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
  • HIV/AIDS
  • 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.

The Marijuana Business Takes Root in PA

The marijuana business takes root in Pa.

Jul 7, 2016, 1:49pm EDT
 

On a recent Philadelphia weekend that featured a Beyoncé concert, a professional bike race, and Wizard World Comic Con, Jessica Pontenot spent a good part of her Saturday seated in the second row of a Center city hotel conference room learning about Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana program.

“I came here for multiple reasons,” said the 31-year old Southwest Philadelphia tattoo artist, who works part time for UPS. “I want to find out how to get a [medical marijuana] card for my mom,” who has several of the conditions on the state’s list of 17 approved serious medical conditions for medical marijuana. “I always told my mom [marijuana] could help her, but she never believed me. Now she does.”

Jessica Pontenot listens to a medical marijuana presentation by U.S. Cannabis… more

JOHN GEORGE

Pontenot is also interested in getting involved in the dispensary part of the business.

Pennsylvania’s new medical marijuana program is expected to generate thousands of new jobs and millions of dollars in taxable revenues.

Some of the new jobs will be for budding entrepreneurs interested in becoming growers/processors and dispensary operators. Those business operators will need to fill a long list of jobs that includes budtenders, trimmers, lab technicians, operation managers, retail managers, bookkeepers and security guards.

While the upfront costs to entrepreneurs wanting to enter the market are expected to run into the millions of dollars, the payoff could be substantial. The ArcView Group, a market research firm that studies the cannabis industry, estimates the Pennsylvania medical marijuana market will start out with annual sales at about $125 million and grow at a rate of about 180 percent per year in the program’s first few years.

“There will also be huge opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to create ancillary businesses that are integral to the core growing and dispensing businesses,” said Seth Goldberg, a Philadelphia attorney with Duane Morris who specializes in commercial and health care matters.

The legalization of medical marijuana is expected to create business opportunities for people involved in transportation, accounting, legal services, information technology, lab services, pharmaceutical packaging, engineering, architecture, construction, and security.

Last month’s day-long seminar, hosted by U.S. Cannabis Pharmaceutical Research and Development, attracted Pontenot and more than 125 other people of all wages willing to pay the $350 entry fee to learn about the medical marijuana business. Seated two chairs away from Pontenot was a 37-year-old telecommunications salesman from South Jersey, who identified himself only as Terence. Terence said he wants to be a grower and breeder. “I had a friend show me the way and I fell in love with [growing marijuana],” he said. “I’m here to network and talk to people.”

Michael Patterson, CEO of Florida-based U.S. Cannabis, said he believes the medical marijuana business will be a billion-dollar business in three to five years.

He praised Pennsylvania’s law for the way it provides clear patient access, public safety and commerce opportunities.

“We call them the three pillars of a successful program,” Patterson said. “We think Pennsylvania’s law will be a model for other states.”

Hefty cash requirements

Patterson said his advice for people wanting to get into the medical marijuana business is to put together strong teams of people with diverse backgrounds and skill sets. He also suggested applicants should spend a lot of time thinking about a provision in the law that will require people to state in their application how their operation will better society.

Robert Calkin, president of the Cannibas Career Institute in Los Angeles, provides classroom training to people wanting to get involved in medical marijuana programs. He too put the formation of a strong team at the top of his “to-do” list for people applying to be growers/processors or dispensary operators.

“Nobody can do everything themselves,” Calkin said. “Different people have different areas of expertise. You have multiple resources in this industry — you have to have backups to your backups.”

Calkin said meeting all of a state’s regulations can be a daunting process.

“It can take up to 500 hours to develop a business plan,” he said. “Maryland had 170 questions on their application. People will have to answer a lot of questions they might not anticipate, such as questions about security and preventing diversion.”

Kevin Kravcak owns a Bucks County real estate brokerage firm. He has put together a team of business partners that is exploring getting involved in the medical marijuana industry.

