Marijuana Legalization Vetoed in Vermont

marijuana legalizationOn May 24, Republican Governor Phil Scott vetoed a marijuana legalization bill in Vermont. At Medicine Man Technologies, we’ve enjoyed seeing greater marijuana acceptance across the country’s legal landscape. Unfortunately, they can’t all be victories – fortunately, this is not where the story ends.

Gov. Scott provided a detailed response stating his concerns and requesting modifications. In his letter, he said, “I will provide the Legislature with recommended changes, and if we can work together, we can move forward with this issue.” The matters he brought up may be discussed during a 2-day veto session scheduled for later this month and could potentially lead to a revised bill for Gov. Scott to approve.

The Basics of Bill S.22

What makes Vermont’s marijuana legalization bill so unique is that it wasn’t originally passed by a ballot initiative. Instead, it was first introduced in the state’s House of Representatives by co-sponsors, Republican Tom Burditt and Democrat Maxine Grad. In the House, it narrowly passed by a 79-66 vote and was then sent along to the state’s Senate where it was supported 20-9.

The bill that landed on the Governor’s desk would have allowed adults 21 years and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and cultivate a maximum of two mature and four immature plants in a secure location. Legalization would have gone into effect on July 1, 2018.

S.22 also sought to establish a 9-member, Marijuana Regulatory Commission to study and develop a system and regulations for a retail, adult-use marijuana market. The group’s first meeting was set for August 1, 2017 and their first report due to the General Assembly and governor by November 1.

Like many other states, the bill included standard limitations such as not providing marijuana to anyone under the age of 21, not being able to consume marijuana in public or while driving, as well as making it illegal for someone who provides home-based day care to use or cultivate at their location.

The Governor’s Response

At Medicine Man Technologies, we were encouraged to see some open-minded thought in his response letter. Gov. Scott began by saying, “With a libertarian streak in me, I believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children.”

His recommendations included clearly defining severe penalties for dispensing or selling marijuana to minors, especially when on school grounds. He also requested the establishment of strict penalties for not only marijuana consumption while driving, but consumption while driving with a minor in the vehicle which may affect the child due to secondhand smoke.

As for the Marijuana Regulatory Commission, Gov. Scott wants a more comprehensive member base, including representatives from the Department of Health and Department of Taxes, plus substance abuse professionals. He also suggested giving the group more time to complete its examination and submit final recommendations regarding:

  • Appropriate regulation and taxation of a legal, adult-use retail marijuana system
  • Revenue needed for regulation, enforcement, administration, education and prevention
  • Establishing a threshold for driving while impaired and testing method
  • A strategy for the education and prevention of drug use by minors
  • Plans for ongoing monitoring and reporting of any public health effects

The governor stated, “We must get this right. That means letting science inform any policy made around this issue, learning from the experience of other states, and taking whatever time is required to do so.”

So, What’s Next for S.22?

Bottom line, either a revised version of the marijuana legalization bill must be passed by the House and Senate then submitted to the governor during the upcoming veto session, or it will have to be put on hold until January of 2018 when the state’s legislature reconvenes.

Revising and passing a new bill this June would require a two-thirds majority in the House to vote for a rule suspension that would then allow the process to be fast-tracked. Unfortunately, S.22 barely passed in the House the first time around and Minority Leader, Republican Donald Turner, has asserted that his 53 members would not support the rule suspension and therefore, it would not be approved.

If Rep. Turner is correct, one option would be to extend the veto session beyond the 2 days which some see as a waste of taxpayer dollars. Another possibility would be for Gov. Scott to create the regulation and taxation commission via executive order now. Then, if the legislature votes in favor of legalization in January, the original timeline and the July 2018 effective date would likely remain intact.

As Vermont waits to see how their legislature moves forward with creating a new and improved S.22, Medicine Man Technologies will be sure to provide the latest updates. Despite the fact that marijuana legalization was vetoed in Vermont, we truly see that it’s inevitable and look forward to supporting those wanting to start their own legal enterprise in the state. Consulting to cultivation and operations, we offer years of experience and expertise to our clients nationwide.

New Recreational Marijuana Bill Introduced in New Jersey

In a state where the governor is vehemently opposed to legalization, many Recreational Marijuana Bill Introduced in New Jerseypeople were surprised when a new recreational marijuana bill was introduced by State Senator, Nicholas Scutari (D-Union), in May. Here at Medicine Man Technologies, we’re honored to have been part of this movement, meeting with both Scutari and Senate President, Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester), last October to show them how a legal, safe and regulated industry has greatly benefited Colorado.

The plan for the new bill includes waiting for New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, to exit the office in January 2018. During his “Ask the Governor” radio program last November, he made his stance on legalizing marijuana very clear. In regard to the estimated $300 million in tax revenue the industry could potentially generate, he said, “There is nothing we spend in government that is important enough to allow me to willfully poison our children. That’s blood money.”

Meanwhile, 58% of respondents to a Rutgers University-Eagleton Institute poll support legalizing, taxing and regulating marijuana for adults 21 and over, showing the governor is out of step with constituents.

