125 Groups Urge Congressional Action On The MORE Act

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Drug Policy Alliance, and 123 other national and state organizations today called on House Leadership to swiftly advance the bipartisan Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act (H.R. 3884) to the House floor when Congress returns in September. The MORE Act, the most comprehensive marijuana justice legislation to be considered in Congress, is needed now more than ever to alleviate economic hardship caused by COVID-19 and meet the calls for justice reform echoing all across America.

“In November 2019, the House Judiciary Committee made history when it advanced the MORE Act, becoming the first congressional body to vote favorably for a marijuana de-scheduling bill. Since that time, the circumstances of 2020 have made the failed War on Drugs even more untenable and amplified the voices of those demanding transformation in our criminal legal system. In the face of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and a growing national dialogue on unjust law enforcement practices, marijuana reform as a modest first step at chipping away at the War on Drugs is more relevant and more pressing than ever before. The MORE Act remains the most effective and equitable way forward,” the groups said in the letter.

The MORE Act, a sweeping marijuana measure that addresses criminal justice reform, racial justice, and equity, would:

  • Remove marijuana from the list of Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act, thus decriminalizing the substance at the federal level and enabling states to set their own policy, expanding research opportunities, and broadening access to medical marijuana to underserved populations such as veterans.
  • Emphasize reparative justice, establishing social equity programs that acknowledge those who have been most impacted under criminalization by building community infrastructure and diversifying the regulated marijuana marketplace.
  • Provide for the expungement and re-sentencing of marijuana offenses.
  • Prevent the government from denying an individual federal benefits, student financial aid, or security clearances needed to obtain government jobs because of marijuana use.
  • Protect non-citizens from immigration consequences due to marijuana activity, including non-citizens working in state-legal marijuana marketplaces.

The MORE Act is supported by the Marijuana Justice Coalition as well 125 national and state organizations.

The signatories and letter are available here.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority Names New Director

OKLAHOMA:  The deputy director of the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority will serve as interim director of the authority, officials announced Friday.

Kelly Williams replaces Travis Kirkpatrick, who was recently named deputy commissioner of prevention and preparedness at the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Kirkpatrick, who will oversee the OMMA from his new position, chose Williams for the interim post. Kirkpatrick had been named director of the authority in January after serving as interim director for about three months.

“This is a young agency and we have seen massive growth over the past two years,” Williams said in a statement. “I look forward to the challenges and the rewards of growing the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority into an agency that will make Oklahomans proud.”

Nevada CCB Launches Investigations Into Three Nevada Dispensaries, Selling Potentially Unsafe Product

NEVADA: The Nevada Cannabis Compliance Board (CCB) has opened investigations into three dispensaries for selling product that twice failed microbial testing.

On March 5, 2020, the Department of Taxation and CCB issued a directive to all dispensary/retail stores to immediately stop selling the product, Cherry OG F3, which failed laboratory testing for yeast and mold, coliforms, Enterobacteriaceae and Aspergillus.

At that time, the CCB instructed dispensary/retail stores to destroy or return the affected product to the cultivator and communicate that they took such action with the State. Despite the CCB’s directive, it appears three dispensaries retained their inventory of Cherry OG and began selling the product again in May.

Approximately 375 grams of the Cherry OG product were sold between May 19, 2020 and June 29, 2020 at the following Retail Stores/Medical Dispensaries:

1. Waveseer of Las Vegas, LLC (Jenny’s Dispensary), 5530 N Decatur Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89130 (License # 83760475147127946601);

2. Paradise Wellness Center, LLC (Las Vegas ReLeaf), 2244 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, NV 89104 (License # 54283805068313943868); and

3. Desert Aire Wellness, LLC (Sahara Wellness), 420 E Sahara Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89104 (License # 25729455103203031356)

On May 16, 2020, a hold on the product was temporarily lifted due to a CCB error that occurred during an unrelated investigation. However, the CCB’s health and safety advisory remained in effect; and under the directive, dispensaries should not have had the product in their inventory.

The CCB advises those who have purchased the product to avoid consuming it. Consumers should check any Cherry OG products for the source package # 1A404030000076F000006649. The CCB notified the aforementioned dispensaries and initiated investigations which are ongoing. There are no known reports of illness.

Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Cannabis Control Commission Issues Second Amended Quarantine Order for Vaporizer Products

Following the agency’s three-phased testing and public comment period, licensees may retest and release, or destroy quarantined products subject to order requirements

MASSACHUSETTS:The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has issued a Second Amended Quarantine Order Applying to Vaporizer Products following three phases of testing and a public comment period which examined conditions that could allow for the retest and sale of vaporizer products that were previously quarantined since December. Under the second amended order, licensees may retest and release—or destroy—certain products with enhanced warning labels, depending on testing and remediation outcomes, and compliance with Commission regulations and policies. The order emphasizes that measured, transparent testing mitigates, but does not eliminate, all public health risks posed by quarantined vaporizer products.

