Cannabis Licensing & Consulting

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March 29, 2017

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

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

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

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

Status of Legalized Medial Marijuana in Ohio

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

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

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

Cultivation & Ohio Department of Commerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Case for Allowing Out-of-State Companies

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

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

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

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

When to Expect a Decision on Residency

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

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

November 18, 2016

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!

November 16, 2016

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!

November 15, 2016

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!

November 11, 2016

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.

 

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