New Jersey’s Medical Marijuana History

Back in 2010, the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act was passed and signed by then Governor, Jon Corzine (D), on his last day in office. With Gov. Chris Christie on board the very next day, things have been anything but easy for doctors and their patients. The state registry didn’t come online until August of 2012 and even today, only 5 of 6 permitted treatment centers are up and running.

Unlike other medical marijuana programs, New Jersey’s is unusually strict in a number of areas, such as requiring patients to be reassessed by their physician for 30, 60 or 90-day certifications. As for qualifying conditions, PTSD wasn’t added and signed into law by Gov. Christie until 2016. Now in 2017, the state Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel has finally recommended additional conditions, including migraines, Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain related to arthritis, sciatica, diabetes and more.

Due Diligence Despite Chris Christie in Office

While Senator Scutari’s original, 2014 bill to legalize recreational marijuana didn’t get off the ground, he and other supporters have been busy with Gov. Christie in office.

A 2016 report by the New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform found that legalization would generate approximately $1.2 billion in direct sales and $300 million each year once a graduated tax increase was fully implemented. The report also stated, “Legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana will increase public safety, improve our criminal justice system, enhance racial justice, protect young people, save resources, bolster public health, and generate revenue.”

Later in the year, Senator Scutari led a group of legislators from both parties on a Colorado fact-finding mission to see how our industry is currently operating in the state. During their visit, the delegation met with Medicine Man Technologies Senior Consultants, Carrie Roberts and Matt Best, for a tour of our facility and discussion of both the benefits we’ve achieved and challenges we still face. After the trip, Sweeney commented, “I was on board before we went, but I am absolutely sold that this industry can be regulated. It’s safe, it’s well managed. Colorado has done an amazing job.”

Even attendee, Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth), who has yet to decide on which way he would vote, had this to say, “There’s very little downside.”

The New Garden State Recreational Marijuana Bill

With Gov. Christie’s term ending and the numerous benefits of legalizing adult use marijuana being brought to light, things are looking up for Senator Scutari’s bill, and we’re hopeful that it will be passed despite a few flaws. Let’s take a look at what the measure would entail for New Jersey:

  • Possession of up to 50 grams would first be decriminalized (with a maximum fine of $100) while the full program gets up and running.
  • Legalization of recreational marijuana for adults 21+ in the following forms and quantities: one ounce of marijuana, 7 grams of concentrate, 16 ounces of infused products in solid form and 72 ounces in liquid form.
  • Establishment of the Division of Marijuana Enforcement within the state Department of Law and Public Safety. Within a year, the group will be responsible for implementing new regulations, as well as helming licensing programs for growers and distributors.
  • Gradually increased taxation on sales: 7% in year one, 10% the next, followed by 5% increases until a final rate of 25% is reached.
  • Flexibility for local governments to forbid or strictly regulate marijuana businesses.
  • Prohibition of growing marijuana in your own home.

As you can see, the last two are a bit troubling and out of step with other states where adult use is legal, but we’ll see how this develops once the bill progresses through the legislature.

Who Will Be the Next Governor of New Jersey?

This is the $300 million question and final piece of the puzzle, so let’s take a look at the candidates. Democrats Phil Murphy (front-runner) and Jim Johnson support legalization, while John Wisniewski wants marijuana decriminalized and a legal framework developed for the market. Another Democrat, State Senator Ray Lesniak also backs decriminalization but is not on board with full legalization.

On the other side of the aisle, Republican front-runner and current Lt. Gov., Kim Guadagno, is against recreational legalization but wants to make it easier for patients to access medical. She’s also open to exploring decriminalization. Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, who voted against expanding medical use, only supports decriminalization for offenses involving small amounts of marijuana. Finally, there’s Steven Rogers who is in favor of medical marijuana but opposed to recreational.

With the 2017 gubernatorial election just around the corner in New Jersey, the team at Medicine Man Technologies is hoping to see voters make the right choice for the state’s economy and its citizens. Electing a supportive governor and passing this bill will certainly usher in a new era of opportunity for both those involved in the marijuana industry, as well as sustain numerous social programs. We’ll be sure to give you an update as the race for Gov. Christie’s office heats up over the coming months.

Looking to launch a legal enterprise if New Jersey passes recreational marijuana? Our experts are here to help. Medicine Man Technologies will guide you through each step and help you get a running start at success.

Legislators Change Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment

Arkansas Medical Marijuana AmendmentDuring last year’s November elections, Medicine Man Technologies was happy to see that Issue 6, the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, was passed by slim but definitive 53% of voters. It was set to allow critically ill patients to safely acquire and seek relief from their ailments using medical marijuana approved by their primary care physicians.

Now, in April of 2017, the state’s legislature has passed 24 laws changing what voters approved last year. Each one passed with the required two-thirds vote and 15 of them were sponsored by Republican Representative, Douglas House, who was tasked as the point person for marijuana legislation.