This latest action modifies previous Commission quarantine orders issued in November and December 2019 and related investigative findings from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that identified vitamin E acetate (VEA) as a chemical of concern among people with e-cigarette, or vaping, product-use associated lung injury (EVALI). On December 12, 2019, the Commission issued the First Amended Quarantine Order authorizing licensees to sell newly manufactured vaporizer products, but requiring that more than 600,000 vaporizer products manufactured before December 12, 2019 remain subject to quarantine.

“Since the Commonwealth declared a vaping public health emergency last fall, the Commission has dedicated significant energy and resources to investigating the additives, hardware, and storage practices that licensees use to produce and sell cannabis vaporizer products,” Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “Fortunately, repeat tests of licensed product samples did not return any detectable levels of VEA; unfortunately, they did establish that heavy metal contamination may increase in vaping products over time.

“This new order seeks to strike a balance between those products that can be retested or remediated safely for sale or repurposing with proper warning to patients and consumers, and those that cannot. As the nation continues to learn more about the broader health implications of vaping in all forms, I urge patients and consumers to understand the risks when they choose to consume any cannabis vaporizer product.”

The Commission’s regulations require all marijuana products to undergo contaminant testing, including testing for heavy metals, by an Independent Testing Laboratory accredited to the International Organization for Standardization 17025 (ISO/IEC 17025: 2017) and in accordance with the Commission’s Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Medical Marijuana Products and Marijuana-infused Products.

Under the second amended order, previously quarantined products may be:

  • Disposed. Licensees may voluntarily dispose of previously quarantined vaping products at any time, subject to Commission disposal regulations.
    • Production batches that previously failed both Commission-initiated tests for heavy metals shall be deemed unable to be remediated and face mandatory disposal, if, after two attempts at remediation, the product does not pass testing for heavy metals. Respondents may dispose of such products voluntarily or upon receiving an order of destruction from the Commission.
  • Retested and Released. Previously quarantined products may be made available for sale if they are first retested and deemed compliant with the Commission’s regulations and policies, subject to conditions specified in the order.
  • Reclaimed. Previously quarantined products may also be repurposed into other products using the reclaimed marijuana oil, although any new product manufactured with that oil must undergo testing and include a statement indicating to the patient or consumer that the product was manufactured with previously quarantined material.

If, after two attempts at remediation, retested or reclaimed products do not pass testing for heavy metals, they will be considered unable to be remediated and must be disposed. Vaporizer products with original testing dates in excess of one year are considered expired and may not be dispensed, sold, transferred or otherwise conveyed until another screen for all contaminants, excluding pesticides, is conducted. In accordance with Commission regulations, licensees must notify the agency of any vaporizer product test result exceeding acceptable levels for heavy metals and describe the method for remediation or disposal.

The second amended order also specifies labeling requirements for all vaporizer products sold by licensees in the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to those products that are retested or reclaimed in accordance with the second amended order:

  • Labels on previously vaporized products that pass retesting and are made available for sale must disclose, “This product was previously quarantined. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”
  • Labels on previously vaporized products that have their marijuana concentrate reclaimed for other marijuana products must disclose, “This product was produced using previously quarantined concentrate. Passed retesting for heavy metals and Vitamin E Acetate. Store at room temperature.”

Retailers and Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MTCs) must include in the sale of vaporizer products a disclosure that the patient or consumer may request to inspect a copy of the product’s associated testing results. Disposable and reusable vaporizer pens also must include a product insert that identifies the materials used in the device’s atomizer coil. Any quarantined vaping product that is resold also must include the item’s original packaging date.

The Commission has mandated that Marijuana Product Manufacturers retain certain records pertaining to marijuana vaporizer ingredients, additives, devices, component parts, or other materials purchased from any manufacturer or supplier; the name and business address of the manufacturer of any cartridge, battery, atomizer coil (and its materials used), hardware, or other component of marijuana vaporizer products; and the Certificate of Analysis for each thickening agent, thinning agent, and terpene infused or incorporated into a marijuana vaporizer device during production.

Starting last December, the Commission conducted three phases of testing into vaporizer products manufactured and sold by licensees. Results are available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission’s first two testing phases investigated VEA and heavy metal (lead) levels in samples of vaporizer products collected from geographically diverse locations. Phase III involved confirmatory tests of certain products that failed for heavy metal concentrations above the acceptable limits for inhalation (500 ppb), and found varying results, to suggest that heavy metal contamination may increase over time. Testing limitations identified during the investigation included limited sampling scope, product batch homogeneity, inconsistent extraction procedures for testing finished cartridge samples, and lack of known sources of metal contamination. VEA has not been detected in any Commission-initiated testing.

After testing methods precluded reliable results, the Commission determined further investigation and collaboration was necessary before issuing a second amended order pertaining to the quarantined vaping products. A survey was issued on July 2, 2020 to obtain public comment from government, industry, scientific, and public health stakeholders, among other constituents, including patients and consumers, to help identify the root cause of the heavy metal contamination, the health effects of elevated lead levels, and whether heavy metal content within vaporizer products could become more prominent without use over time or post-use. The survey closed on July 14, 2020 and public comments are currently available on the Commission’s website under MassCannabisControl.Com/Documents.

