USDA Publishes Final Rule For The Domestic Production Of Hemp

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the final rule regulating the production of hemp in the United States. The final rule incorporates modifications to regulations established under the interim final rule (IFR) published in October 2019. The modifications are based on public comments following the publication of the IFR and lessons learned during the 2020 growing season. The final rule is available for viewing in the Federal Register and will be effective on March 22, 2021.

“With the publication of this final rule, USDA brings to a close a full and transparent rule-making process that started with a hemp listening session in March 2019,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Greg Ibach. “USDA staff have taken the information you have provided through three comment periods and from your experiences over a growing season to develop regulations that meet Congressional intent while providing a fair, consistent, science-based process for states, tribes and individual producers. USDA staff will continue to conduct education and outreach to help industry achieve compliance with the requirements.”

Key provisions of the final rule include licensing requirements; recordkeeping requirements for maintaining information about the land where hemp is produced; procedures for testing the THC concentration levels for hemp; procedures for disposing of non-compliant plants; compliance provisions; and procedures for handling violations.

Background: 

On Oct. 31, 2019, USDA published the IFR that provided specific details on the process and criteria for review of plans USDA receives from states and Indian tribes regarding the production of hemp and established a plan to monitor and regulate the production of hemp in those states or Indian tribes that do not have an approved state or Tribal plan.

The IFR was effective immediately after publication in the Federal Register and provided a 60-day public comment period. On Dec. 17, 2019, USDA extended the comment period until Jan. 29, 2020, to allow stakeholders additional time to provide feedback. USDA re-opened the comment period for 30 days, from Sept. 8 to Oct. 8, 2020 seeking additional comments from all stakeholders, especially those who were subject to the regulatory requirements of the IFR during the 2020 production cycle. In all, USDA received about 5,900 comments.

On Feb. 27, 2020, USDA announced the delay of enforcement of the requirement for labs to be registered by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the requirement that producers use a DEA-registered reverse distributor or law enforcement to dispose of non-compliant plants under certain circumstances until Oct. 31, 2021, or the final rule is published, whichever comes first. This delay has been further extended in the final rule to December 2022.

The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill) directed USDA to issue regulations and guidance to implement a program for the commercial production of hemp in the United States. The authority for hemp production provided in the 2014 Farm Bill was extended until January 1, 2022, by the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act (Pub. L. 116-260) (2021 Continuing Appropriations Act) allowing states and institutions of higher education to continue to grow or cultivate industrial hemp at certified and registered locations within the state for research and education purposes under the authorities of the 2014 Farm Bill.

More information about the provisions of the final rule is available on the Hemp Production web page on the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website.

WSLCB Actions: New Permanent Rule For Certificates Of Compliance For Cannabis Business Locations And Extension Of Emergency Rules On Prohibition Of Vitamin E Acetate

January 6, 2021 Board Action

On Jan. 6, during a regularly scheduled meeting, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board took the following actions:

Adopted Emergency Rules (CR-103E) Regarding Vitamin E Acetate

Emergency Rules (WAC 314-55-1055) – Marijuana Product Disclosure Form (Effective January 6, 2021)

Emergency Rules (WAC 314-55-1065) – LCB Vitamin E Acetate Prohibition (formerly LCB Vitamin E Acetate Ban) (Effective January 6, 2021)

Emergency Rules (WAC 314-55-077) – Marijuana Processor License – Privileges, Requirements and Fees (Effective January 6, 2021)

Emergency Rules (WAC 314-55-079) – Marijuana Retailer License – Privileges, Requirements and Fees (Effective January 6, 2021)

 

Adopted Permanent Rule (CR-103P)  Certificate of Compliance – location of business upon application submission)

Implementation of SSB 6206 – Marijuana Business Premise Certificate of Compliance (Effective February 6, 2021)

Washington: Cannabis Testing Lab Praxis Shut Down For Falsifying Test Results

More than 1200 sample tests given elevated THC potency results by lab in Lewis Co.

