, but in practice will prove less so. The article describes some of the unintended (and bad) consequences of this overly-broad preclusion. It goes on to suggest ways that the Pennsylvania Department of Health can ameliorate at least some of these unintended consequences, as well as a proposed legislative “fix” for the General Assembly.   

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Authors

David M. Laigaie

Member - Philadelphia

Daniel Clearfield

Member - Harrisburg