Ohio Department Of Commerce Submits Proposed Rule Package To The Common Sense Initiative

Update from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

Update from the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program

OHIO: The Ohio Department of Commerce Medical Marijuana Control Program is submitting the following proposed rule package for review to the Common Sense Initiative and soliciting public input on draft changes to Ohio Administrative Code Chapter 3796.

The proposed draft language addresses the following amendments:

  • 3796:2-1-06 (Amended): This rule outlines requirements for a medical marijuana cultivation facility to obtain a certificate of operation. The proposed amendment clarifies that cultivation facilities are not eligible for the agricultural exemption from Ohio’s building code.
  • 3796:2-2-03, 3796:3-2-03, and 3796:4-2-06 (Amended): These rules outline requirements for cultivators, processors, and testing labs to dispose of medical marijuana waste material. The proposed amendment removes an option that could have required the Department to take possession of and destroy medical marijuana waste material.
  • 3796:5-2-01 (Amended): Every employee of a licensed medical marijuana facility is required to be licensed by the state, and this rule outlines requirements for obtaining the necessary employee identification cards. The proposed amendments remove unnecessary requirements from the list of materials to be submitted, including social security cards, proof of residence, and duplicative submissions related to criminal background checks.
  • 3796:5-6-01 (Amended): This rule relates to the Department’s enforcement authority over licensees, and the proposed amendment deletes duplicative language related to confidential information and public records.
  • 3796:5-6-04 (New): The proposed new rule would provide the Director flexibility to grant variances in instances where the variance is in the public interest and not inconsistent with statute.

Please review the revised draft amended and new rules and provide any comments you may have by 5:00 p.m. on March 22, 2019 to MMCP@com.state.oh.us and CSIPublicComments@governor.ohio.gov.

Please include the words “MMCP Commerce Rule Review” in the subject line of all comments sent via regular mail or e-mail. The Ohio Department of Commerce will review and consider the comments received before the rules are submitted for formal rule proposal and adoption proceedings.

OLCC Marks To Address MMJ Regulatory Changes At ICBC

OREGON: Oregon Liquor Control Commission Executive Director Steve Marks will provide an overview of the agency’s medical marijuana tracking program and an outlook on the steps the agency is taking to balance its regulatory responsibilities while accommodating the needs of medical marijuana patients in a keynote address at the International Cannabis and Business Conference.

OLCC news

OLCC news

The OLCC began limited oversight of more than 825 medical marijuana grow sites on July 1, 2018.  Those grow sites are still regulated by the Oregon Health Authority through the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP.)  Grow site administrators (GSAs) with more than 12 mature plants are required to use the OLCC’s Cannabis Tracking System.

WHO:  Executive Director Steve Marks will be introduced by actor-turned-Oregon-cannabis-licensee Jim Belushi, who has been engaged in advocacy discussions with the Oregon Cannabis Commission, the OLCC, and other stakeholders on behalf of medical marijuana patients, including those combatting opioid addiction.

Additionally a panel of OLCC policy experts will provide an update on the recreational marijuana and medical marijuana tracking programs, and take questions from attendees.

OLCC staff will also be available to meet with OLCC licensees and OMMP GSAs at the OLCC conference booth.

WHEN: Friday, September 28, 2018  9:30 AM

WHERE: Hilton Portland Downtown, 921 SW 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

New York’s Proposed Expansion Of Medical Marijuana Regulations

By Joshua S. Bauchner and Anthony J. D’Artiglio

NEW  YORK: On August 10, 2017 the New York State Department of Health announced a bevy of proposed new regulations and changes to existing regulations designed to update New York’s medical marijuana program.  These new regulations are part of the State’s continued efforts to expand and modernize its medical marijuana program following the addition of chronic pain as a covered illness earlier this year.  This article details the proposed regulations and their impact on the medical marijuana landscape.

Expanded Marijuana Products

Under the current regulations, the dispensable forms of marijuana are severely restricted.  However, the proposed amendments to Section 1004.11(g) greatly expand the marijuana products which can be administered by dispensaries, to now include:  capsules, chewable and effervescent tablets, lozenges, topical forms, transdermal patches and metered ground plant preparations.  Notably, although ground plant preparations are now allowed, the proposed additions to Section 1004.11(g) include a statement that “[s]moking is not an approved route of administration.”

