Bethlehem company seeks to stop 'biased' Pa. marijuana program

Bethlehem company seeks to stop ‘biased’ Pa. marijuana program

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The Pennsylvania Department of Health’s lack of transparency and fundamentally flawed medical marijuana permitting process has rendered an administrative review meaningless, according to a lawsuit filed in the Commonwealth Court Friday by Keystone ReLeaf of Bethlehem. (HARRY FISHER / THE MORNING CALL) Mounting legal challenges to the state’s medical marijuana permitting process threaten to embolden others, leading to significant delays in treatment for patients as previously experienced in states such as Maryland and Florida, advocates fear. At least 140 unsuccessful medical marijuana permit applicants — or one of every three — have filed administrative appeals with the Pennsylvania Department of Health challenging the denials. But the Department’s lack of transparency and fundamentally flawed permitting process has rendered that administrative review meaningless, according to a lawsuit filed in the Commonwealth Court Friday by Keystone ReLeaf of Bethlehem. The suit seeks to halt the medical marijuana program, including the revocation of all grower/processor and dispensary permits issued in June. All permit recipients would be blocked from moving forward with their businesses. Seth Tipton, an attorney with Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader, claimed the Department “arbitrarily and unfairly waived certain legislative requirements for some applicants but not all, made exceptions for certain applicants but not others, inconsistently scored and reviewed applications, and ultimately treated like applicants differently, due to bias, favoritism or otherwise.” One of Tipton’s colleagues, Christian Perrucci, is the managing member of Keystone ReLeaf, according to the lawsuit. While not as broad in scope, Scranton applicant BrightStar BioMedics also filed a injunction request Friday against the Department of Health seeking the repeal of a specific applicant’s permit. It leveled similar criticisms against the Department’s rollout of the medical marijuana program. On Monday, State Rep. Daylin Leach , a Montgomery County Democrat, sent an open letter to Florio Perrucci asking the […]

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