Missouri Medical Marijuana Makes Moves

Missouri Medical Marijuana Makes Moves

Over 300 Missouri medical marijuana licenses will be distributed in the state in 2019. Is the state about to pop off?

As of February 7, 2019, more than $3 million medical marijuana license fees have been paid since the state began accepting pre-filed applications a month ago. Over 400 applications have been submitted to the Department of Health since then.

Among those applications, 226 were for dispensaries, 128 were for cultivation facilities and 64 forms for infused product manufacturing.

Missouri Medical Marijuana

Amendment 2 legalizes growing, manufacturing, selling and consuming marijuana and marijuana products for medicinal use at the state level. The state began accepting pre-filed applications in January 2019.

According to backers of Amendment 2, 192 dispensaries will be ready and operational for patients by 2020. The amendment sets up the following fee schedule:

  • Patient fees are $25 per year;
  • Dispensary fees are $6,000 initially, then $10,000 per year;
  • Cultivation fees are $10,000 initially, then $25,000 per year; and
  • Infused-products fees are $6,000 initially, then $10,000 per year.

The state will issue at least 61 licenses to cultivate marijuana, which works out to one cultivator license per 100,000 Missouri residents, according to the amendment. At least 82 licenses will be issued to makers of cannabis-infused products.

On Pace For A Scheduled Start

While patients will be able to begin the application process for their medical marijuana licenses starting June 4th, those who did not pre-file their business applications must wait until August 4th. After all applications are in, the state has until December 31, 2019 to approve the applications.

It is then assumed that the Missouri medical marijuana industry will be launching in January of 2020. The state governor is committed to the will of people and has given his word to allow the medical marijuana industry in the state to progress unhindered. The state is implementing a system similar to Oregon and Colorado’s medical marijuana programs, and it is moving fast just like Oklahoma’s current program.

The state’s speed of implementation is impressive, but citizens have noticed a serious flaw in an interpretation of the amendment.

Not All Is Well

The Missouri medical marijuana program is moving ahead as scheduled, but people have brought up an issue pertaining to the confidentiality of those applying to work in the industry. I.e. the state has not released any information regarding the identities of those applying.

A section in Amendment 2 requires DHSS to “maintain the confidentiality of reports or other information obtained from an applicant or licensee,” but backers of the Amendment are claiming that tis was not the intended meaning.

Backers of Amendment 2 have said that provision of the legal text is not meant to shield the identities of business-related medical marijuana license applicants from public disclosure. And a week ago, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sued state government over the issue, asking a judge to order DHSS to release copies of documents submitted with the pre-filed fees.

It looks like Missouri medical marijuana in on track. Sure it has hit some speed bumps, but so has every other state legalizing either medicinally or recreationally. Compared to other states, Missouri is ahead of the pack with its timeline.

It seems that the industry in Missouri will be getting off its feet in a year’s time, but it is definitely too soon to say whether the state can stick to their timeline once the applications start flooding in.

Rosin Explained: How It’s Made

Rosin Explained: How It’s Made

Rosin can be made a couple different ways. These techniques will produce vastly different results.

It carries a hefty price tag compared to other concentrates. It’s usually three times the price of your run of the mill wax and shatter. Rosin became extremely popular in 2018 as concentrates became more accessible in the legal industry.

With more people using concentrates now compared to any time in the past, many seek the cleanest option. Most concentrates are made with some type of solvent like butane or propane. Rosin is the exception.

Early Days of Rosin

The discovery of rosin is fairly recent, with widespread knowledge not becoming easily accessible to the home-extractor until around 2015. The new concentrate exploded because it is easy to make at home; all you need is a hair straightener and some parchment paper.

While pressing a nugget of cannabis between the hair straightener will get results, it is very minimal. Eventually, people invested in larger heat presses that could press large amount of cannabis for higher yields. While this was more effective, it wasn’t always the cleanest.

A problem with early rosin technology wasn’t so much the technology itself, but the product being used. Rosin is normally made from freshly harvested cannabis, that is then frozen for a period of time. This preserves the plant as close to its live state as possible, maintaining stronger terpene profiles prior to curing

While it might have been fresh, the flower used was not always clean due to pesticides and other chemicals that aren’t flushed out prior to pressing. This is much more strictly regulated now, but many transitioned to a much more effective way of making rosin: Bubble hash.

