Over 250% More Marijuana Waivers Granted by U.S. Army in 2017 Compared to 2016

Over 250% More Marijuana Waivers Granted by U.S. Army in 2017 Compared to 2016

The number of waivers granted by the active-duty Army for marijuana has increased by over 250% this year compared to 2016.

(Photo; HempBeach.com)

According to the Associated Press, the number of waivers granted for past marijuana use rose to more than 500 this year from just 191 in 2016, a 260% increase. Three years ago, no such waivers were granted. The large increase is due to officials dealing with orders to expand the Army’s size.

“Provided they understand that they cannot do that when they serve in the military, I will waive that all day long,” said Major General Jeff Snow, head of the Army’s recruiting command. The marijuana use exclusions represent about one-quarter of the total misconduct waivers the Army granted in the budget year that ended September 30th. They accounted for much of the 50% increase overall in recruits who needed a waiver for some type of misconduct.

Snow said the figures probably will rise further as more states legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Wed, 06 Dec 2017 10:40:00 +0000

Army no longer banning recruits who used marijuana

Army no longer banning recruits who used marijuana

WASHINGTON — Smoked pot? Want to go to war?

No problem.

As more states lessen or eliminate marijuana penalties, the Army is granting hundreds of waivers to enlist people who used the drug in their youth — as long as they realize they can’t do so again in the military.

The number of waivers granted by the active-duty Army for marijuana use jumped to more than 500 this year from 191 in 2016. Three years ago, no such waivers were granted. The big increase is just one way officials are dealing with orders to expand the Army’s size.

Related: Air Force reportedly changes rules around marijuana use for recruits

“Provided they understand that they cannot do that when they serve in the military, I will waive that all day long,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Snow, head of the Army’s recruiting command.

The marijuana use exclusions represent about one-quarter of the total misconduct waivers the Army granted in the budget year that ended Sept. 30. They accounted for much of the 50 percent increase overall in recruits who needed a waiver for some type of misconduct.

Snow said the figures probably will rise further as more states legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

Eight states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington — and the District of Columbia have fully legalized possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults’ recreational use. An additional 13 states have decriminalized it, meaning possession of small amounts is considered the equivalent of a traffic citation or a low-end misdemeanor with no chance of jail. Twenty-nine states, along with Puerto Rico, Guam and Washington, D.C., allow the use of medical marijuana.

Army leaders have faced increased scrutiny in recent weeks amid worries in Congress and elsewhere about a decline in quality among new enlistees.

Army data show more than 8,000 recruits received waivers in 2017, compared with about 6,700 last year. Most waivers concerned physical or mental health.

Almost 2 percent of the recruits were considered “category four,” meaning they scored 31 or less, out of 99, on the aptitude test. Just over a half-percent were in that category in 2016.

In total, the Army enlisted almost 69,000 recruits this year, close to 6,000 more than last year.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Snow said he went to his Army leadership early this year to ask if he could bring in more of the category four recruits to meet higher enlistment goals. He said he promised that the Army would stay well below a 4 percent limit on the group allowed by the Pentagon.

Recruits who score lower than 31 on the test must meet specific criteria for the job they are requesting. There is no leeway on previous pot smoking for them. They also can’t require a health or conduct waiver.

The Army’s top officer, Gen. Mark Milley, told reporters during a recent briefing that the service is not reducing standards.

The increases in the category four enlistees, however, are fueling concerns the Army could repeat mistakes made during the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars more than a decade ago, when it hurriedly added soldiers to the ranks to meet deployment needs. At the time, the Army brought more recruits in with criminal records and misconduct waivers. As the years passed, discipline problems and other behavioral issues increased as well.

Milley and Snow insist that won’t happen again.

“Quality matters more than quantity. If you make the numbers, great, awesome. But do not break the standards,” Milley said. “Standards have to be upheld, period. So if we come in at less than the ideal number, but we’ve maintained the standards, that’s success.”

The Army’s argument, however, can be a bit misleading. The military services routinely enlist fewer recruits with waivers or lower scores than allowed under Defense Department guidelines. So while the Army increased the number of former drug users or recruits with lower scores than in previous years, the service still stayed below the maximum levels authorized by the Pentagon. And those recruits must get through boot camp, thus meeting minimum standards for joining the military.

Officials can thus argue they haven’t lowered the standards even if they have arguably enlisted more candidates of lower quality.

