Justice Grown, a dispensary in Edwardsville, had to wait one week to sell their first legal marijuana flower in Pennsylvania, while other dispensaries were already able to do so. Justice Grown finally received the green light a week later and decided to do something special.
On August 8th, they ran a Flower Power Party where select strains of Terrapin-grown small buds were being sold for $1.00 per gram. Other dispensaries were selling the buds for $10 a gram, or $25 for an eighth, which was part of an exclusive offer from the Pennsylvania-based grower-processor.
Terrapin explained to Cannabis Report that while their small buds remained uncertain for the company’s future, they decided to take this measure to be sure that patient demand for medical marijuana was met. Wholesale costs were far cheaper than normal offerings but it was much more than $1.00.
However, this didn’t deter Justice Grown. The company took a loss selling these grams because they were hoping patients would be able to purchase other products with stronger profit margins, which in retail are known as “loss leaders.” Company officials received a complaint from the Department of Health about the matter.
In a Facebook post, the dispensary indicated that the event was promoted by how it was priced, which was not considered to be a discount. The Department of Health disagreed, stating that it was promoted as a sale.
April Hutcheson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer that Justice Grown violated the law when they sold the buds at a discount. Promotional sales on medical marijuana are illegal, and the company was in violation of the law.
Over 100 patients took full advantage of the promotion after the dispensary was warned that the event was illegal. Justice Grown defended their actions and CEO Abbe Kruger repeated what the company’s representatives already said about it on Facebook.
Kruger says that because it hadn’t been priced before, it didn’t fit the definition of a sale. It was just priced that low.
The Department of Health isn’t trying to mandate pricing. Because the state’s medical marijuana program is part of the free market, it allows patients to visit any dispensary that gives them the best product for the lowest price, according to another spokesperson from the Department of Health. It’s not necessary for dispensaries to have the state approve their prices.
In theory, any dispensary can do the exact same thing Justice Grown did, but promotions wouldn’t be allowed. The Department of Health explained that dispensaries can give discounts to certain groups of individuals.
A similar one-day promotion recently appeared from Solevo Wellness in Pittsburgh. Moxie shatter and badder, as well as several kinds of Terrapin carts, were promotionally priced. It remains unclear how their practice was any different from Justice Grown.
Solevo Wellness began testing some recently relaxed rules in Pennsylvania and Nevada to thank their customers. The pricing on their menus reflects the normal pricing for their products.
The Department of Health never contacted Solevo Wellness, but it’s possible the department cleared the company before they began the promotion as a means to get rid of slow-moving stock.