Bubble Hash Rosin

how to make bubble hash

Ice water hash being made.

Bubble hash is actually a usable concentrate on its own. While not as concentrated as waxes, shatters or live resins, bubble hash is one of the most basic and oldest methods of extraction.

Using micron filtered bags, the fresh frozen cannabis is submerged in ice water and stirred constantly to separate the trichomes from the buds. After the cannabis is separated and removed, you are left with a whitish-tan paste that eventually dries. This end product is bubble hash.

However, rosin makers in all their ingenuity discovered that you can avoid the excess plant matter that was normally pressed for rosin by using bubble hash instead. By first making bubble hash from the cannabis flower, extractors could get just what they wanted from the buds; their trichomes.

Pressing bubble hash into rosin was easier, more efficient, cleaner, and produced a superior product. This is also why rosin carries such a high price on a dispensary shelf. Not only is the cannabis extracted into bubble hash, but then extracted again for the cleanest, purest product possible.

The Future of Concentrates

Rosin and the methods and technology that has evolved with it has opened the door for many new concentrates to enter the market. The desire for “live” concentrates has grown exponentially, with more and more people willing to spend a little more for higher quality products.

Bubble hash extraction has seen growth as well, since most serious rosin makers will use bubble hash.The desire for tastier, cleaner and more cost-effective concentrates will continue to rise, and as rosin becomes more common it too will become more accessible to the average consumer.

But with everything in this industry, from flower to edibles to concentrates, you get what you pay for.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Rundown

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Rundown

In June of 2018, Oklahoma surprised the country. The state voted to legalize medical marijuana.

Oklahoma medical marijuana State Question 788 was passed by the majority of people in the state, allowing the people to consume, grow and if licensed, sell medical marijuana.

The program is run by the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA), in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Health to ensure regulatory oversight. Compared to other medical marijuana states, the Oklahoma medical marijuana program is pretty progressive.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Laws

Submitted as State Question 788, the people of Oklahoma passed a new section of law to be added to the Oklahoma Statutes. Section 420 of Title 63 permits an individual to posses a state issued medical marijuana license.

An Oklahoman with a medical marijuana license is allowed the following:

  • To consume marijuana legally
  • To possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana on their person
  • To possess 6 mature marijuana plants
  • To possess 6 seedling plants
  • To possess 1 ounce of concentrates
  • To possess 72 ounces of edibles, and
  • To possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana in their residence.

However there were also changes to how possession of marijuana is handled in general. Being in possession of up to an ounce and half without a medical marijuana license is punishable by a $400 fine and a misdemeanor, if the subject can provide a medical condition. How strictly this will be enforced is yet to be seen.

Individual and Business Licensing

Licenses for both Oklahoma medical marijuana patients and businesses are obtained through a straight forward application process. The applications are easily accessible on the OMMA page of the Oklahoma government website. It costs $200 for an individual to apply for a medical marijuana license, and only $20 to apply for those on Medicare and Medicaid.

To apply for dispensary, commercial growing, or processing permits, one must pay an application fee of $2,500. The requirements for obtaining these three business licenses are the same:

  • Applicants must be 25 or older
  • Applicants applying as an individual must show residency in the state of Oklahoma
  • All applying members, managers and board members are Oklahoma residents
  • An applicant can show ownership of non-Oklahoma residents, but that percentage of ownership cannot exceed 25%
  • Applicants must be registered to conduct business in Oklahoma
  • Applicants must disclose all ownership
  • Applicants with nonviolent felony convictions in the last two (2) years, or applicants with any other felony conviction in five (5) years, inmates or anybody currently incarcerated is not qualified for a license.

In addition to these requirements, retailers must submit monthly reports to the Department of Health to keep track of weight sold, revenue and taxes. Commercial growers are restricted to only selling cannabis wholesale to licensed retailers. Growers will also submit monthly reports, detailing monthly yields, amount harvested in pounds, drying or dried marijuana on hand, amount sold to processors, amount of waste in pounds and more. However, there is no limit on the amount of cannabis a licensed grower can grow.

