May 21-27, 2019 Dispensary Compliance Updates

by Jayson Filingeri,

In Colorado, Governor Jared Polis signed SB-13 allowing medical cannabis to be recommended for any condition for which opioids can be prescribed. The new law is scheduled to go into effect on August 2nd, after passing through Colorado’s General Assembly.

In Kansas, Governor Laura Kelly has signed into law a bill that would allow profoundly ill people who have been unable to find relief with pharmaceutical medications to avoid prosecution for possessing certain blends of oil extracted from cannabis plants. The protected CBD oils must contain no more than 5% THC. Kansas is one of only four states with no provisions for use of medical cannabis.

In federal and payments news…

The Congressional Budget Office issued estimated budgetary effects for the marijuana banking bill that’s expected to hit the House floor soon. By 2029, banks and credit unions would see deposits jump by $2.1 billion and $350 million, respectively, the CBO estimated. Congressman Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, the bill’s chief sponsor, explained that its enactment would have benefits beyond fiscal savings. “Getting cash off our streets and making our communities safer will come at no cost to the federal government and actually save money while providing a much-needed long-term banking solution for legitimate marijuana businesses across the country.”

On Monday, bankers associations from all fifty states sent a joint letter urging Senator Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, to move the cannabis financial services legislation forward. The letter proclaimed,“leaving the cannabis industry unbanked presents serious public safety, revenue administration, and legal compliance concerns and must be remedied immediately.” Earlier this month, members of the National Association of Attorneys General, which represents the top law enforcement officials in each state, sent a similar letter endorsing the marijuana banking bill. And last week, the National Association of State Treasurers adopted a resolution supporting a legislative fix, writing that “cash-based systems are inefficient, expensive, and opaque, making illicit activity more difficult to track and posing a significant risk to public safety by increasing the likelihood of violent crime.”

This Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing on how to regulate cannabis and its popular ingredient, CBD. The regulator has been cracking down on companies making claims for CBD products in treating serious illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, as MarketWatch reported last week. The FDA is not expecting the hearing to produce concrete decisions, but rather to serve as a platform for all parties to put forth their views. The agency has invited cannabis manufacturers to weigh in on possible regulations regarding items such as dosage and labeling.

The Transportation Security Administration updated its policy on cannabis over the Memorial Day weekend, changing the medical marijuana section of its “What Can I Bring?” webpage from reading “no” to “yes” (with “special instructions”). Specifically, the agency is clarifying that hemp-derived CBD products may now be carried on planes under certain circumstances.

Square is conducting an invite-only beta for payment processing of CBD products. Square’s entry into the CBD space comes as federal legislation to allow broader access to financial services for marijuana businesses is gaining momentum in Congress. In April, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Ron Wyden noted that “as hemp is no longer a controlled substance, financial institutions should feel secure in engaging with this industry.” Meanwhile, Facebook stands firm in its position that marijuana sales are prohibited on the company’s platform.

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