WASHINGTON:  The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) issued a summary suspension of Praxis Laboratory’s certification to conduct quality assurance located in Centralia, Washington was found to have falsified testing data to provide high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potency results for more than 1200 samples of cannabis.

During the investigation the lab owner attempted to destroy evidence of falsified data in an effort to obstruct LCB’s ability to conduct a complete investigation.

Labeling cannabis with falsely high THC potency levels is a form of consumer deception and is prohibited under Washington law. THC is the natural chemical compound responsible for cannabis’s psychoactive effect. Because of this, cannabis users seeking more pronounced psychoactive results may choose to buy cannabis with higher levels of THC.

The summary suspension is effective for 180 days beginning December 10, 2020 until June 8, 2021. During that time the WSLCB will seek permanent revocation of the “marijuana laboratory” certification due to fraud, and the subsequent investigation obstruction. Moving forward, the lab will no longer be allowed to test cannabis for licensees in Washington.

The LCB educates licensees to reach compliance and enforces Washington’s liquor, cannabis, vape and tobacco laws and regulations. The WSLCB is mandated to ensure that licensees in Washington State follow state laws and regulations. When licensees fail to comply with state law, the Board, under state authority can take action including the issuance of suspensions to ensure public health and safety.

Congressman Blumenauer Reacts To New Report Detailing Vast Economic Benefits To MORE Act

CBO projections show that cannabis reform will lead to huge growth in revenue, cuts to federal prison spending, and more.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Following a historic vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to end the federal prohibition on cannabis last week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, or CBO, released a new report today detailing vast economic benefits to the legislation.

Among other things, the agency found that the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act would increase revenues by about $13.7 billion, cut federal prison spending by $1 billion, and reduce time served in federal prison among existing and future inmates by 73,000 person-years.

U.S. Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR), co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus and a key sponsor of the MORE Act, lauded these findings today on the House floor.

“It was sad that my Republican colleagues were unable to understand why we voted to reform our failed prohibition of cannabis. They don’t care about honoring the will of the people and they are unable to grasp the enormity of the racial injustice and damage by selective enforcement against young Black and Brown Americans,” Blumenauer said. “But the CBO score may have some other reasons for them. It shows that the MORE Act would reduce 73,000 person-years of prison time. It would increase revenues by $13.7 billion. It would provide $3 billion for job training and legal aid to people harmed by the war on drugs. While doing all of this, it would reduce the deficit by $7.344 billion.”

If the MORE Act becomes law, the CBO report also estimates that from 2021 – 2030, the U.S. Department of Justice would spend $3 billion from the MORE Act’s Opportunity Trust Fund to provide job training, legal aid, and other services to people harmed by the “War on Drugs.” During this same period, the legislation would lead to $2.7 billion in Small Business Association funding for state and local grants to make loans to cannabis businesses and help governments develop cannabis-licensing rules.

“Even if you don’t care about reducing the damage to Black and Brown Americans, or honoring the will of the people, the economics make it clear,” Blumenauer continued. “Once again, the people are right, and the people deserve strong Congressional support.”

The report released today by the CBO can be found here.

Full text of the MORE Act can be found here.

New Jersey Attorney General Grewal Issues Additional Guidance To Prosecutors On Handling Low-Level Marijuana Possession-Related Cases

NEW JERSEY:  Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal has issued additional guidance to prosecutors concerning the prosecution of low-level marijuana cases, supplementing his August 29, 2018 and November 4, 2020 guidance.

Attorney General Grewal directed all New Jersey municipal, county, and state prosecutors to adjourn, until at least January 25, 2021, any juvenile or adult case solely involving the following marijuana possession-related offenses:

  • possession of marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(a)(3);
  • possession of marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(a)(4);
  • being under the influence of marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(c);
  • failure to make lawful disposition of marijuana or hashish in violation of N.J.S. 2C:35-10(d);
  • use or possession with intent to use drug paraphernalia under N.J.S. 2C:36-2 involving only marijuana or hashish;
  • possession of a controlled dangerous substance while operating a motor vehicle in violation of N.J.S. 39:4-49.1 involving only marijuana or hashish; and
  • any disorderly persons offense or petty disorderly persons offense subject to conditional discharge pursuant to N.J.S. 2C:36A-1 involving only marijuana or hashish.