“What attracted me is the business opportunity,” Kravcak, 41, said. He recently attended a Cannabis Career Institute seminar in Philadelphia. “This [new law] has been a long time coming.”

Kravack said his team is leaning toward establishing a dispensary operation.

“Right now everything is so preliminary with the Health Department still developing regulations,” he said. “Pennsylvania’s program is still in its infancy, so it’s hard to zero in on what all the opportunities will be. We are doing a lot of networking and lot of research online.”

Patterson noted Pennsylvania’s law does not contain any stipulation that a certain percentage of permits go to companies owned by minorities, women or disabled veterans. It does, Patterson said, include a clause that gives applicants additional points for including such groups in the subcontractors with whom they plan to do business.

NIMBY Challenge

Another challenge for entrepreneurs, he said, will be deciding where to set up their businesses. He said some municipalities will welcome growers and dispensers because of the business tax revenues they will generate, while others will have a “not in my back yard” attitude that will be tough to overcome.

“There’s a lot of strategy to this,” he said.

Goldberg said those wishing to get involved in the medical marijuana process will also have to be willing to assume some risk.

“It’s a capital-intensive process with some unknowns,” Goldberg said. “You have to get into the process now before the regulations have been provided, and without knowing if you are going to get a license.”

Brett Roper, founder and COO of Denver-based Medicine Man Technologies, a consulting and advisory services company in the cannabis industry, agreed the medical marijuana business is not the place for those looking to get rich quick.

“People looking to get into the space need to recognize this is not just a ‘cash out your 401(k)’ or ‘max out your credit card’ type of opportunity,” Roper said. “We are estimating in Pennsylvania you’ll need $6 million to $10 million is you want to go for a producer license.… This is not for the faint-hearted.”

The dollar range is based on whether the entrepreneur intends to lease or own the land for his or her business.

Roper’s other advice includes having a compelling story that separates a person from competing applicants, putting together a team that includes consultants who have worked in the medical marijuana industry in other states, hiring a professional writer to prepare an application and making connections with local people who can “champion” a proposal through the regulatory review process.

Gretchen McCarthy, director of dispensary operations at Compassionate Sciences ATC in Bellmawr, N.J., said her advice to people wanting to establish a dispensary in Pennsylvania is to “be sure you are well-funded to endure the unknowns that come with operating in a new industry that is not fully understood by the regulatory bodies, doctors, and patients.” McCarthy also said to “make sure the advice you are receiving from industry experts is tried and true.”

Compassionate Sciences is not planning to expand into Pennsylvania, she said, because the organization was formed as a nonprofit limited to operations in New Jersey.

The wait for implementation

The Pennsylvania Department of Health expects the medical marijuana program will take between 18 and 24 months to implement from the date the law authorizing it took effect on May 17.

Robert Rudnitsky, executive director of the marijuana advocacy organization Philly Norml, said the Health Department has many questions as it develops the rules and regulations for the medical marijuana program. Among the issues causing questions and concerns are:

R Who and what will govern the decision-making process for determining a qualified applicant?

R What exactly are growers and processors?

R What are the startup and final costs that will be incurred by companies selected to participate in the program?

Health Department Requirements

Health Department Secretary Karen Murphy said last month that the state has started working on temporary regulations for the program and will be seeking input from the public, stakeholders, and partners. “We are also committed to being transparent and communicating effectively throughout the process,” Murphy said. The first temporary regulation will be for growers/processors so that those entities can come online and begin to make products available.

The department intends to issue the remainder of the temporary regulations, sequentially, for dispensaries, physicians, patients and caregivers, and laboratories and anticipates this being completed by the end of the year. The temporary regulations will explain the medical marijuana program’s operation, including how applications will be submitted.