While many of the new laws limit how medical marijuana may be used and who may use it, news outlet KATV reports that the sponsor of the amendment, David Couch, took these changes in stride. “They did some crazy things, but it wasn’t anything that would affect the overall stability or the overall ability to get medicine, marijuana to the patients,” he said.

Here’s a quick round-up of the laws passed affecting the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment:

Act 4: Gives the state 180 days instead of 120 to develop rules and pushes out the date for the Medical Marijuana Commission to accept cultivation and dispensary applications from June 1 to July 1.

Act 5: Because there is no medical standard regarding the effectiveness of marijuana, a patient’s doctor is no longer required to certify that the drug’s benefits outweigh the risks.

Act 479: Bans Arkansas National Guard or U.S. military members from being patients or caregivers, and bans use on all property controlled by those entities.

Act 593: Provides more entitlements for employers such as the ability to enforce a drug-free workplace, including drug testing. Based on “good faith belief” they can take action against an employee for using marijuana during work hours or on-site. Action includes barring employees from certain positions, up to suspension and termination.

Act 638: Rolls the Medical Marijuana Commission, responsible for dispensary and cultivation licensing, into the state’s Department of Finance and Administration.

Act 640: Bans advertising, marketing and packaging that would attract the attention of children. Art, signage and product design will all be subject to scrutiny.

Act 642: Along with licenses for cultivation and dispensaries, there will now be a licensing process required for transporters, distributors and processors.

Act 670: Changes where medical marijuana funds go, funneling them to the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Implementation and Operations Fund with any remainder going to a general revenue fund. Previously:

  • 50% for grants to technical institutes and vocational-technical schools
  • 30% to the state General Revenue Fund
  • 10% to the Department of Career Education for workforce training programs
  • 5% to the Department of Health
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Administration Division
  • 2% to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division
  • 1% to the Medical Marijuana Commission

Act 740:
Bans smoking medical marijuana in the same areas where tobacco is banned and for anyone under age 21. It’s also banned in the presence of a child under the age of 14, a pregnant woman, in a motor vehicle or anywhere else that it will affect a non-authorized person.

Act 906: Provides more than $4 million for the Medical Marijuana Commission in 2018.

Act 1022: Allows licensed cultivators and dispensaries to import seeds, cuttings, clones and plants.

Arkansas Medical Marijuana AmendmentAct 1023: Bans vending machines and use of marijuana at dispensaries and cultivation facilities. Also requires childproof product packaging. And all food/drink mixes (edibles) must not contain more than 10 milligrams of tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that provides marijuana’s psychological effects.

Act 1024: Requires all dispensaries to have a licensed pharmacist available during operating hours.

Act 1935: Allows public schools to ban students from attendance (including events) if it is believed that they are impaired by medical marijuana.

Changes that failed included acts calling for the delay of medical marijuana legalization in Arkansas until it was legal at the federal level, banning smoking marijuana anywhere in the state, and making it illegal for anyone except patients and caregivers to combine marijuana with food and drink.

As you can see, each victory for marijuana legalization still faces a gauntlet of challenges, which is why Medicine Man Technologies works diligently as an advocate for our clients and the industry as a whole. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment as the implementation phase begins, and we hope to see the state’s lawmakers respect the original ideals approved by voters.

Looking to enter the Arkansas cannabis market? Contact our expert consultants for help. Like our Colorado clients, you’ll face a number of hurdles, and we can help you navigate your way to success.

Medical Marijuana Now Legal in West Virginia

medical marijuanaIf you haven’t heard the news yet, Governor Jim Justice signed SB 386 into law on April 19, making West Virginia the 29th state in the country to provide acutely ill patients access to legalized medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Here at Medicine Man Technologies, we were excited to see another state provide the compassion and care that so many American desperately need and deserve.

While much of West Virginia’s medical marijuana legalization efforts unfolded over just the last couple of months, legislative approval can likely be attributed to an in-depth report published last August.

This detailed report, from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, focused on the economic and budgetary effects that legalization would have on the state. Their findings included a ballpark figure of $45 million in potential tax revenue (at a rate of 25%) and another $17 million in savings on marijuana-related law enforcement. It also highlighted the positive impact that legalization would have on curbing the state’s opioid-based painkiller epidemic by providing an effective, “less addictive” option.

Fast forward to March of this year when Senator Richard Ojeda and 11 co-sponsors introduced SB 386, which would legalize medical marijuana. By the end of the month, the “West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act” was approved by the Senate with an overwhelmingly positive vote of 28-6 and sent to the House. While House Speaker Tim Armstead is known for being staunchly against even considering any medical marijuana bills, SB 386 passed in the House with a 76-24 vote on third reading and after revisions.

The Basics of SB 386, What’s Legal and What’s Not

While the original Senate bill suggested the creation of a 16-member Medical Cannabis Commission to administer the program, the passed version charges the Bureau of Public Health with regulating medical marijuana growers, processors, and dispensaries. A diverse advisory board will also be established to provide the bureau with recommendations as it implements the new program.