The Commission continues to research and evaluate information relative to vaporizer device product manufacturing processes and safety standards in furtherance of its obligation to ensure a safely regulated industry.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Applauds Passage of Amendment to Protect State, Territory, and Tribal Cannabis Programs

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, today applauded the passage of the Blumenauer, McClintock, Holmes Norton, Lee amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science Department funding bill. The measure, which would prevent the Department of Justice from using its funds to impede the implementation of cannabis programs in states, territories, and tribes, passed in a 254-163 vote. 

“For far too long, our federal cannabis policies have been rooted in our discriminatory past and have continued inflicting harm on communities of color. As the public’s views toward cannabis have evolved, Congress has a responsibility to ensure that our policies follow suit and move toward restorative justice,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “I’m proud to have worked alongside Reps. Blumenauer, McClintock, and Holmes Norton on this crucial amendment to protect the progress states, tribes, and territories have made toward ending the discriminatory war on drugs.”

“The American people are demanding a change to our outdated cannabis laws and I am glad to see my colleagues heeding their calls,” said Rep. Blumenauer, founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. “As we work to ultimately end the senseless prohibition of cannabis and the failed war on drugs, these amendments will help ensure the protection of legal state, territory and tribal cannabis programs.”

OLCC Rules Advisory Committee Meetings Added Substances in Marijuana Rules Package AUDIO

OREGON:  The OLCC has released the audio from the July 29, 2020 Licensee and Industry RAC. The topic of the advisory meeting was draft rules concerning additives and added substances in the states legal marijuana products.

Listen to the audio here:

 

Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program Releases Testing Laboratory Provisional License Application Materials

OHIO:The Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program (MMCP) is scheduled to accept new testing laboratory license applications beginning the week of August 3, 2020. On its testing laboratories webpage, the MMCP has posted two documents for potential applicants to assist in understanding the key substantive attributes of the application.

Potential applicants may submit questions regarding the application materials using instructions listed on the testing laboratories webpage. All questions must be submitted by July 31, 2020. The MMCP will then provide the frequently asked questions and MMCP answers to potential applicants.

For more information, visit the MMCP’s testing laboratories webpage.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority Says No To Pot Slushy Machines

OKLAHOMA: The OMMA has received multiple inquiries regarding the processing and dispensing of marijuana-infused slushies on-site at medical marijuana dispensaries.  It is the OMMA’s position that marijuana-infused slushies are unlikely to meet requirements set forth in Oklahoma statutes and rules, including, but not limited to:  

  • All products must be in child-resistant packages. Generally, this means the package must be difficult for a 5-year-old to open; opaque; and, if intended for multiple uses (for example, containing multiple servings), capable of being resealed while remaining child-resistant. [See 63 O.S. 427.2 and OAC 310:681-1-4]
  • The medical marijuana production batch that must be tested is the finished product. In this instance, the finished product is the slushy mixture to be dispensed to patients/caregivers, not the syrup. If water, ice, or any other substance is added to the product, additional testing is required to ensure the product is safe for consumption and final-product labeling is accurate.  [See OAC 310:681-1-4 and OAC 310:681, Subchapters 7 and 8]
  •  Dispensaries are not allowed to alter, package, or label products. In addition, dispensaries must refuse to accept or return any medical marijuana products that have not been properly tested, packaged, and labeled by a licensed processor. [See OAC 310:681-1-4 and OAC 310:681-7-1(b)]

Additionally, slushies are considered food products and must be compliant with the Oklahoma State Department of Health food regulations. For more information, please visit the  OSDH Consumer Health Service Food website.

Maine: 17 New Adult Use Conditional Licenses Issued

MAINE: How big is Maine’s new adult-use cannabis industry? According to the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, there are 17 new adult use conditional licenses. The breakdown includes seven marijuana stores, five cultivation facilities, four products manufacturing facilities, and one testing facility.

FDA Issues Draft Guidance To Encourage Cannabis-Related Clinical Research

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The following quote is attributed to FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy M.D., Ph.D.:

“A range of stakeholders have expressed interest in development of drugs that contain cannabis and compounds found in cannabis. Recent legislative changes have also opened new opportunities for cannabis clinical research. As that body of research progresses and grows, the FDA is working to support drug development in this area.

“It is critical that the FDA continues to do what we can to support the science needed to develop new drugs from cannabis. The FDA believes the drug approval process represents the best way to ensure that safe and effective new medicines, including any drugs that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, are available to patients in need of appropriate medical therapy.

“The agency is committed to supporting the development of these new drugs through the investigational new drug, drug review and drug approval processes – and one key element of this support involves development of guidance, like this one.”

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week issued “Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Compounds: Quality Considerations for Clinical Research, Draft Guidance for Industry,” which describes the FDA’s current thinking on several topics relevant to clinical research related to the development of drugs containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds.
  • The draft guidance covers sources of cannabis for clinical research, information on quality considerations and recommendations regarding calculating tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels.
  • The draft guidance also introduces key FDA regulatory concepts to stakeholders who may be less familiar with the FDA and the FDA’s authorities.