The average wholesale price per gram for medical cannabis flower in Pennsylvania has declined 36% since the start of 2020 but the average retail price paid by patients is down just 14% over that same period, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer report. John Collins, the outgoing executive director of the state Office of Medical Marijuana (OMM), called the discrepancy “a red flag that needs to be investigated.”

At the beginning of 2020, the average price of medical cannabis was $10.19 per gram which fell to $6.56 last month; the average price paid by patients at the beginning of 2020 was $15.67 per gram, and that average price dropped about $2.20 last month to $13.40 per gram.

During a meeting of the Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Advisory Board, Collins said there wasn’t much the OMM could do about the price discrepancy.

“We can’t particularly force a price point. Dispensaries take title to the product and have the right to price it. What we can do to encourage more competition is to put a spotlight on it like we’re doing today.” – Collins, during the meeting, via the Inquirer

In an email to the Inquirer, Jeff Riedy, executive director of the Lehigh Valley chapter of the NORML, said advocates have long been seeking officials to act on “excessive pricing,” noting that the director’s “acknowledgment of pricing inequities exemplifies that industry players are concerned more about profits and less about helping” the state’s 400,000 active medical cannabis patients.

The state Health Department does have the legal authority to cap medical cannabis prices, but has so far declined to do so, the report says.

Meredith Buettner, executive director of the Pennsylvania Cannabis Coalition said Collins’ remarks “fail to recognize the regulatory reality of operating in Pennsylvania” and said the high prices are due to duplicative product testing requirements, the inability of operations to remediate contaminated cannabis into something else they can sell, and other regulatory factors.