When medical marijuana patients go to a dispensary, they might not be able to get what they're looking for. Pennsylvania dispensaries are experiencing a shortage of dry leaf or flower marijuana. state certified growers are simply not able to keep up with ever-increasing demand.
"The deliveries have not decreased in size, but as they come in they've been going out very quickly. And a lot quicker. We'll get weekly deliveries and we'll sell out in two days" said Victor Guadagnino, Chief Business Development Officer at Keystone Canna Remedies in Bethlehem.
There's not less medical marijuana, but more people who want it. You can get cartridges, topical creams, and tincture oils, but most people want the dry leaf or flower buds they're familiar with. Guadignino said this is a sign of a healthy and socially accepted medical marijuana program. He said there's been a shortage for about three or four months now because there are far more dispensaries than grower-processors.
"Last year at this time we probably had about 35 dispensaries statewide. We're at 70." Guadagnino continued, "And we've even doubled our growers, but a lot of the phase two growers, or the growers who were awarded licenses a year after the program are still really getting on their feet."
The state department of health has issued 20 permits to growers, but only 14 of them are producing marijuana. Each grower on average is supplying over five dispensaries. And they're doing their best to spread the wealth evenly to support over 160,000 cardholders.
He said, "So that is a good problem that we are having, it's just hard to say that because it's frustrating for patients when they can't get the medication they want."
Guadagnino said this shortage will likely taper off in the spring and summer when more growers come on line.