Processors are no different, and much submit a monthly report detailing the amount of marijuana purchased, amount of waste and wholesale sales to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Applications

As of December 2018, over 22,000 people have been approved for personal Oklahoma medical marijuana licenses, 785 dispensaries have been licensed, and there are more than 1,200 licensed commercial growers and 270 licensed processors in the state. It hasn’t even been a year since Question 788 was approved, and Oklahoma is already kickstarting its medical marijuana industry.

Growers are pumping out close to 50 pounds a month already thanks to the regulation’s strict deadlines included by the people of Oklahoma that forced the state to accept applications within 60 days of Question 788’s passing. The state has already brought in $7.5 million from registration fees, and now that dispensaries have opened, the 7% sales tax will begin getting collected for additional revenue.

Is Oklahoma Ahead of The Curve?

Oklahoma medical marijuana has taken off more quickly than any other state program in the country. Less than 6 months after being passed, growers are growing, dispensaries are selling, and the people of Oklahoma are buying.

It’s possible that Oklahoma may be moving too fast. With no limit on how much a licensed grower can produce, the state may end up facing a similar issue to Oregon. Having too much marijuana and not enough people to buyl it might result in a collapse of the marketplace as the price of medical marijuana drops.

However as a medical marijuana program as opposed to Oregon’s recreational market, Oklahoma medical marijuana will be more strictly regulated by the Department of Health, which will hopefully push growers toward quality over quantity. 

At the rate the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry is moving, it won’t be long before we see the first results of the new industry. 

Hemp vs Canabis CBD

Hemp vs Canabis CBD

If you’re familiar with CBD and its medicinal benefits, you may be wondering how to get it, or even more so, where it comes from in the first place.

If you have no idea what we mean when we say CBD, check out our starter guide to CBD explaining the basics.

CBD is most commonly found in industrial hemp and cannabis plants. But is there really a difference between the two? It isn’t so much that CBD from hemp is better or worse than CBD from cannabis, but how hemp is grown compared to cannabis makes a big difference.

Hemp vs Cannabis

Traditionally, Hemp is grown on an industrial scale, hence the name industrial hemp. Plants grow closer together, forcing them to grow up instead of out.

In contrast, cannabis is grown more spaced out which allows the leaves and flowers to fan out and gain potency. While hemp is mainly used for its stalks in uses from making paper to clothing, cannabis is bred much differently.

The biggest difference between hemp and cannabis is the THC content. Hemp is grown to have minimal THC. To legally be considered hemp, that amount must be no more than .3%.

Cannabis on the other hand is usually grown to have as much THC as possible in order to provide its maximum psychotropic effects, AKA the “high”.

Hemp Legality

So, a hemp plant with a THC content of .5% would be considered psychotropic cannabis and therefore federally illegal. This is despite the fact that such a low THC content would have little to no effect on the average person.

In fact, industrial hemp was made legal in 2009 by the Industrial Hemp Farming Act. But if you couldn’t guess by the name of the bill, this only applies to industrially grown hemp.

This “legal” hemp was only permitted for use by research facilities or higher education research. So unless the hemp was being grown on an industrial scale for the sole purpose of higher education research, hemp was still illegal.

However in December of 2018 the Agricultural Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, was passed by the House, Senate and President Donald Trump. This new farm bill changes the definitions of industrial hemp.

This means that hemp will no longer just be grown for research purposes, but an actual commercial marketplace can be established.

Hemp CBD vs Cannabis CBD

Now that hemp has been legalized, the already blurred lines separating hemp CBD and cannabis CBD from a legality standpoint have become even more blurry. However this is actually good for the consumer.

Hemp traditionally carries more CBD, whereas cannabis carries more THC. Through crossbreeding of low-THC cannabis strains with high-CBD hemp strains, new strains are being created that look, smell and taste like regular cannabis, but have .3% or less.

Soon, hemp flower will look identical to cannabis flower, and more people will start to consume high CBD flower as much as THC flower. Industrial hemp for now will still be grown mostly on large scale for mass production of CBD medications derived from the whole plant. 