Snow acknowledged the challenge in meeting the growing enlistment goals. In the current fiscal year, the Army must recruit 80,000 new men and women.

“This mission is going to be a significant challenge for the command,” said Snow, who wants fewer than 2 percent of the new recruits to be category four. “The possibility does exist that the numbers of marijuana waivers and category fours could increase. I hope not, but it’s too early to tell right now.”


Updated Dec. 4, 2017 at 5:07 p.m. The following corrected information has been added to this article: The paragraph listing states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use has been updated to add Nevada and remove Maryland.


(Why?)

Published at Mon, 04 Dec 2017 15:03:19 +0000

After Years of Delay, Medical Marijuana Sales Begin in Maryland

After Years of Delay, Medical Marijuana Sales Begin in Maryland

Maryland began the sale of medical marijuana on Friday, ending years of delays.

Dozens of people stood outside a licensed dispensary, Potomac Holistics, where owners began making sales soon after receiving their first shipment Friday afternoon, according to the Associated Press. William Askinazi, one of the owners, said people who work at the store were euphoric that the day had finally arrived.

“You can tell there’s a buzz, and we’re excited for so many reasons,” Askinazi said. “We’re giving care to people who need it.”

A long line of people cheered late Friday as sales began.

Denise Broyhill was among the first in the door to buy marijuana tablets. She said she was upbeat and relieved after years of delays by authorities in making medical marijuana available in the state. A resident of the state capital city of Annapolis, Broyhill also said she hoped for good results managing the pain from a neurological condition.

“I’m very excited to try it and relieved to get through the whole process after waiting so long,” Broyhill said. “It’s been a longtime, but I’m looking to have some good pain management.”

Maryland approved its first medical marijuana law in 2013. But the effort stalled because it required academic medical centers to run the programs, and none stepped forward. The law was changed in 2014 to allow doctors certified by a state medical cannabis commission to recommend marijuana for patients with debilitating, chronic and severe illnesses.

While the initial rollout was initially expected to be limited due to available supply, Askinazi said he expected to see between 600 and 1,000 patients over the next three days.

Patrick Allison, of Annapolis, was also among the first in line. He said he suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that causes inflammation of the spinal joints that can lead to severe, chronic pain and discomfort.

“It’s about time,” Allison said. “I live in chronic pain. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’m about an eight right now on a scale of one to 10, head to toe. The only thing that works for me is marijuana.”

David Johnson, of Frederick, said he was relieved that he could now have access to medical marijuana to ease pain from nerve damage. He said he’s tired of driving in pain to pharmacies in search of opioids.

“It’s been a nightmare,” he said. “This is a godsend.”

Medical marijuana will be available for any condition that is severe in which other medical treatments have been ineffective, and if the symptoms “reasonably can be expected to be relieved” by marijuana. Patients with a chronic or debilitating medical condition that causes severe appetite loss, severe or chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures or severe muscle spasms also can have access, as well as people with glaucoma or post-traumatic stress disorder.

“In Maryland, there are very liberal qualifying conditions,” Askinazi said.

Even further, Maryland will allow not only physicians but nurse practitioners, dentists, podiatrists and nurse midwives to certify patients as eligible to receive marijuana. People authorized to recommend the use of medical marijuana will be able to do so for patients from other states who travel to Maryland.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Sun, 03 Dec 2017 23:01:48 +0000

Pot regulators punt to state lawmakers on home-growing

Pot regulators punt to state lawmakers on home-growing

The Columbian / Associated Press

Pot regulators punt to state lawmakers on home-growing

Washington lawmakers tasked the Liquor and Cannabis Board with making recommendations on allowing home growing of recreational pot. On Wednesday, the board put the decision back in the Legislature’s lap.

The LCB recommended any of the three options it studied: allowing four plants under strict state rules, allowing four plants under city and county control, or continuing to prohibit home grows.

The agency’s equivocal stance was not surprising to activists.

“I don’t think they wanted anything to do with it in the first place,” said Kevin Oliver, executive director of Washington NORML, the state’s largest marijuana consumer group.

“I suspect they did not take a stance on any one option because they wanted to avoid placing themselves near the center of the inevitable legislative battle that will come,” said John Kingsbury, a longtime medical-marijuana and home-growing advocate.