The Senate bill that was passed also specifies a list of qualifying medical conditions, including terminal illnesses, cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, Parkinson’s, and more:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Epilepsy / intractable seizures
  • Various types of neuropathy
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sickle cell anemia

Of course, patients must first be certified by a registered physician who has been treating them for their qualifying condition for at least 6 months and must remain in their doctor’s care for this condition. If a physician is caught certifying a non-qualifying patient, they can face felony charges.

One point of contention, and we hope to see this amended at some point, is that the law eliminates the sale or use of marijuana in flower or leaf form. It also does not allow home growing. What is allowed are pills, oils, gels, tinctures, creams and ointments, as well as vaporization (non-whole plant). Dispensaries are also not allowed to sell edibles, but patients can mix legal forms into their own food and drinks.

The newly passed law also allows patients to only possess a 30-day supply of medical marijuana, though there is no clear way to define such a supply as of yet. However, patients or caregivers possessing more than this amount of cannabis will face up to six months in jail. We’ll see how this plays out.

If You’re Looking to Set Up Shop in West Virginia

While the Bureau of Health is yet to develop the rules or process applications and business licenses, taxes and fees have already been established:

  • Grower/Processor Application – $5,000
  • Grower/Processor Registration (per location) – $50,000
  • Dispensary Application – $2,500
  • Dispensary Registration (per location) – $10,000
  • Taxes are 10% on sales from growers/processors to dispensaries

medical marijuanaJust 10 permits for growers (up to two locations) will be issued, along with 10 processor permits and 30 dispensary permits. Businesses will be required to use seed-to-sale tracking and meet rules the bureau implements for delivery, transportation, recordkeeping, security, and surveillance.

While patient cards aren’t expected to be issued until July of 2019, Medicine Man Technologies is very encouraged by this development in West Virginia. If you’re looking to apply for a business permit in the state, please feel free to contact us. We’ve been working closely with individuals and businesses across the country to plan, launch and operate successful, fully-compliant cannabis enterprises. Let us put our consulting experience to work for you!

Medical Marijuana Grow Licenses Up for Grabs in Ohio, Who Will Profit?

Medical Marijuana Grow Licenses Up for Grabs in Ohio, Who Will Profit?Here at Medicine Man Technologies, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the news as more and more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana. What we’ve seen is that the vast majority of new laws are being passed without clearly defined regulations or infrastructure. This has left the door open for debate as the government agencies tasked with implementation start to roll out rule-making plans.

In Ohio, the state’s Department of Commerce is responsible for determining how many cultivators the state will allow based on the anticipated demand. Currently, the agency plans to grant 12 large-scale and 12 small-scale grow licenses. According to recent estimates, these 24 license holders stand to profit from a medical-marijuana market with a projected net worth between $200 million and $400 million.

Because Ohio is the 25th state to legalize medical marijuana, there are numerous, more experienced cultivators from several other states eyeing Ohio as their next lucrative venture. Of course, this is not sitting well with native, Ohioan growers looking to establish a foothold in the new industry. That brings us to the question at hand – with just 24 grow licenses up for grabs in Ohio, who will profit?

Status of Legalized Medial Marijuana in Ohio

Ohio’s Governor, John Kasich, signed H.B. 523 into law on June 8, 2016, establishing the state’s new medical marijuana law. The House added its approval on May 10, followed by the Senate on May 25, and the new law went into effect on September 8, 2016.

Now, Ohioans who have a qualifying condition (listed in Ohio’s medical marijuana law) and a written statement from their physician will have legal protections for possessing a 90-day medical marijuana supply. Like many other states, Ohio requires an established physician-patient relationship.

Until the cultivation rules are hashed out, patients are required to purchase their medical marijuana from other states where it’s legal and bring it back to Ohio. Unfortunately, home growing for personal use is not allowed in Ohio, neither is smoking cannabis. However, marijuana may be vaporized, and patients also have the option to use extracts and infused products such as food items.

Cultivation & Ohio Department of Commerce

As we said earlier, those who want to commercially grow medical marijuana will be required to apply with the Ohio Department of Commerce. Some basics have already been established such as not being able to grow within 500 feet of a school, public playground, church, public park or public library. Those who apply for a license may also be disqualified due to certain criminal convictions.

Now, here’s what’s causing a lot of debate amongst growers contending for one of the 24 licenses being made available. Factoring into the review, but not required, is proof that the company is headquartered in Ohio, owned by Ohioans and has plans to hire in-state workers.

According to Kevin Schmidt from the Marijuana Policy Project, competition for the required medical marijuana grow licenses will be tough for Ohioans going against versed companies from out of state. And many Ohioans are calling for the Department to make residency a requirement throughout the first year at least. Competition isn’t the only reason, either. Local companies and cultivators also state that:

  • Ohioans were the ones on the ground, fighting to pass the law
  • Out-of-state companies will want to bring out-of-state workers
  • Such a workforce will not improve Ohio’s unemployment stats
  • Profits and generated revenue will not benefit Ohio or Ohioans

Bottom line, many believe that Ohioans should be given a chance to establish themselves first.

