"You don`t see a big festival with 10,000 people advertising for antibiotics or for anti-cancer drugs or for those kinds of things," said Ryan Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Cure Dispensaries.
Smith says his team chooses not to participate in the Pennsylvania Cannabis Festival, which has been held in Scranton for the last four years.
He says he respects their mission, but at Cure, the focus is on helping patients find relief.
"The focus wasn`t on how to best serve the medical marijuana community, so that`s why we made the decision that it wasn`t right for us," said Smith.
As for other dispensaries, this year, the Department of Health made that decision for them, barring them from having any involvement in the festival, saying in a statement, "There is no evidence that this is a medically-focused event."
The festival draws 10,000 guests each year, and while festival organizers could not be reached for comment, they did say in a facebook post that this is, "A huge blow to the medical cannabis community, our sponsors, and team."
The post continues, explaining that the festival has been an advocate for medical cannabis laws, and while some see the festival as an opportunity for community outreach, Smith says the Department of Health has the rules clearly laid out.
"You can advertise in any place in which the department gives you approval. It`s really straight forward. The department has been clear with that since day one," said Smith.
The festival is scheduled for April 20th.
Festival organizers say in their Facebook post they have high hopes the Department of Health will change its mind.