The Health Department plans to issue permits, initially, for up to 25 growers/processors and up to 50 dispensaries. Each dispensary can operate no more than three locations. No more than five grower/processors can be issued a dispensary permit. The regulations require:

R A $10,000 initial fee for grower/processors, who will also need to pay $200,000 for a permit fee and provide proof of $2 million in capital — $500,000 of which has to be on deposit in a financial institution.

R A $5,000 initial fee for dispensary operators, who will also need to pay a $30,000 permit fee and provide proof of $150,000 in capital.

R Both grower/processors and dispensary operators will be required to complete a two-hour training course. Both are also required to undergo federal and state background checks and submit a permit application that includes a description of the business and their ability to “maintain effective security and control to prevent diversion, abuse or other illegal conduct.”

R Physicians who want to participate in the program must apply to be registered, demonstrate their training and expertise in treating serious medical conditions, and successfully complete a required four-hour course — which will include the risks and benefits of using medical marijuana — established by the department.

“Businesses need to put their ducks in a row now so they can hit the ground running,” said Goldberg, the Duane Morris lawyer. “If you are a processor you’ll need to acquire technology and space for processing. If you are a dispenser you’ll have to mine for retail locations.”

Goldberg suggested people go online to look at what other states required on the assumption Pennsylvania will model its applications on those in states where medical marijuana is already available.

Both Patterson and Calkin said because of the complexity of developing regulations and likelihood of legal challenges, particularly by people who fail to secure licenses, people should expect the actual start of the program to take longer than the 18 to 24 months projected by the state.

“People think two years is a long time to wait,” Patterson said. “For a new industry, it’s not a long time.”


A CLOSER LOOK

Five things you may not know about Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law

1. What exactly is medical marijuana?

The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat a disease or symptom. The marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of illnesses or symptoms.

2. Who will be able to use medical marijuana

Patients with serious medical conditions will be able to access medical marijuana with a physician’s certification at designated state dispensaries. The law mandates that marijuana may only be dispensed to a patient or caregiver as a pill, oil, topical formulation (such as a gel, cream or ointment), liquid or a form medically appropriate for administration by vaporization or nebulization. Dry leaf or plant forms of marijuana are excluded, the law states, until they become acceptable under regulations recommended by the state’s Medical Marijuana Advisory Board.

3. What are the serious medical conditions?

A serious medical condition is any one of the following listed under the statute: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, cancer, Crohn’s disease, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, intractable seizures, multiple sclerosis, neuropathies, Parkinson’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe chronic or intractable pain of neuropathic origin or severe chronic or intractable pain in which conventional therapeutic intervention and opiate therapy is contraindicated or ineffective, and sickle cell anemia.

4. Who will oversee the program?

The new law creates a 15-member Medical Marijuana Advisory Board within the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Members will include the Secretary of Health; the Physician General; State Police Commissioner; chairman of the State Board of Pharmacy; commissioner of Professional & Occupational Affairs; president of the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association; president of the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association; members to be appointed by the governor and six appointees from the legislative caucuses who are knowledgeable and experienced in issues relating to care and treatment of individuals with a serious medical condition, geriatric or pediatric or clinical research. One member appointed by the governor shall be a patient, a family or household member of a patient or a patient advocate.

5. What else will the medical marijuana program do for Pennsylvania?

The state’s medical marijuana program also includes funding for research institutions to study the use of medical marijuana to treat other serious conditions. In addition, the law establishes an advisory committee that will review the research findings and make recommendations to the legislature for changes to the program.

John George covers health care, biotech/pharmaceuticals and sports business.

Marijuana Business

If you are thinking about getting into the marijuana business, Medicine Man Technologies offers first hand industry experience. Through comprehensive cannabis industry seminars, you will learn about the cannabis industry and learn about partnering with us through licensing. 

We provide you with the industry insight we have gained from personal experience in the industry. Through consulting services, cultivation technology and dispensary operations, we will help you get your business on the right track.

Take a look at our website for a better understanding of what makes us one of the top marijuana business consultants in the industry. Our experts offer industry proven advice to help you have a successful start and plan for a prosperous future for your marijuana business.