At Medicine Man Technologies, we know very well that such a request is certainly reasonable. Here in Colorado, license applicants were initially required to live in the state for at least two years. The state has only recently reduced that time to one year in order to open the market to out-of-state investors.

A Case for Allowing Out-of-State Companies

On the other side of the argument are companies pointing out the fact that licensing in Ohio comes with hefty fees and financial requirements, which has led them to seek out-of-state partnerships. Here’s a look at those figures:

  • Level I: $20,000 application fee and $180,000 license fee
  • Level II: $2,000 application fee and $18,000 license fee
  • Applicants would have to show liquid assets by level $500,000 / $50,000
  • An escrow account or surety bond of $750,000 / $75,000 will be required

Along with gaining access to the necessary capital, these Ohio-based companies are looking to their experienced out-of-state investors to help with the complicated process of applying for a cultivation license, as well as properly establishing a successful medical marijuana business.

Also lumped into the out-of-state group are actual Ohio natives who moved to states with legalized marijuana to learn the industry and bring their knowledge back home.

When to Expect a Decision on Residency

All medical marijuana fees, residency requirements and other licensing matters will be reviewed by a panel of Ohio state lawmakers and should be finalized by May 6. At Medicine Man Technologies, we’ll certainly be keeping an eye on the decision so that we can guide our Ohio clients through next steps.

Looking to enter the emerging cannabis industry in Ohio or any other state? Medicine Man offers the experience and knowledge you need to plan, apply and launch a successful, fully-compliant enterprise. Contact us for details, and we’ll start with a personal consultation to discuss your needs and plans.

Medical Marijuana in North Dakota Has Been Approved

cannabis-flowerTalk about a landslide victory. Thanks to a 64% to 32% vote in favor of Measure 5, the Compassionate Care Act, medical marijuana in North Dakota has been approved. Here at Medicine Man Technologies, we were pleasantly surprised, considering the state has strict marijuana laws.

So, let’s get into the details. As we said, medical marijuana has been approved and will go into effect 30 days after election day. Like similar laws, the Compassionate Care Act will allow qualifying patients with a debilitating condition, doctor certification and state issued identification card to purchase cannabis (3 ounces or less per 14-day period) for medical use.

Qualifying Conditions for Medical Marijuana in North Dakota

    • Cancer and its treatments
    • HIV or AIDS
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Hepatitis C
    • Epilepsy
    • Glaucoma
    • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • Alzheimer’s disease (Dementia) 
    • Crohn’s disease or Fibromyalgia
    • Spinal stenosis
    • Medical marijuana may also be recommended for a chronic or debilitating disease, medical condition, or its treatment that produces one or more of the following:
      • Cachexia / Wasting syndrome
      • Intractable nausea
      • Seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms
      • Severe debilitating pain that has not responded to previously prescribed medication or surgical measures for more than three months or for which other treatment options produced serious side effects

What Patients Need to Know

          • A patient may petition the Department of Health if they suffer from another condition that they feel should qualify for medical marijuana in North Dakota. The department will consider the evidence and approve or deny the petition.
          • Patients may also have a qualified and registered caregiver who is 21 years of age or older pick up medical marijuana from a dispensary on their behalf. Caregivers can assist up to 5 patients.
          • A patient (and/or assisting caregiver) who lives more than 40 miles from the nearest dispensary can cultivate up to eight marijuana plants in an enclosed, locked grow room, as long as it is not within 1,000 feet of a public school. Law enforcement must be notified and may perform on-site checks for compliance – 24-hour notice will be given.
          • Medical marijuana use is prohibited in public places, anywhere that tobacco is prohibited and in a workplace. Driving or operating any vehicle under the influence is also illegal.

Oversight of Compassion Centers

cannabis-close-upNorth Dakota’s Department of Health will be responsible for overseeing and licensing all of the state’s non-profit, medical marijuana compassion centers. As we’ve seen when providing cannabis consulting for our clients here in Colorado, getting into the cannabis industry will require compliance with many rules and regulations. Here are just a few things to take into consideration.

Licensing & Fees: Licenses are granted based on merit and no stone is left unturned. Before you pay the non-refundable $5,000 application fee and if approved, $25,000 licensing fee, you’ll need to propose a location, show financials and provide detailed plans for daily operations, security, staffing, pesticide-free cultivation and more. Even your character and knowledge of the cannabis industry will be scrutinized.

Location & Basics: You will need to have proper security and exterior lighting, an alarm system that notifies local law enforcement and video surveillance. You can’t operate your medical marijuana center within 1,000 feet of a school and each city may impose other restrictions.

Product Management: Once your compassion center is set up, all cannabis products must be dispensed using a tamper-proof container that’s sealed and clearly marked as medical marijuana from your center. The container’s label needs to state the strain, batch, quantity and active ingredients. You’ll also need to communicate with patients that the product legally needs to be kept in its original packaging.