Oliver saw a glimmer of hope in the LCB’s stance. Kingsbury said it reflected the agency’s prioritizing tax revenues over decriminalizing marijuana.

The LCB’s 15-page report said the agency initially considered many options but “ultimately dismissed any considerations not consistent with the Cole Memo.” That 2013 memo from the federal Department of Justice has let legalization proceed in eight states as long as they adhere to priorities such as keeping weed from children, cartels and other states.

Agency spokesman Brian Smith said the LCB did what the Legislature requested — provide recommendations, plural, that it believed would comport with the Cole Memo.

“It was the consensus here that this was the best option,” Smith said. The LCB’s research into home growing revealed diverse viewpoints, which the report reflected, he said.

Its chief value, Smith said, is the LCB’s research involving other states and stakeholders including sheriffs, local government officials and advocates.

Debates in the Legislature are likely to be contentious, with law enforcement opposing home grows, patients and advocates calling for more leniency, and the pot industry divided on the issue.

For instance, Oregon residents can possess four plants without permits or other requirements. And Oregon officials recommended a low number of plants “to minimize diversion risk and a cover for the illicit market,” the LCB reported.

Public comments showed overwhelming support for home growing, according to the LCB, with 282 pro-home-grow comments and 93 opposing views.

But within the comments supporting home growing there were just 65 that favored the LCB’s four-plant options. Many who supported home grows wanted more plants and less regulation than the LCB proposed.

State Rep. David Sawyer, D-Parkland, chairs a committee that approved a six-plant home-growing bill earlier this year. That bill stalled in the full House.

Sawyer said the LCB’s report provided what he was hoping — a possible path to home growing under the Cole Memo. “I expected them to say ‘no,’?” he said.

Sawyer said he personally supports home growing. “I’m also not willing to put holes in our compliance to have home-grows,” he said.

The other seven states with legal weed all allow home growing. The DOJ has not clamped down on any of them. But none allows more than 12 plants.

As for wishful thinking, Oliver saw the LCB’s report as “neutral,” noting it “didn’t say ‘no’ outright” to home growing.” And it didn’t say home growing would cut deeply into the $854 million in state and local taxes collected since legal sales began in 2014.

Kingsbury, who objects to strict permitting for home grows, also saw some merit in the LCB’s report. It found that illegal diversion of homegrown weed, particularly in Colorado, resulted from allowing a high number of plants — 99 in Colorado’s case, reduced to 12 this year by state lawmakers.

He said the patients’ group he’s part of has been clear it will continue to push for legal small-scale, noncommercial, nonpermitted home grows in Washington.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:39:06 +0000

Cannabist 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for green thumbs

Cannabist 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for green thumbs

Gifts that will help your horticulturalist’s home marijuana garden grow.

Editor’s Note: Laws for cultivating cannabis vary from state to state and city to city — before germinating any seeds or planting any clones, take care to learn what your local laws are.

(Images provided by brands unless otherwise noted)


Cloudponics GroBox, $2,490

The teched-out GroBox is a fully automated hydroponic grow system designed to fit in with your home’s Mid-Century Modern decor. Simply plant your seed and the automated system will nurture your plant all the way to harvest including nutrient, water and pH control. The entire process can be tracked and controlled via a smartphone app, and the Cloudponics claims the GroBox can grow up to 8 oz in three months. If the price tag seems a bit high — and you’re based in L.A. — the company offers a leasing program.
Shop: cloudponics.com


The Grow Jotter by Goldleaf, $16

Designed specifically for cannabis cultivation, this long-hand style journal with a gold leaf embossed cover helps growers easily track each phase of the cycle to learn from past grows and quickly develop a successful strategy. Each book includes over 100 days of templated pages printed on responsibly milled cream-colored paper with a bookmark ribbon and elastic strap.
Shop: shopgoldleaf.com


SoHum Living Soils two-pack (3 cubic feet), $56

Give the gift of handcrafted, all-natural, bio-dynamic soil this holiday season. SoHum’s Living Soils contain an optimal balance of micro organisms and bacteria that help your container-grown cannabis plants hit their genetic potential. Just add water and let the sun or grow lights do the rest.
Shop: sohumsoils.com


Trim Station Fully Loaded, $159

Growing is only half the battle — trimming is a critical component of any home-grow operation. Increase your trim efficiency with this work station that includes a stand with multiple posture settings, 5-watt LED “bud beam,” and extras like a special spot for your smartphone and a beverage holder. The Trim Station is made in California with recycled materials.
Shop: trimstation.com


