Credit: Andy Colwell / for Billy Penn

Updated Nov. 14 at 4:30 p.m.

Dispensaries in Pennsylvania have sold more than half a billion dollars of medical marijuana since the state implemented to program just under two years ago.

Sales and participation have ramped up significantly since the program’s inaugural year. This February, total sales had amounted to just $132 million, per the Pa. Department of Health. Fast forward nine months, and the tally stands at $524 million.

That puts the commonwealth on track to see a higher than 500% sales jump from year one to year two if the growth trend continues.

It’s important to distinguish total sales from net profit, noted April Hutcheson, spokesperson for the state Health Dept., who clarified that these figures include dispensaries purchasing from wholesale growers and patients purchasing from dispensaries. The current net profit from Pa.’s medical mariuana industry is close to $94 million, she said.

On Wednesday, John Collins, director of the Pa. Office of Medical Marijuana, outlined at an advisory board meeting other measures of the economic and human impact of the state cannabis program.

In a snap shot, Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program has:

  • $524 million in total sales
  • 72 active dispensaries (up from 50 in February)
  • 1,200+ physicians licensed to certify medical marijuana patients (up from 1,000)
  • 147,000 certified patients (up from 116,000)
  • 65,000 patient visits a week
  • $120 average per person purchase
  • $6.45 million in tax revenue collected

One major change over the past few months has been the addition of actual buds to the inventory. At the beginning of August, the state legalized dry leaf to be sold alongside the tinctures and pills and pens and pods at dispensaries.

“In Pennsylvania when we first started, there was not flower or dry leaf,” Hutcheson said.

That’s one factor making it difficult to gauge whether Pennsylvania is on par with other states operating medical marijuana programs, Hutcheson said, along with diverse regulation standards.

“The programs are distinctively different,” she told Billy Penn. “Some states allow home grow, Pennsylvania is not a home grow state.”

There are currently eight dispensary companies operating in Philadelphia, per state records, with locations spread across Northern Liberties, Northeast Philly, West Philly, Center City, South Philly and Manayunk. They are:

  • Verilife
  • Restore Integrative Wellness Center
  • Liberty
  • CURE Pennsylvania
  • Herbology
  • Beyond Hello
  • Keystone Shops.

The state doesn’t break down marijuana by city or region, a spokesperson said, so there’s no way to tell exactly how much of the total $524 million in sales came from the Philly outposts.

But dispensary operators don’t seem to think we’ve reached the saturation point yet. A new facility at 8th and Locust affiliated with Jefferson Hospital is slated to join the fray in the near future.

Layla A. Jones (she/her) was a general assignment reporter for Billy Penn from 2019 to 2021. Her work has helped underserved community organizations, earned free repairs for property owners who sustained...