All the indications seem to point out that state regulators did not anticipate the demand for medical marijuana accurately enough to ensure that enough growers of this product would be available.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the state’s medical marijuana program is a victim of its own success.
The state currently accounts for 25 grower-processors but their production is not able to keep up with demand for high quality marijuana flowers.
Governor Wolf legalized medical marijuana in Pennsylvania in 2016 and on February 15, 2018 it became available for patients at dispensaries across the commonwealth. Since then the industry has grown, with dozens of dispensaries opening including one in Erie.
However, many patients looking to fill their prescriptions are having trouble finding what they need. The shortage of popular strains has forced consumers to wait up to six weeks for a product that works for them.
Market President at Green Thuma Industries, Tim Hawkings says that the high demand for the marijuana flower exceeded expectations.
“If we had anticipated this demand, the state probably would’ve asked more growers to be up and running from the beginning,” says Hawkins.
Laura Gunchon , who works as Vice president of Project Management for Calypso Enterprises in Erie, thinks that medical marijuana needs to be considered just like any other medicine.
“When you go to the pharmacy you expect your medicine is going to be there,” she explains. “It’s the same thing when you to a dispensary you find a product that works for you.”
Preventing a supply shortage is exactly what calypso is trying to do.
The company only serves western Pennsylvania making sure there’s enough product to go around.
“We want them to be able to go back when they need to and find that same Calypso product on the shelf again,” says Gunchon. “If they can’t get it it reflects poorly on our business”.
In the meantime, it is the hope of many consumers of this new product on the Pennsylvania legal market that the details of production will be worked out so that the medicinal benefits of marijuana can be accessed.