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Dispensary Compliance Updates - March 2019

This article is by Green Bits’ regulatory compliance team which serves as policy, legislative, and regulatory subject matter experts for the cannabis industry.

Below you will find a breakdown of dispensary regulatory compliance updates from March 1, 2019 to March 29, 2019.

march-compliance-updates

Federal

  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK) filed a bill to shield Indian tribes that legalize marijuana from federal harassment.

  • The commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that the agency will be holding listening sessions later this year as it mulls over “alternative” pathways to allow for the inclusion of hemp-derived CBD in food products and dietary supplements.

  • The Safe Banking Act (H.R. 1595) has passed out of committee. There is still work ahead to get it approved by the House, but this is a historic victory for federal cannabis legislation.


Alaska

  • Alaska’s lieutenant governor signed into law rules to allow on-site consumption of marijuana at some licensed retailers, becoming the first state to legalize social cannabis consumption. The rules will go into effect April 11.

Arizona

  • The state Senate unanimously passed SB 1494 last week. The measure would direct the Arizona Department of Health Services to establish standards for independent labs to test medical marijuana for unsafe levels of microbial contamination, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, growth regulators and residual solvents. It has been sent to the House for review.

Arkansas

  • The first medical grade marijuana may be available by April 2019.

  • Arkansas regulators approved a third medical cannabis cultivation business to begin operations.

California

  • The BCC announced that KP Public Affairs of Sacramento was awarded a contract to develop a two-year statewide public awareness and education campaign related to the licensure of commercial cannabis businesses in California. The upcoming campaign will focus on informing the cannabis industry and the public about the benefits of licensing, how to identify licensed businesses, and why for consumers it’s important to purchase products from the legal market.

  • The BCC recently published an updated fact sheet as a resource for those seeking general information regarding cannabis events.

  • "The CDFA is actively contacting annual licensees who have not yet been credentialed into the CCTT system and reminding them that they must become credentialed to remain in compliance with the terms of their state cannabis licenses,” said Rebecca Forée, CDFA communications manager. 1,200 annual license applications are pending. If SB-67 passes, temporary licenses could be extended until the end of 2019.

Florida

  • Only days after Florida’s governor signed a bill allowing medical cannabis dispensaries to sell smokable products, Trulieve, the largest cannabis retailer in the state, began selling them.

Hawaii

  • Regulators announced that out-of-state patients can now buy medical cannabis. Local dispensaries can now verify registered in-state and out-of-state patients with electronic cards and allow purchases of medical cannabis.

Louisiana

  • Louisiana is one step closer to finally delivering medical marijuana since legalization in 2015. Regulatory paperwork and background checks have been completed. Finishing that step will allow Louisiana State University’s medical marijuana grower to move fully into a larger growing facility and start ramping up production.

Maine

  • Maine is withdrawing its $150,000 contract with Metrc because the state is concerned the deal could draw a challenge that results in a delay of recreational marijuana sales. The state’s new Office of Marijuana Policy said it now will seek competitive bids for tracking services by releasing a request for proposals.

Maryland

  • Metrc Bulletin release: The MMCC and Metrc announced the next phase of implementation for patient lookup. Starting on March 6, 2019, Metrc will enable the endpoint for Point of Sale (POS) systems to check patient limits prior to pushing a sale into Metrc. Effective April 1st, Dispensary agents may only dispense medical cannabis to those who can present an MMCC Patient ID Card or MMCC Caregiver ID Card. Dispensary agents must query the MMCC Registry to verify that: 1. The patient or caregiver is currently registered & assigned to one another, and 2. The patient has a current certification, and 3. The patient has not already been dispensed his/her limit of medical cannabis in the past 30 days.

Michigan

  • Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) signed an executive order abolishing the politically appointed Medical Marihuana Licensing Board and creating an agency to oversee the regulation of both medical and recreational marijuana. Whitmer’s order, set to take effect April 30, would create the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs with oversight of laws related to medical and recreational marijuana “to more efficiently regulate” the products. The Republican-led Legislature has 60 days to review and consider whether it wants to reject the order as it did with an environmental executive order in the past month.

  • LARA’s Bureau of Marijuana Regulation (BMR) announced participants for the adult-use working groups.

  • Dozens of un-licensed dispensaries will have to close after the March 31st LARA deadline.

  • Regulators expect to have draft recreational cannabis rules ready by June.

  • On April 30, a new state agency within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (the Marijuana Regulatory Agency) is expected to take over licensing for both the medical and recreational marijuana markets. While the current licensing board is required to meet in public to approve or deny marijuana business licenses, the new agency will make those decisions behind closed doors. The new agency will be required to hold four public meetings a year to discuss the regulation of the marijuana industry, but any discussion of licensing decisions will come after those decisions have been made.

Missouri

  • Missouri will begin accepting patient applications on June 4, 2019.

Nevada

  • An audit by Nevada regulators determined that the state missed out on $500,000 in tax revenue due to discrepancies in data entry by marijuana businesses.

  • Governor's Advisory Panel for the Creation of a Cannabis Compliance Board met on 3/15/19. One topic of discussion was cannabis lab testing with linked presentation outlining the tracking process.

North Dakota

  • North Dakota’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened for business Friday in a Fargo mini-mall, two years after voters took matters into their own hands to legalize the drug for treatment.

Oklahoma

  • The Senate Rules Committee unanimously approved a medical cannabis regulation bill, "The Unity Bill." The bill is expected to clear the state Senate this week.

  • Governor signed into law the Unity Bill (House Bill 2612). The new legislation codifies a new regulatory bureau, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority, within the State Department of Health and establishes a registry for qualified patients and their caregivers. Stitt’s office said the bill will take effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, which must occur by 5 p.m. on May 31, 2019.

Oregon

  • New OLCC Commissioner, Kiauna Floyd, will be representing the Third Congressional District (western Multnomah County, northeastern Clackamas County).

  • OLCC has 3 Metrc specialists now and will be hiring 2 more focused on compliance.

  • Oregon regulators announced changes to marijuana pre-roll tracking and taxation rules effective April 1st. Starting April 1st, pre-roll items will now be separated in to new Item Categories, “Plain” (non-infused) and “Infused."

  • The change in Metrc coincides with the change in labeling requirements (product sell down) that go into effect on April 1, 2019. Items with labels that were approved prior to August 15, 2018, are included in the “sell down” period. On August 15, 2018 new packaging and labeling rules went into effect. All package and label applications received by the OLCC on and after August 15, 2018 are evaluated according to those rules.

Utah

  • The DOH will begin accepting patient applications by March 1, 2020.

  • Utah has started its search for tracking software that will form the spine of its medical cannabis program, serving as the repository for sensitive patient information and logging the movements of each marijuana plant. The state's deadline for beginning to accept cannabis patient applications is March 1, 2020.

Washington

  • Leaf updates - As mentioned in a previous post, Leaf software update (Release 1.37.5) will include a variety of workflow improvements, especially related to waste reporting, inventory type attributes, lab results, inventory transfers, and the ability to adjust previously entered sales data. The launch was initially planned for March, but an LCB representative confirmed today that it will likely be pushed to June. "The 1.37.5 release that we are working on with MJ Freeway will have quite a few updates that would require API integrator work. We’ve also built in extra time for the integrators when they are doing their testing to allow for changes they might need to make."

West Virginia

  • West Virginia will begin issuing patient and caregiver cards on July 1, 2019.


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Author

Brittany Radice


Compliance Officer

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