Our Current Blog Articles
November 18, 2016
Medical Marijuana in North Dakota Has Been Approved
Talk 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
- 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
North 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!
November 16, 2016
Voters Say Yes to Question 4, Marijuana Will Be Legal in Massachusetts
Medicine Man Technologies 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Where 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.
- 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.
- 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!
November 15, 2016
Amendment 2 Passes, Expanding Medical Marijuana Access in Florida
During 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:
- 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).
Now 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!
November 11, 2016
California Has Legalized Recreational Marijuana with Prop 64
Medicine 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.
- Selling marijuana commercially will require a state and possibly a local license, as well as full compliance with all regulations that the state will be implementing. Failure to be licensed will come with a penalty of up to 6 months in jail and a $500 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.
November 3, 2016
The Secret to Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise
The Secret to Starting a Successful Commercial Cannabis Enterprise
The 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
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?
Many 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
Let’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.
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.