Marijuana Business Consulting

Medicine Man Technologies is made up of industry experts each bringing their unique skills and expertise to this industry. We provide marijuana business consulting for those individuals who are thinking about opening a cannabis business and for those who already own one. Our professionals can provide the guidance you need to run a successful business. 

Most entrepreneurs don’t have the knowledge needed to run a cannabis business. Our marijuana business consulting will help you understand the various legal aspects to this type of business. We will be your guide for the industries best practices and benchmarks.

Because this industry is booming it’s important to know everything from cultivation, processing, edibles, extractions, retail operations, shepherding of licenses and applications to regulatory compliance. Our team is dedicated to providing the finest marijuana business consulting services. Visit us online for more information.

Getting started in the legal marijuana industry

Getting started in the legal marijuana industry is made easy by the expertslegal-marijuana-industry-medicine-man-technologies at Medicine Man Technologies. We offer cannabis licensing and consulting services with state-of-the-art cultivation and dispensary operating solutions. We provide our expertise to clients who have the resources necessary to become part of the competitive medical and recreational cannabis marketplace.

Between recreational and medical marijuana, sales are expected to top more than $3 billion this year according to the Marijuana Business Fact Book. This does not take into account the satellite industries such as the CPAs needed, lawyers, and the manufacturers of the machinery used in harvesting which could nearly double the 2013 totals.

If the current trend continues, getting started in the legal marijuana industry will be a lucrative endeavor. Washington and Colorado are currently the only two states to have legalized marijuana. Alaska and Oregon and a dozen other states could potentially legalize recreational marijuana. That being said, getting started in the legal marijuana industry can be a great investment with massive rewards but also with great risks.

With any business, it is always important to have the right processes in place. There are licensing issues that need to be addressed. We offer pre-licensing consulting services to help you with the state application process. Our goal is to help you secure a state-issued operating license.   Also, topics like public relations, HR, and IT, allow entrepreneurs of any background to benefit from getting started in the legal marijuana industry.

Starting a company in this industry does require partnering with experienced professionals who can help you avoid costly mistakes. The team of Medicine Man Technologies consultants can help you navigate through the process to help you begin a successful cannabis operation.  Our expertise and state-of-the-art technology have successfully distinguished our clients from all the others starting out in this competitive industry.

In addition to consulting services, we also offer cultivation technology and dispensary operations. With our licensing services, we provide operating procedures for commercial and industrial cultivation. You will also benefit from hands-on training and development for your personnel and your facility once you become operational. Our dispensary model ensures consumers and patients have safe and secure access to various recreational/medical cannabis product.

We have over 6+ years of operational experience within the cannabis industry in Denver. Our consulting services offer the business planning support you need to succeed. Often, the only thing missing, in the beginning, is the experience needed to operate a productive cannabis cultivation facility or dispensary. That is where our experts will help you get started and with our consulting support, you will have the right tools to succeed.

If you are thinking about joining the thousands of entrepreneurs who are getting started in the legal marijuana industry, Medicine Man Technologies has the experience you are looking for.  Our experts will help you navigate through the ever changing marijuana laws and legal aspect of this industry. Getting started in this industry is not for the faint of heart. We can help you get started on the right path to having a prosperous future.

Marijuana Industry

If you are thinking about starting a new business and getting into the marijuana industry, you should have professional advice to help you on your way. Medicine Man Technologies is dedicated to providing the finest consulting services and solutions for the marijuana industry. Our experts have the experience you need. 

We are here to provide the guidance you need to run a successful business. Our experts provide a comprehensive list of services including cultivation, processing, edibles, extractions, shepherding of license and applications and regulatory compliance. Necessary information to help you have a successful start to your business.

We can be your guide to the industries best practices and benchmarks. Each one of our professionals brings their unique skills and expertise to the marijuana industry. We are Colorado marijuana industry experts you need to help your business succeed.