Now that medical marijuana in North Dakota has been approved, thousands of people suffering from a range of illnesses will finally get the relief they need. And that’s something everyone here at Medicine Man Technologies can be happy about. It’s great to see increased acceptance across the country, and we look forward to more victories in future elections.

Looking to enter the emerging cannabis industry? We have the experience and insight you need to plan, launch and operate a successful and fully-compliant commercial cannabis enterprise. Get in touch!

Voters Say Yes to Question 4, Marijuana Will Be Legal in Massachusetts

Medicine Man Technologiesmarijuana-will-be-legal-in-massachusetts congratulates Massachusetts for becoming one of the first states on the East Coast to legalize, tax, and regulate recreational marijuana for adult use. The November initiative won with just 56% of the vote, and as of December 15th, marijuana will be legal in Massachusetts and adults can use, possess and grow cannabis for recreational use.

Like similar ballot measures, it will take time for infrastructure and policies to be developed before the first legal sales take place. As cannabis consultants, Medicine Man Technologies has helped several marijuana enterprises get up and running, and we know that after the momentous first step of legalizing cannabis comes a lot of hurdles and hard work.

At this point, we know that applying to become a retailer through the state will start in October of 2017 and could take up to 90 days to receive a response with existing medical dispensaries given priority. So, we’re guessing that the first legal, recreational marijuana sale will take place no earlier than January of 2018. News reports from the east coast indicate that Massachusetts has a tendency to get bogged down in bureaucracy, so we’ll see how things unfold in the coming months and report back on their progress.

Now that recreational marijuana will be legal in Massachusetts in December, let’s take a look at what you need to know about the new law:

  1. Who can buy recreational marijuana and what can you have?

Adults who are 21 years of age and older will be able to purchase and possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, though not more than 5 grams in the form of a concentrate. You will be able to buy marijuana to smoke, as well as edibles, oils and ointment products.

  1. Where can you smoke or use marijuana?

At home or in another private location. It will be illegal to smoke marijuana in public spaces or anywhere tobacco smoking is banned. Language in the law does point to the possibility that cannabis cafes, where on-site use will be legal, may be opened – eventually. Employers and landlords will also have the right to ban smoking or use in their buildings.

  1. What about growing recreational cannabis? Do you need a grow room?

The law allows anyone over the age of 21 to grow up to six marijuana plants. For households with more than one adult, there’s a 12-plant maximum. You will need to use a grow room that is not visible to the public and locked/secured. No outdoor gardens!

  1. dispensary-shelves-auroraWhere will you be able to buy recreational marijuana?

Dispensaries will be legal in every city. However, as we said above, existing medical dispensaries that want to expand will be given the first chance to enter the retail market. So, you’ll see the majority of dispensaries open in 2018 unless a community holds a referendum to ban them completely or even limit the number of cannabis retailers that are allowed to open.

Retail marijuana businesses will not be allowed within 500 feet of a school, daycare or other child-related facility. Individual cities will again be able to impose further restrictions and boundaries.

  1. Is recreational marijuana going to be expensive?

It really depends on the market with no set prices outlined in the new law. The biggest difference, in comparison to other retail goods, is taxes. You’ll pay an excise tax of 3.75% on top of the state’s 6.25% sales tax. Cities and towns can add up to another 2% in taxes, for a grand total of 12% in taxes. Medical sales would remain untaxed.

  1. Where will all that recreational marijuana tax money go?

The Yes on 4 website stated, “Experts say that taxing marijuana sales will create $100 million in new tax revenue for vital essential services in our communities. We can use the money to strengthen our schools — smaller classes, more books, and newer technology for our children. We can also spend the money on opiate abuse prevention programs, drug awareness campaigns, or law enforcement.”

Because recreational marijuana will be legal in Massachusetts, a Cannabis Control Commission will be put in place and funded by the excise tax, licensing fees and fines collected for regulation violations. This three-member group will be managed by the treasurer’s office, which currently oversees alcohol for the state. The commission will issue licenses and establish any rules not written into the new law, including guidelines for packaging and advertising.

The election was a big step forward for sensible marijuana legalization nationwide and our entire team at Medicine Man Technologies is excited that marijuana will be legal in Massachusetts. And if you decide to enter the cannabis industry, let our experts help with cultivation licensing. Like our Colorado clients, you’ll face a number of hurdles, and we can help you navigate your way to success. Get in touch!

Amendment 2 Passes, Expanding Medical Marijuana Access in Florida

medical-marijuana-plantsDuring the recent election cycle, our team here at Medicine Man Technologies was happy to see the passing of a more effective law, expanding medical marijuana access in Florida. While Amendment 2 needed a 60% vote, its total was a little over 71%, which shows incredible progress for the state.

Previously, a similar amendment failed in 2014 with just 58% of the vote. While the state’s legislature authorized non-smoked medical marijuana later that year, there were flaws. It only gave access to low-THC cannabis (0.8% or less) with a greater concentration of cannabidiol, and it was limited to patients with epilepsy, chronic seizures or spasms, and cancer.

