Community Issues

State Bans Dispensaries from PA Cannabis Festival

Festival held in Scranton, with goal of legalizing cannabis.

More than 10,000 cannabis users and enthusiasts are expected at next month's Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival in Scranton, PA. But the state's legal medical dispensaries will not be in attendance.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, state Department of Health has banned dispensaries and growers from attending or participating in the festival, which features vendors, food, live music and more.

The festival's organizer, Jeff Zick, told the Inquirer he stands to lose tens of thousands of dollars in lost sponsorship and vendor revenue, and he does not understand why the Department of Health has not allowed dispensaries to participate.

"There is never any weed sales at the festival. We've never had a violation of the law," he said. "Not one arrest and not one parking ticket. We're totally law abiding. There's no reason for them to take a stance against us."

Dispensaries were reportedly hoping to use the festival as an educational opportunity to spread information about medical cannabis, which legalized in Pennsylvania last year.

"It's not a medical event," department spokesperson April Hutcheson told the Inquirer. "We do allow dispensaries to participate in all kinds of education events with different groups. We approve hundreds of requests. What they submitted to us did not meet our criteria."

The Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival began in 2015. Organizers say the free event, held in Nay Aug Park, is intended to raise awareness to end cannabis prohibition.

Lt. Governor John Fetterman is currently visiting every county in Pennsylvania on a marijuana listening tour . He said that legalized medical marijuana is widely supported across the state, but opinions on legalizing recreational use is more divided.

Fetterman's next stops include Elk County on Saturday, March 9 and Montgomery County on Tuesday, March 12.

For more information on medical marijuana in Pennsylvania, you can click here .

Photos courtesy @penncannafest on Instagram.

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