PA: Demand For Medical Marijuana Outpaces Initial Supply

Photo Credit: Rebecca Droke

Pent-up demand, plus having only two dispensaries and one cultivation facility currently open locally, has led to an early shortage of medical marijuana products.

Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill was closed Monday, at least in part because “we are very low on product,” said Chief Operating Officer Sam Britz, adding that the shortage forced them to reschedule some appointments.

“A lot of people that we already have seen will be coming back to fill in their order when we get the next shipment in.”

Solevo is normally scheduled to be closed on Tuesday and they are expecting another shipment from the Cresco Yeltrah cultivation facility in Jefferson County on Wednesday.

“I’d wanted more inventory just in case and it just wasn’t there to get,” Mr. Britz said. “It is going to remain tight until a second grower/processor begins shipping the first week in March. Then it will be business as normal as Cresco is looking at a second harvest and then other grower/processors will be coming on line at various times in March.”

The other local dispensary, Cresco Yeltrah’s C+ in Butler, transacted the state’s first medical marijuana sales on Thursday morning and saw more than 150 patients that day.

A Cresco spokesman said Monday that the Butler dispensary “went through about 60 percent of our initial delivery” since Thursday’s opening and that its grow-process facility in Jefferson County “will continue to manufacture as quickly as we can to meet the medicine needs of the dispensaries and patients across the state.”

PurePenn in McKeesport, which has a permit to grow and process medical marijuana, expects to deliver its first products to dispensaries in mid-April.

Before Solevo’s Thursday afternoon opening, a long line of prospective patients waited patiently outside the 7,000-square foot facility on Forward Avenue. On Monday, Mr. Britz said they have seen 400 patients so far with one pharmacist on site “booked solid for two weeks out.”

Solevo does have a second pharmacist on-site to handle walk-ins, he added.

Because first-time patients meet with a pharmacist and a patient care consultant, he estimates the Squirrel Hill facility can currently handle 150 people daily. After they’ve completed those first-round consultations, he expects the number will increase to about 250 patients.