For cases involving the above-enumerated charges as well as other offenses, the Attorney General directed prosecutors to use their discretion to either postpone the case in its entirety or seek dismissal, without prejudice, of the marijuana possession-related charge(s) and proceed with prosecution of the remaining charges. Notably, today’s guidance does not affect the prosecution of cases charging distribution of marijuana or possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.

“Fairness demands that we suspend prosecution of marijuana possession-related cases while we await direction from the Legislature on the parameters for decriminalization of marijuana and legalization of regulated adult-use cannabis,” said Attorney General Grewal. “It simply does not make sense or serve justice to proceed with prosecutions on charges that may be foreclosed soon through legislative action.”

Previously, on November 4th, the Attorney General issued guidance to law enforcement emphasizing that they have broad discretion in handling low-level marijuana offenses, and encouraging them to exercise that discretion in light of anticipated legislative action that may decriminalize marijuana.

Attorney General Grewal reiterated that more comprehensive guidance, including direction on handling previously adjudicated matters, will follow when the Legislature provides details of the framework for marijuana decriminalization and the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

Guidance for Marijuana Possession Cases Pending in Municipal and Superior Courts: click here.

Guidance Regarding Municipal Prosecutors’ Discretion in Prosecuting Marijuana and Other Criminal Offenses, August 29, 2018: click here.

Interim Guidance on the Constitutional Amendment Legalizing Cannabis, November 4, 2020: click here.

Washington: WSLCB Extended Public Comment Period For Supplemental Proposed Rules

WSR #20-20-040:  Quality Control Testing and Products Requirements

WASHINGTON: The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board has extended the public comment period for input on supplemental proposed rules regarding marijuana quality control rules described in chapter 314-55 WAC.

This notice and other relevant rule-making materials may be viewed at lcb.wa.gov/laws/laws-and-rules under Proposed Rules.

The Liquor and Cannabis Board encourages your participation in the rule-making process by giving input on this rule.

Public Comment
Please forward your initial comments to the Liquor and Cannabis Board by mail, e-mail, or fax by November 19, 2020.

By mail:
Rules Coordinator
Liquor and Cannabis Board
P.O. Box 43080
Olympia, WA 98504-3080

By e-mail:
rules@lcb.wa.gov

By fax:
360-664-9689

Ohio Board Of Pharmacy Publishes Updated Patient & Caregiver Numbers For June 2020

OHIO: The State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy today published updated patient & caregiver numbers for June 2020. These numbers include:

  • 147,245 Recommendations
  • 116,497 Registered patients
    • 8,349 Patients with Veteran Status
    • 8,713 Patients with Indigent Status
    • 644 Patients with a Terminal Diagnosis
  • 91,330 Unique patients who purchased medical marijuana (as reported to OARRS by licensed dispensaries)
  • 13,140 Registered Caregivers

For the full list of program numbers, please visit the Program Update page.

OLCC Marijuana Advisory Committee Meeting Is Thursday July 9, 2020

OREGON: The next OLCC Marijuana Advisory Committee Meeting will take place Thursday, July 9, 2020

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, we are holding our meetings virtually. An audio recording of the meeting will be posted on our website.

You can listen live using your phone: 1 (872) 240-3311 Access Code: 786-241-877

 

Pritzker Administration Announces Fourth Month Sales Totals For Illinois Adult Use Cannabis

State’s new adult-use cannabis industry generated more than $37 million in sales in April

ILLINOIS: The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has announced preliminary numbers show statewide adult-use cannabis sales in April totaled $37,260,497.89. Dispensaries across the state sold 818,954 items over the 30-day period. Sales to Illinois residents totaled $29,735,650.41, while sales to out-of-state residents totaled $7,524,847.47. These figures do not include taxes collected. A portion of every cannabis sale will be reinvested in communities harmed most by the failed war on drugs.