PRO 420 Spring-Loaded Bud Trimming Scissors, $19

Get a precise snip with these straight tip, spring-loaded scissors with a non-stick coating on the blades, protective spring casing and padded handles.
Shop: pro420.com


Grower’s Edge Universal Cellphone Illuminated Microscope with Clip, $10

If the green thumb on your list is also a social media maven, get them this microscope that clips onto any smartphone with a camera. With 60x magnification, your grower can keep an eye on those trichome heads to know exactly when to harvest — but they can also snap and post pics on social media to show off their bud.
Shop: growers-edge.net


(Why?)

Published at Thu, 30 Nov 2017 21:55:56 +0000

66 Congress members make plea to extend protection for medical marijuana states

66 Congress members make plea to extend protection for medical marijuana states

With the current federal appropriations bill set to expire Dec. 8, there’s a new bipartisan call for continuing protection of medical marijuana states.

Two congressmen behind a namesake provision for medical cannabis, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, on Wednesday sent a letter co-signed by 64 of their peers to House and Senate leadership.

The letter, addressed to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, urged them to extend the “Rohrabacher-Blumenauer” provision that has been in place since December 2014, which “has successfully protected patients, providers, and businesses against federal prosecution, so long as they act within the confines of their state’s medical marijuana laws.”

The missive also listed the 46 states, along with two U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, which have enacted some form of legalization of medical cannabis, “from CBD oils to the full plant.”


Related: Sessions says DOJ just talked “at some length” about marijuana enforcement

It was signed by five of Colorado’s seven House representatives: Republicans Ken Buck and Mike Coffman; and Democrats Diana DeGette, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis. Republicans Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn did not sign it.

The measure, previously known as “Rohrabacher-Farr” (Rep. Sam Farr retired in 2016), prevents the Justice Department from using its resources to pursue prosecutions involving cannabis when a state’s medical marijuana laws have been followed, and its presence has had an impact in federal courts.

Earlier this year, a judge suspended the case of two California men who had pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiring to manufacture and sell marijuana; the judge cited the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment in what is believed to be the first such ruling of its kind.

Another case involved medical marijuana growers in Washington state, who were convicted in 2015. In October, federal prosecutors acknowledged they shouldn’t have spent taxpayer dollars on the trial.

The provision has been targeted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who in May sent a letter of his own to congressional leadership asking that it not be included in the appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018, stating: “It would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime.”

Earlier this year, the measure was approved in the Senate version of the spending bill, but not the House’s.

The Senate Appropriations Committee included the amendment language in the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018. In September, the measure was rejected from consideration for a floor vote by GOP leadership in the House Rules Committee.


(A list of signatories is included below the letter.)

Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Group Letter to Leadership 11 28 17 (Text)

List of Signatories Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Letter to Leadership (Text)

(Why?)

Published at Thu, 30 Nov 2017 01:25:36 +0000

Poll: 62% of New York Voters Support Legalizing Cannabis

Poll: 62% of New York Voters Support Legalizing Cannabis

According to new polling, a strong majority of registered voters in New York are in favor of legalizing cannabis for adults.

The poll, conducted by Emerson College and commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project Foundation and the Drug Policy Alliance, found that only 28% of New York voters are opposed to cannabis legalization. With 10% unsure, even if all of them decided to start opposing legalization supporters would still have a 24% majority.

The poll also found that 60% of respondents support legalizing and taxing marijuana to help address New York’s budget deficit. Between 15% and 27% of voters supported each of the other options presented — increasing sales or income taxes, increasing tolls, or cutting public education or other services.

“It’s time New York stop wasting resources punishing otherwise law-abiding residents for using a substance that is safer than alcohol”, states the Marijuana Policy Project in a blog post published earlier today. “Let your lawmakers know voters want them to take marijuana off of the criminal market, so we can create good jobs, build the economy, and fund essential services.”

If you are a New York resident, you can  email your lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 28 Nov 2017 00:19:47 +0000

Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

The Columbian / Associated Press

Seattle pot-shop mural: art or ad appealing to kids?

Hashtag, a Seattle pot store, has an outside wall brightly decorated by the muralist known as Henry, the city’s most prolific painter of playful, slightly psychedelic scenes.