With Amendment 2, the law expanding medical marijuana access in Florida includes all patients with a physician’s certification that they suffer from one of the following debilitating medical conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis

Licensed physicians will also be able to recommend cannabis for patients suffering from ailments that are similar to the ones officially listed in the text of the new amendment. And for terminally ill patients, a new addition to the 2014 law will remain in place, allowing the use of full-strength medical marijuana.

With the new law expanding medical marijuana access in Florida, the state’s Department of Health will be in charge of regulating marijuana cultivation and treatment centers, including registration matters and standards for security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety. The Department will also be responsible for qualifying, registering and issuing ID cards to patients and their caregivers (who can buy marijuana on the behalf of a patient).

medical-marijuana-plants-growingNow for a bit of bad news. The new medical marijuana law doesn’t go into effect until January 3, 2017, while regulations from Florida’s Department of Health have a deadline of June 2017 to be decided upon and implemented. And the required patient ID cards are to be issued no later than September 3, 2017.

As you can see, there’s a lot of work to be done, and there will be a bit of a wait while all the details are worked out. It’s our hope that a 71% vote of the people will be enough to motivate those in charge to make this a priority. If anything, the amendment’s text does include the following statement:

If the department does not begin issuing identification cards within nine (9) months after the effective date of this section, then a valid physician certification will serve as a patient identification card in order to allow a person to become a “qualifying patient” until the Department begins issuing identification cards.

Here’s what else Amendment 2 has to say about expanding medical marijuana access in Florida:

  • All forms of marijuana are allowed: flower, concentrates, edibles and tinctures.
  • Growing marijuana at home is illegal, and so is recreational marijuana.
  • It’s still illegal to operate any vehicle, aircraft, train or boat while under the influence.
  • There’s no smoking marijuana in public areas, schools, or places of employment.
  • Accommodations for medical marijuana use will not extend to any correctional institution or detention facility.
  • Physician certification can be issued to a qualified minor patient with written consent from their legal guardian or parent.

With the passage of Amendment 2, Medicine Man Technologies will be keeping a close eye on how the state will be expanding medical marijuana access in Florida. It’s our hope that an estimated 500,000 or more patients will soon have access to the medicine they need.

We’ll also be discussing the election results and new marijuana laws in other states. So, stop by soon!

California Has Legalized Recreational Marijuana with Prop 64

feature-3Medicine Man Technologies is excited to announce that California has legalized recreational marijuana by passing Proposition 64. With 56% of the vote, the ballot measure enables the state to regulate and tax how legal pot is cultivated, transported and sold for adult recreational use.

This represents a huge victory for those of us in favor of sensible marijuana laws and a big turnaround from the 2010 election where a recreational pot ballot measure was defeated in a 53.5% to 46.5% vote.

At this point, Californians can possess and grow marijuana legally, however, the state has until January 1, 2018, to begin issuing retail licenses. So, there will be a bit of a wait before you can buy legal pot at your local retail establishment. At least another year will likely be needed to develop the infrastructure required to properly regulate all aspects of California’s budding recreational marijuana industry.

For now, here’s what you need to know now that California has legalized recreational marijuana:

  • Adults 21 and older can legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants. Grow rooms must be secure and closed from public view.
  • Driving while impaired by marijuana remains illegal.
  • Commercially cultivated marijuana will be taxed by the state at $9.25 per ounce of flower or $2.75 per ounce of leaves. A 15% excise tax (on top of standard sales tax) will also be applied at the retail level. Cities and counties may also impose their own taxes.
  • Tax revenue will be primarily used to cover running the new program. It will also fund youth programs focused on drug education, prevention and treatment. Cleanup and remediation of public land damaged by cultivation will be funded, as well as training for law enforcement and other public safety programs related to regulation of legal marijuana.
  • You will not be allowed to smoke marijuana in public places or where state law already prohibits tobacco smoking. No smoking on the sidewalk, in bars, or within 1,000 feet of schools and other places where children are present. You will be subject to a fine.

Overseeing all licensed non-medical marijuana cultivators, manufacturers, testing facilities, distributors, retailers, and microbusinesses will be the Bureau of Marijuana Control inside California’s Department of Consumer Affairs. They will be responsible for governing all labeling, packaging, advertising, testing, and tracking of marijuana.

Stay tuned for our next update on where else marijuana was legalized during the November election. And if you decide to start your own commercial cannabis enterprise now that California has legalized recreational marijuana, our consultants at Medicine Man Technologies are here to guide you through planning, launching and operating a successful business. We’ve had a close eye on the new laws and will work with you to ensure compliance.

The Secret to Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise

The Secret to Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise

Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis EnterpriseThe legal marijuana industry has come a long way in a very short time. And savvy entrepreneurs, even venture capital companies, see this emerging market as their next big money maker. Why? In a report published by ArcView Market Research, the industry is projected to generate a massive $21.8 billion in total annual sales by 2020.

The Current State of the Industry

According to Gallup polls, backing for full legalization has climbed from 12% in 1969 to 25% in 1995, and now 60%, firmly crossing into the majority.

