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DOH Denied My Medical Marijuana Permit Application. Now what?

At 1 PM today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health plans to announce the recipients of the first twelve permits to grow and process medical marijuana.  A live stream of the event is available at  Most applicants will be denied permits, because the odds are steep – only about one applicant in fifteen will be successful (except in Southeastern PA where only about one applicant in thirty will be successful).

What to do if your license is denied?  Consult knowledgeable counsel at your earliest opportunity.  Under DOH regulations you have the right to an appeal that will result in a formal administrative hearing.  Unless DOH specifies a longer time for appeal when it issues the denials, disappointed applicants should assume their appeal must be filed within ten days of the date of the denial.  DOH also offers a separate less formal “debriefing” process, if requested within thirty days of the date of denial.  This debriefing session is not, as of now, an extension to the normal appeal timeframe.  Although DOH regulations do not address the issue, there is nothing that prevents a disappointed applicant from pursuing both the debriefing session and an appeal.  There also may be a basis for going straight to court, depending on the circumstances of the individual applicant whose application is denied and the manner in which it appears DOH has made its permit awards.

The precarious position of an entity who does not preserve its appeal rights within 10 days of an agency decision, has recently been demonstrated in SugarHouse HSP Gaming LP v Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, __ A.3d __ (June 20, 2017).

Should you wish to consult with an appellate attorney in order to preserve your right to appeal, please contact Kevin McKeon at

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