Although not an expansion on the sale of marijuana products, proposed regulation Section 1004.12(b) permits the sale of items which “promote health and well-being” although are not marijuana products.”  Although, what constitutes approved health and well-being products is not yet defined within the proposed regulations, the focus is plainly in line with the treatment of cannabis as a medicine to promote healthy living.  Additionally, this proposal will allow dispensaries to expand their offerings beyond “marihuana products and related products” lending further legitimacy to the enterprise.

Open Dispensary Facilities

The proposed regulations greatly expand access to dispensary facilities to incorporate prospective patients and practitioners.  Specifically, Section 1004.12(f) is to be amended to loosen the restrictions on access to facilities, although Section 1004.12(i) does place the onus on registered organizations to maintain a detailed visitor log of all non-employees accessing the facility.  These critical changes will allow prospective patients and practitioners prior access to facilities thereby allowing patients to better assess the potential for marijuana as a treatment option.

Practitioner Rules

The proposed regulations relax the requirements for practitioners who seek to prescribe medical marijuana to qualifying patients, as Section 1004.1(a)(3) would now allow those practitioners to complete a two hour course before issuing certifications.  Under the old rules, practitioners were required to complete four hour course, thus placing more onerous restrictions on qualified health care providers seeking to enter the field.

Advertising

Although registered organizations still face restrictions on advertising, Section 1004.16(m) of the proposed regulations explicitly permits dispensaries to educate “practitioners about the approved medical marihuana products offered by the registered organization.”  Furthermore, the proposed regulations loosen the restrictions in Section 1004.16(i), which only require registered organizations to submit advertisements to the Department of Health for approval if the advertisement “makes any claims or statements regarding efficacy.”

Miscellaneous Regulations 

Despite relaxing certain regulations to expand the program, there are a number of new, proposed regulations focused on ensuring facility operator compliance.  Notably, Section 1004.12(a) has been amended to require that the onsite licensed pharmacist at each facility must also complete “a four-hour course,” thus ensuring that the relaxed two-hour course requirement in the proposed regulations are inapplicable to the onsite pharmacist.

In that same vein, proposed regulation Section 1004.12(d) places an additional burden on dispensaries to “ensure the prescription monitoring program registry is consulted” prior to all marijuana sale transactions.

The new proposed regulations also add a new testing requirement pursuant to Section 1004.14(h) which now provides for stability testing on each brand and form of medical marijuana products.

Furthermore, New York proposes to add regulations addressing the disposal of medical marijuana under new Section 1004.24, which requires, among other things, that all organizations obtain approval from the Department of Health for disposal methods and that all organizations create and maintain detailed records of all marijuana disposals which are subject to Department of Health review.

Although New York is moving towards a less restrictive medical marijuana environment, individuals and businesses which operate within the cannabis sphere must be mindful of the exacting and frequently changing regulations.  Experienced legal counsel such as Ansell, Grimm & Aaron, P.C. can assist with ensuring compliance with all government regulations in this ever-changing and rapidly expanding marketplace.


For more information, please visit us at ansellgrimm.com, follow us @THCCounselors, and contact us at (973) 247-9000.

San Jose Leaders Eye Changes To Medical Marijuana Rules

CALIFORNIA: With just weeks to go before a December deadline for compliance, medical marijuana providers are still balking at some of San Jose‘s rules and city officials are offering to ease them.

Nineteen pot providers have been seeking to meet San Jose’s regulatory requirements by Dec. 18. The rules, adopted in June 2014, restrict pot stores to select industrial and commercial areas away from schools and parks and impose a host of security, tax payment and other requirements. Dispensaries that fail to meet the requirements by the deadline face closure.

But one rule in particular requiring pot stores to demonstrate that their marijuana is cultivated locally and not from collectives around the state remains a sticking point. City officials plan to ask the City Council to ease the rules Tuesday, allowing another five months for shops to sell through products obtained from “third-party” vendors and letting San Jose pot clubs buy and sell to one another.

