High Hurdle to Dispense Medical Marijuana


There are 2 distinct political parties in Pennsylvania, so when a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the state was signed into law on April 17, 2016, I was impressed.

There are 2 distinct political parties in Pennsylvania, so when a bill to legalize medical cannabis in the state was signed into law on April 17, 2016, I was impressed.

Bipartisanship won the day, and other legislative and executive branches should pay attention. This is how cooperation and compassion works.

It’s no secret that I’m interested in operating 1 of the state-approved cannabis dispensaries and manufacturing the allowed preparations. I believe that I could make the most pharmaceutically consistent products that could be found in the Keystone State. It’s what I was trained to do by the elites at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences.

Based on what I’ve read, the relevant health agencies want clinical trials conducted, and I’ve helped design 1 or 2 of those in my time. Some research department of an institution in Pennsylvania will want to take a crack at it, although USciences has decided to pass on the opportunity for now.

Medical cannabis won’t be a pharmacist-specific industry, but it really should be. After all, pharmacists were trained to do everything that Pennsylvania wants out of this law.

With my credentials, I should have my manufacturing and dispensing licenses hand-delivered to me before the governor’s ink is dry. Instead, I have to clear a pole vault bar without the benefit of the pole. It will be the highest of hurdles.

Recently, I was invited to join the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society. At the manufacturer/dispenser level, the dues were $1499 a month. For that price, you get a lobbyist fighting for your cause and some other perks, but I said no. I shouldn’t have to pay out that kind of money given my credentials.

It will be an episode of “Mr. Sochoka Goes to Harrisburg” as I attempt to take on the establishment. If the manufacturing and dispensing process were based on merit and abilities, I would be a shoe-in. If it were based on politics, however, I’ll probably be on the short end.

As Lando Calrissian said before assaulting the second Death Star, “Here goes nothing.”

There’s more: the application fee alone is $5000, the dispenser’s license is $30,000 per store, and you need $150,000 in the bank to even be considered. If push came to shove, these would be doable, but I’m just 1 man who can revolutionize an industry if only given the chance.

I believe I could be integral in forming the policies that determine how this complex business is going to run. I thoroughly believe this law needs a pharmacist’s touch.

State Secretary of Health Karen Murphy, who will oversee this process for Pennsylvanians, is a registered nurse. If anyone understands the value of a pharmacist, it’s her.

Estimates say it will take approximately 2 years to get the businesses up and running. This is going to be like riding in the back of a dogfighting F-15 Eagle.

Strap me in and pass the ondansetron.

Jay Sochoka, RPh, has a lot to offer.

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