Right now, twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have laws legalizing marijuana in some form, either adult use (also know as recreational) or medical. It’s also on the ballot in 9 states for a November vote. California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, is one of these states. Advocates of recreational marijuana hope to succeed after suffering a 53.5% to 46.5% defeat in the 2010 election.

As for sales, ArcView reported an increase of 17% in 2015 over 2014, to $5.4 billion. And by the end of 2016, sales will likely grow another 25% to $6.7 billion. Calling it a “green rush” is an understatement, and there’s a lot of money to be made if a company has the ability to navigate an industry fraught with regulations and pitfalls.

So, how do you capitalize on this unprecedented market opportunity? Many find that partnering with a cannabis consultant is the surefire way to succeed.

How Important Is a Cannabis Consultant?

Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis EnterpriseMany entrepreneurs have gotten their commercial cannabis enterprise off the ground on their own. If you were to decide to go this route, you’ll face licensing and legal hurdles, ongoing scrutiny by state regulators and the IRS, as well as delays caused by a trial and error method of setting up operations.

To streamline the start-up process, another other option is to partner with a cannabis consultant. Their experience can help you plan, launch and operate a highly successful medical or adult use cultivation, processing or dispensary operation – all without the headaches.

While raising enough capital and securing licenses are well-known obstacles, that’s just the start. Here are just a few other issues that commercial cannabis enterprises face today:

  • The industry is highly regulated by local laws and all aspects of the business will be scrutinized.
  • Because it’s illegal at the federal level, dispensaries are cash-only, requiring security logistics.
  • Due diligence is required when hiring employees, bringing on investors and cannabis cultivation.

The Role of a Cannabis Consultant

An experienced and knowledgeable cannabis consultant will be able to help you at every step, from planning and licensing, to hiring and training the right staff, ensuring consistent cultivation, and staying in compliance with state rules and regulations.

The right cannabis consultant will bring a proven, turn-key business model to the table, enabling you to produce a quality product via cost-efficient production methods. The model should be risk-averse and reduce your overall exposure. And it should allow you to recoup your investment while continuing to be competitive in a quickly evolving marketplace.

For current owners of a commercial cannabis enterprise, a consultant can play a key role in improving overall profitability. They should be able to customize a plan that aligns with your goals and meets your unique needs, helping you improve yields, consistency, quality, and efficiency.

Below is a quick checklist of what it takes to open a fully compliant, medical and recreational cultivation and dispensary operation. When meeting with a prospective consulting partner, be sure they have the ability to guide you through each of these areas, using proprietary approaches that maximize outcomes.

Planning Your Operations

  • Business plan/financial guidance
  • State application support
  • Facility layout/design
  • Cannabis cultivation
  • Operations planning
  • Hands-on cultivation training
  • Standard Operating Procedures

Launching Your Business

  • Facility design and build-out
  • Guidance in hiring
  • Hands-on staff training
  • Employee documentation/handbooks
  • Inventory control
  • Daily operations best practices
  • Managing a cash-only business
  • Security logistics
  • Daily procedures, open to close

Ensuring Your Success

  • Hands-on staff training
  • Patient/customer record keeping
  • Ongoing guidance/support

Choosing the Right Marijuana Consultant

Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis EnterpriseLet’s recap. You’re looking to grab your share of a lucrative emerging market. You now understand the need for a cannabis consultant, as well as what role you can expect them to play in your business.

Now, here’s the most important part – finding a consultant you can trust.

They will be helping you make decisions that could have a dramatic effect on your business. Your first rule of thumb is to be wary of anyone that promises you the sun, moon and stars. Just like any other business, a commercial cannabis enterprise takes work and focus. If their claims of easy money sound too good to be true, they probably are. Don’t fall for it.

Along with being able to provide a solid plan and guidance through all of the areas listed above, your cannabis consultant should possess the following:

  • A deep understanding of this emerging industry, including state-specific laws and regulations
  • A proven track record and positive reputation, both in and outside of the industry
  • The ability to deliver quantifiable results that meet or exceed original expectations
  • A belief in open communication and a hands-on approach to partnering with you

Be sure to do your research, check references and have a conversation with prospective consultants. Because you’re going to be working closely with them on a long-term basis, even personality and rapport should be factors in your decision.

Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

Since 2013, the legal marijuana industry has grown by an extraordinary $5.2 billion. And as both medical and adult recreational usage clear hurdles with voters, increasing competition for a stake in tomorrow’s billions will require cannabis entrepreneurs to optimize every facet of their business from day one.

Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise

This is where Medicine Man Technologies, a full-service cannabis consultancy, excels. As a publically traded cannabis company (OTCQB: MDCL), we work with groups who have the resources, connection and desire to enter the market but lack the technical expertise to plan, launch and operate a successful and fully-compliant commercial cannabis enterprise. We also offer our proprietary Cultivation Max™ services to help existing operators improve yields, consistency, quality, and efficiency.

If you’re looking to break into the market, Medicine Man Technologies is here to guide you.