Solevo Wellness in Squirrel Hill said via its Facebook page it is out of product and temporarily closed.
“This is obviously disappointing, but we want to use some of this downtime to personally connect with and provide education for our patients, as well as the community,” said Solevo, which will hold a public meet and greet Thursday to answer questions and get feedback.
Solevo is not the only medical marijuana dispensary to run out of inventory. Two Philadelphia area dispensaries said they were running dry , the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
Several factors have caused dispensaries to run out. Only one of the state’s licensed marijuana growers, Cresco Yeltrah is shipping to retailers. Also, two additional growers aren’t expected to have their crops harvested and processed into medicines until late March, the Inquirer said.
“We are pleased to see the interest and engagement from the patient community in the first few weeks of the program,” said Trent Hartley, co-founder of Cresco Yeltrah.
“Nobody could have forecasted how great the patient demand for medical marijuana would be but, as the only operator to come to market so far, we’re doing our best to supply the open dispensaries as quickly as we can harvest, manufacture and test our products,” he said.
“The production cycle of our products is fairly lengthy but we are harvesting every two-weeks and each one is larger than the previous one so we’ll have a greater product variety and quantity for the patients in the coming weeks.”
Pittsburgh attorney Patrick Nightingale, executive director of the Pennsylvania Medical Cannabis Society, said he understands that demand is currently much higher than supply.
“As an activist and as a patient I am grateful that the Cresco Yeltrah cultivation facility was able to bring products to dispensaries last month,” he said. “Unfortunately, they simply are not capable of serving the 6,000 registered patients with their first harvest. All 12 licensed cultivation facilities have been deemed ‘operational’ by the Department of Health and I am hopeful they will be able to bring products to patients as soon as possible to alleviate the current critical shortage of medical cannabis products.”
Medical marijuana dispensaries opened in Pennsylvania on Feb. 15.
On its Facebook page, Solevo said it expects to reopen Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“As everyone who’s been following us knows, our number one challenge has been that we. want. more. medicine. for. our. patients,” Solveo wrote. “We’re not alone in that – there’s not much out there at the moment.”
As of last week, more than 21,000 Pennsylvania residents had registered for Pennsylvania’s program and about 6,000 were certified to receive medical marijuana. The state has approved 433 doctors to certify patients for the medical marijuana program, and an additional 361 doctors have registered to undergo the four-hour training course required for certification, state Health Department officials said.
April Hutcheson, a Department of Health spokeswoman, said she expects the shortage to correct itself once the 11 additional approved growers are up and running.
“We’re just getting started,” she said.
Under state law, patients can apply for a state-issued medical marijuana card if a doctor certifies they have one of 17 qualified medical conditions, including epilepsy, cancer, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and seizure disorders.
Qualified patients with a doctor’s recommendation will receive a Pennsylvania medical marijuana identification card, allowing the purchase of medical marijuana from an authorized state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary.
Dispensaries are also allowed to sell equipment, such as vaping devices for liquid forms, to administer medical marijuana.
When the first phase of the medical marijuana program is fully operational, 12 grower-processors will supply 51 dispensaries across the state.