A state Liquor and Cannabis Board officer slapped Hashtag with a violation notice in September, saying the mural and its orange walrus frolicking with a green narwhal were “appealing to children because it has cartoon characters.”

The mural itself has no images or references to marijuana or the store. So Hashtag owners appealed, saying it was allowable art, not a sign. The case has been awaiting a hearing with a judge, at which Hashtag’s lawyer would square off against an assistant attorney general.

This week the LCB reversed itself — after inquiries by The Seattle Times — and dropped its complaint. “After an inside review of the mural on Hashtag, our enforcement team concluded that the mural is not advertising, therefore allowed,” said agency spokesman Brian Smith in an email Tuesday.

That decision illustrates the challenges of LCB officers not only in discerning art from advertising, but in determining whether some art appeals to kids like a pied piper of pot.

Hashtag co-owner Logan Bowers said the state’s “might be appealing to kids” standard is “dangerously vague.”

Hashtag commissioned the mural, Bowers said, and Henry let him see a sketch before he painted it. “But we didn’t exert any creative control,” Bowers said. “It never occurred to us that it might run afoul of the rules because we never considered it advertising.”

State Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, pushed for tighter regulation of pot advertising after he got tired of seeing a “Got Weed?” billboard as he crossed the Ballard Bridge daily. Such signs, visible to school buses, are not what he envisioned under Washington’s strict legal-pot regulations.

After being asked about Hashtag’s mural this week, Carlyle said he drove by the store on Stone Way North near Lake Union.

“In the big picture it’s vital that LCB is vigilant and relatively strict about interpretation of advertising appealing to children,” Carlyle said in an email. “But I also freely admit I’m deeply uncomfortable with this one because Henry is culturally relevant art that goes to the soul of our community.”

Ballard artist Ryan Henry Ward has painted more than 180 murals, often with fantastical creatures, on building exteriors, school interiors, garages and even vehicles, primarily in Ballard, according to his website. He describes his “whimsical work” as “primitive images with a dreamlike, surreal quality.”

It wouldn’t be surprising if his Yellow Submarine-esque characters had some appeal to children. And the LCB’s Smith said Hashtag was hit with a violation after someone complained about the mural.

“I can absolutely see both sides” of the argument, Carlyle said. “I’ve got four kids. We all want to be responsible.”

But Carlyle noted that Hashtag’s “signage is small” and it’s hard to tell from the street that it’s even a pot store. “It’s like freedom of speech,” he said of its mural. “You have to err on the side of art.”

Bowers said the store purposefully avoided anything commercial in the mural, “as its purpose is beautification” of what he called a rundown building.

He noted that Henry painted a mural on the side of a bar that depicts two walruses holding beers and it has been uncontroversial. It’s flimsy logic, he said, to ban images that might appeal to kids. “Is a child going to walk by, see a fish on the side of a building and then conclude he’s going to smoke marijuana? Do children pound hard liquor if the grocery store looks too nice?”

The Hashtag violation follows stricter advertising regulations mandated by the state Legislature. The new rules took effect in July. They don’t allow stores to have sign-spinners, inflatable advertising, signs that depict marijuana or a store’s products, or signs with movie or cartoon images that appeal to children.

“Several stores will need to revise their signs,” Smith said.

Advertising rules are the most commonly violated, according to Smith. The LCB has issued 178 such warnings or violation notices since 2015, with 32 of those coming since the new rules took effect in July.

An LCB official has contacted Hashtag’s owners to let them know “we would be rescinding the violation notice,” Smith said, and the attorney general’s office would follow up in writing.

“I’m pleased they dropped the violation,” Bowers said, “as I think it’s obvious that artwork should not be censored or regulated by the LCB or any state agency.”

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 24 Nov 2017 18:22:10 +0000

WA: Over $140 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in October, Setting New Monthly Sales Record

WA: Over $140 Million in Legal Marijuana Sold in October, Setting New Monthly Sales Record

In Washington State there was $142,045,620.27 worth of legal marijuana and marijuana products sold in October, easily breaking the previous monthly record set in August ($133 million).

The over $140 million in legal cannabis sold in October resulted in nearly $30 million in taxes for the state. So far for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which began on July 1st of this year, there has been $534 million in marijuana sold, resulting in over $120 million in taxes. For FY 2017, which began on July 1st, 2016, and ended on June 30th, 2017, there was $1,371,882,585.79 in legal marijuana sold in Washington State in fiscal year 2017; the state garnered $314,838,969.21 in taxes from these sales.

