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June 11-17, 2019 Dispensary Compliance Updates


In cannabis banking and payments news, Columbia Care, the first and only cannabis company in the United States capable of directly accepting a credit card for cannabis purchases, announced a national launch of its CNC Card. Recent expansion of the program into the Company’s Delaware and Pennsylvania markets from New York will be followed later this month by availability in Illinois and Arizona, with expansion to all Columbia Care locations by the end of 2019. Although the card is currently only available for use at Columbia Care locations, the company is presently "evaluating opportunities through targeted partnerships for broader market adoption as the premier and only credit payment option available to the cannabis industry," noted the release.

In California, state officials plan to extend the period during which marijuana growers and retailers can operate on provisional permits by five years. Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed the bill as hundreds of farmers faced the expiration of temporary licenses and the prospect that they would have to shut down operations. The proposal faces opposition from environmental groups. They object that it would allow cannabis farms to remain out of compliance with laws aimed at protecting waterways, land and the public. So far, only 39 retailers have received regular licenses while 2,751 are still operating on provisional or temporary permits.

The Maine legislature could vote this week on the state's new adult-use marijuana rules. The state’s rules are designed to allow municipalities to opt in or out of allowing sales of adult-use marijuana, which voters legalized in 2016, and only a handful of cities and towns have laid the groundwork for retail sales. That means it’s possible marijuana will be for sale in only a few of the state’s nearly 500 cities, towns, and plantations when it arrives in stores, likely in 2020. The Maine Municipal Association is working with cities and towns in the state to craft rules that work best for them.

Since the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board was abolished at the end of April, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency has dramatically picked up the pace of reviewing business applications. In May, the first full month of taking over licensing responsibilities, the MRA reviewed, and either approved, denied or gave preliminary approval to 213 license applications. In contrast, the licensing board, which was abolished earlier this year by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, was considering an average of 95 applications a month. As the state’s legal marijuana market for adult recreational use starts later this year, quick and efficient licensing will ensure that the market succeeds.

New Mexico's medical cannabis program no longer applies solely to residents of the state. As of Friday, the definition of a “qualified patient” will no longer include the term “resident of New Mexico.” That term was replaced with “person.” Medical cannabis producer, Ultra Health, noticed the change in language and launched a campaign targeted towards residents of Texas who live close to New Mexico. As more medical cannabis states allow for reciprocity, New Mexico could see patients coming from other medical cannabis states to take advantage of a free card and then use it in their home state.

In Oklahoma, HB2612, also known as the Unity Bill, is set to take effect on Aug. 29th. The bill requires seed-to-sale inventory tracking, so every commercial business will have to track their product throughout the system. State officials have yet to identify the software to be used for the state's traceability system and said that "updates will be available as we get closer to the Unity Bill taking effect."

Utah regulators anticipate business licenses to be awarded in mid-July at which time state officials will release the names of the awarded licenses to the public.

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Brittany Radice

Compliance Officer

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