McKelvey v. Pa. Dep’t of Health

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the interplay of the Right-to-Know Law and the information contained in applications to grow, process, or dispense medical marijuana. Media outlets requested disclosure of medical marijuana business permit applications under the RTKL. The Medical Marijuana Act mandates that the applications are subject to disclosure. But the Department of Health instructed applicants to submit redacted applications for disclosure. As a result, the disclosed applications varied widely because each applicant chose which parts of its application to redact. Because it posted the applicants’ redacted copies on its website, the Department of Health denied the RTKL request and directed the media outlets to the website. The media outlets appealed to the Office of Open Records. The primary arguments were over the “facility security exemption” to disclosure and the trade secrets exemption. The Supreme Court ordered disclosure of the applications unless the applicant provided proof of an established exemption.

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