Medical and adult use cannabis dispensaries remain open as part of the essential businesses and operations named in Governor Pritzker’s executive order signed on March 20, 2020. Both sides of the cannabis industry were included to ensure the cannabis supplier industry protects medical cannabis patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the revenue generated by adultuse cannabis sales funds the important social justice and equity goals at the core of Illinois’ adult-use law.

“Our top priority is to ensure consumers are safe when they go to a dispensary to purchase cannabis,” said Toi Hutchinson, Senior Advisor for Cannabis Control to Gov. Pritzker. “The steps we’ve taken to increase social distancing at dispensaries are accomplishing that, while also enabling this new industry to continue to grow. As such, curbside pickup will remain an option for medical cannabis users to obtain the product they need through May 30.”

Dispensaries are permitted to sell medical cannabis outside of their limited access area on their property or on a public walkway or curb adjacent to the dispensary. Medical cannabis patients will be able to continue to utilize their designated caregiver to purchase medicine for them. However, dispensaries may not deliver medical cannabis to a patient or caregiver’s home. These rules do not apply to adult-use cannabis sales; those must still take place inside the limited access area. A complete list of the rules extended may be found here.

Oregon Delivery, Curbside Pickup Rules Eased To Help During COVID-19 Crisis

Applications Prioritized, Temporary Action Eases Delivery Requirements

OREGON: The Oregon Liquor Control Commission took action designed to ease the economic hardship faced by the hospitality industry as result of public health mandates to help stop the spread of the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19).  The Commission’s action relaxes some of the requirements relating to delivery of malt beverages, wine and cider by licensees who qualify for same-day delivery.

At its monthly meeting today the Commission approved emergency rules to enable licensees that currently have an Off-Premises license – or a license that includes Off-Premises Sales Privileges with Same-Day Delivery approval to make delivery of malt beverages, wine and cider to customers at curbside. Home delivery was already permissible, but with the Commission’s action today, the hours for same-day delivery of alcohol have been extended to 2:30 a.m.

Separately, Commission staff have created a streamlined application process for existing Limited On-Premises Sales and Full On-Premises Sales Licensees (restaurants & bars) to start selling malt beverages, wine and cider to go. Qualified licensees can apply for a “90-day Authority To Operate” (ATO) with an Off-Premises Sales license.

“We are looking to help our licensees – economically helping them get every dollar they can, but also administratively by giving them the tools they need,” said Steve Marks, OLCC Executive Director. “These are difficult times for all our industries, and we are looking across our licensee types to do what we can do to help business.”

Curbside delivery includes delivery to a location that is within 100 feet of the boundary of the licensed premises. Licensees can utilize e-commerce operators (beverage & food-delivery app couriers) for delivery provided that the e-commerce providers and the licensees comply with amended delivery rules and the temporary policy which can be located here OAR 845-006-0392 and OAR 845-006-0396.

Licensees seeking to apply for a 90-day ATO with an Off-Premises Sales license can begin the process online here. Statewide there are approximately 5500 eligible licensees for this license; the processing time for each application will vary and a timeframe for granting the ATO cannot be specified.

The Governor of Oregon declared an emergency under ORS 401.165 due to the public health threat posed by the novel infectious coronavirus (COVID-19). The Governor has ordered that immediate implementation of social distancing and community mitigation measures necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Governor’s March 17, 2020 Executive Order 20-07 further prohibits on-site consumption of food and drink at restaurants, bars, and similar establishments.   The penalty for failure to comply includes immediate suspension of the license of the licensed premises.

Licensees that have general questions about their license should contact Licensing Services at olcc.liquorlicenseapplication@oregon.gov.

Click here for the COVID-19 Temporary Changes: Off-Premises Sales & Delivery Fact Sheet