This data was obtained by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB). According to the WSLCB, 1,896 licenses have been issued throughout the state for marijuana producers, processors and retail outlets.

More information on Washington’s legal marijuana industry can be found at the WSLCB’s Marijuana Dashboard by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 27 Nov 2017 11:48:01 +0000

Michigan Gets Recommendations for Medical Marijuana Rules, New Advisory Panel Members

Michigan Gets Recommendations for Medical Marijuana Rules, New Advisory Panel Members

Michigan Gets Recommendations for Medical Marijuana Rules, New Advisory Panel Members

Back in August, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) announced the formation of “work groups” to provide input as LARA adopts emergency rules to govern activities under the State’s new Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA). Organized around the MMFLA’s five license types, those work groups met last month. At today’s meeting of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, LARA unveiled summaries of the work groups’ recommendations.

Processors

  • THC limits: labels should indicate THC mg per unit versus per package; if limits are set on a per package basis, should be 1000 mg, with dose size indicated.
  • Security and safety protocols should be required.
  • Product regulation: edibles should be shelf-stable and not require refrigeration; edibles should be tested to ensure safe consumption after 90 days in storage.
  • Product remediation: if marihuana fails mold tests, the batch should be tested again; if it fails for pesticides, all of the batch should be rejected and destroyed.

Growers

  • Labs should be licensed first to avoid bottlenecks as the system comes on-line.
  • Pesticides: State should provide list of approved and unapproved pesticides.
  • State’s capital requirements should allow buildings to count toward asset requirements.
  • “Stacking” of multiple grow licenses: no consensus; some favored free market, others wanted protectionism for small growers.

Safety Compliance Facilities

  • Mold testing should be modeled on some set of national standards.
  • Quarterly quality assurance testing should be conducted.
  • On-site testing should be allowed, with lab employees going to growers.
  • Edibles should undergo long-term storage testing to establish expiration dates.
  • Action should be taken against facilities that have product repeatedly fail tests.

Provisioning Centers

  • Daily purchase limits: 2.5 ounces flower or equivalent; perhaps a monthly limit.
  • Packaging: labels should identify product, quantity, batch and lot number, allergens, expiration date, warnings and instructions. Should not be enticing to children.
  • Training for employees should be required.

Secure Transporters

  • Standards should address security and storage limits.
  • Vehicles should have 360 degree camera coverage visible inside, lockable barriers that prevent driver access to cargo, shatterproof windows, and ability to notify law enforcement of emergencies.
  • 24/7 operation should be allowed.
  • Drivers should have flexibility to alter routes.
  • The BIG debate: should drivers be allowed to carry firearms?

The recommendations above are obviously the tip of the iceberg; the work groups covered far more than was reported. LARA will now use these recommendations as the State develops emergency rules.

Going forward, it is unclear if the work groups will continue. The work groups were instituted by LARA because the MMFLA required the Governor to appoint an Advisory Panel by March 20, 2017, and Gov. Rick Snyder did not do so. At the time, the Governor’s office explained that the Panel could not be appointed because it must include representatives of different types of MMFLA licensees, and no licenses would be issued until sometime in 2018. The position of the Governor’s office changed, however, as just last week, the Governor announced appointments for the other specified categories. Those appointments include:

  • Roseville Police Chief James Berlin, representing police.
  • Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, representing sheriffs.
  • Wayne County Director of Commission Affairs Alan Helmkamp, representing counties.
  • Attorney for Michigan Townships Association Catherine Kaufman, representing townships.
  • Medical director of Doc Greens Clinic Dr. Saqib Nakadar, representing physicians.
  • Accountant Paul Samways of Cannabis Accounting, representing patients.
  • Grand Rapids Planning Director Suzanne Schulz, representing cities and villages.

In addition to the above appointees, the MMFLA provides that the Advisory Panel must include the Attorney General and the directors or designees of LARA, Michigan State Police, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

As for the representatives of the MMFLA’s license classes, Gov. Snyder stated that he will appoint those members once licenses have been issued. Whether LARA will look to work groups for industry input in the interim remains to be seen.

As always, check back with Dykema’s Cannabis Law Blog for further updates.

(Why?)

Published at Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:00:00 +0000