 

Las Vegas Police Face Civil Rights Lawsuit Over Medical Marijuana Arrests

NEVADA: A former Las Vegas woman claims she and a guest were falsely imprisoned in 2013 after police searched her home and illegally confiscated her supply of medical marijuana.

Courtney Rogalski, a medical marijuana patient who now lives in Canada, and California resident Westley McNeal filed a civil rights lawsuit in August against the Metropolitan Police Department and several officers. In September, the defendants transferred the case from Clark County District Court to U.S. District Court.

Attorney Craig Anderson, who is representing Metro in the litigation, could not be reached for comment.

According to the lawsuit, Las Vegas police detectives searched Rogalski’s home on Aug. 30, 2013, with a warrant signed by Justice of the Peace Cynthia Cruz.

The detectives found 382 grams of marijuana, or about 13 ounces, and 32 marijuana plants. Rogalski was arrested and charged with two felonies: possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

“Ms. Rogalski, at the time of her arrest, held a valid medical marijuana card and had a valid medical marijuana waiver which allowed her to have in her possession, custody and control 15 ounces of usable marijuana and 49 marijuana plants,” according to her lawsuit.

 

Connecticut Gets 19 Proposals For New Dispensaries

CONNECTICUT: Off of news that the state would be adding as many as three new medical cannabis dispensaries, 19 different groups have submitted proposals to be part of the potential expansion.

No details on who the applicants are or where the proposed dispensaries would be located have been released.

Many speculate they will be located in the more populated New Haven and Fairfield counties. Combined, the two counties account for over 50% of the state’s patient medical cannabis registrations, but only 2 of the 6 currently operating dispensaries are located there.

“We think we had a great response,” Jonathan Harris, the department’s commissioner, said. “We have a healthy pool from which to do our analysis and make an appropriate selection of up to three.”

Some Minnesota Marijuana Patients Opting To Buy Illegally

MINNESOTA: Just two months after Minnesota launched its medical marijuana program, some patients turned off by high costs say they are back to buying the drug illegally because it’s the only way they can afford it.

State officials and the companies hired to make marijuana products trumpeted the program’s medical approach — pills and oils, no leaf products — when it launched in July. But some patients say the highly restricted and regulated system is costing them hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month– none of it covered by insurance.

Company executives defend their prices — a small vial of marijuana extract can run nearly $130 in Minnesota, more than double the cost of a similar product in Colorado, where recreational marijuana is legal and they’ve sold it medically for more than a decade — and say costs will fall over time. But they’re also taking steps to help some buyers, including raising money to cut the price for lower-income patients.

California Lawmakers Announce Deal On Medical Marijuana Legislation

 

Elizabeth Warren Urges Feds To Support Research On Medical Marijuana’s Benefits

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: The federal government has a “responsibility” to facilitate sensible research into marijuana’s medical benefits, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and seven other senators urged in a letter issued last week to multiple federal drug and health officials.

“While the federal government has emphasized research on the potential harms associated with the use of marijuana, there is still very limited research on the potential health benefits of marijuana — despite the fact that millions of Americans are now eligible by state law to use the drug for medical purposes,” the letter reads.

The senators praised the White House’s recent lift of what was a mandatory bureaucratic review process, long criticized by researchers and lawmakers alike, that had stifled scientific research into the plant. But, they also encouraged the federal drug and health agencies to do more.

 

Massachusetts Overhauls Rules For Medical Marijuana Outlets

MASSACHUSETTS: Massachusetts health authorities Friday dramatically overhauled the process for granting licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, aiming to streamline the system and remove politics.

Regulators from the administration of Governor Charlie Baker said the revamped licensing strips away the subjectivity and secrecy that had tainted the system under former governor Deval Patrick’s tenure. Controversy surrounding the previous system sparked more than two dozen lawsuits, leaving patients without any dispensaries 2½ years after voters approved marijuana for medical use.

“This change creates a more streamlined, efficient, and transparent process that allows the Commonwealth to maintain the highest standards of both public safety and accessibility,” Dr. Monica Bharel, the state’s public health commissioner, said in a statement.