The reality is hemp and cannabis are the same plant, they have just been bred in different ways. Now that hemp is legal, the two will start to merge again, and we might even see some new breeds start to appear. It’s an exciting time to look into hemp.

Michigan Marijuana is Legal But You Can’t Buy It Anywhere

Michigan Marijuana is Legal But You Can’t Buy It Anywhere

Michigan marijuana is now legal for adults to consume and grow. But where can they buy it?

The answer is nowhere. Michigan marijuana is legal for adults to grow, consume, and even “gift” to one another now. Yet there isn’t a single dispensary plan in place yet.

This may read similar to another article I wrote regarding Massachusetts legalization. They had a similar problem establishing a legal marketplace for consumers. While Massachusetts has finally opened two dispensaries for the entire state after two years of legalization, Michigan is poised to move more quickly.

Michigan Marijuana Laws

While Michigan has legalized cannabis for adult use, I wouldn’t go packing your bag for a vacation to the Great Lakes quite yet. Adults can grow 12 of their own plants (twice as many as Colorado) and possess up to 10 ounces in their homes. There’s a line in Proposition 1 that allows adults to “purchase” recreational cannabis. But there is none to buy.

Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont all did something similar. All these states have legalized cannabis for adults, but have no market to legally purchase cannabis. Basically, because of poorly written laws, these states have given a free pass to private market businesses. 

Not Getting Stuck

The Michigan marijuana market is ahead of the curve, even if just slightly. Proposition 1 included a mandatory deadline for establishing a regulated market.

A year from now, a plan should be approved and in place to begin legal sales of recreational cannabis in Michigan. An additional rider was included that allows people to apply for licensing directly through the municipality. This acts as an assurance that the local governments stay on track.

To elaborate, Massachusetts had no such deadline or rider in place to ensure a timely roll out of a regulated marketplace. Because of this, local municipalities that did not approve of the state’s decision could refuse applications simply on the basis of not wanting legal cannabis in their town.

Michigan’s rider in Proposition 1 will guarantee that local governments don’t stand in the way of legalization. So while Maine’s governor fights legalization tooth and nail, and Vermont has no plans for a legal market yet, Michigan is already planning ahead.

A Big Step For Cannabis

Michigan is the first Midwestern state to legalize cannabis for adult use. Other states in the region will certainly be watching to see how the market turns out.

For now, however, state residents craving some fresh Michigan marijuana will either have to grow it themselves or buy it on the private market. So for now — even though cannabis is legal — unless you’re growing it, you’re still breaking the law in Michigan. Hopefully that changes soon!

Farm Bill 2018: The Future of Industrial Hemp

Farm Bill 2018: The Future of Industrial Hemp

The newest classification of cannabis since 1970 may be just around the corner, and it involves industrial hemp.

Congress re-evaluates and votes on a new Farm Bill every five years. Well, we’ve come to the end of another five year window, and the time to vote on new revisions to the Farm Bill has come. While normally this is seen as just another vote, this year’s vote is special.

Included in the revisions of this year’s Farm Bill is the reclassification of industrial hemp.

The Farm Bill

The Agriculture Improvement Act, known more simply as the Farm Bill, is a constantly changing piece of legislature that is voted on every five years. Within this period, lawmakers can add revisions, remove items and vote among themselves before the final revisions are approved.

Normally this isn’t anything too important, as it pertains to other agricultural issues that are most prevalent to farmers across the country. However, this bill is different. A provision has been included in the 2018 Farm Bill to lift the federal ban on industrial hemp.

The industrial hemp revision will be the first action taken on the reclassification of hemp since it was included in the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, in which hemp was labelled a Schedule 1 narcotic, along with cannabis. Even though industrial hemp is classified as cannabis with .03% THC or less, it was still considered Schedule 1.

Industrial Hemp in The US

industrial hemp in the US

40 states have passed their own state-level legislation regarding hemp, with most legalizing industrial hemp for agriculture. Historically, industrial hemp has been grown en masse for its fibrous stalks. It’s hearty qualities make for great textiles, clothing material and more. However new developments in the realm of CBD have bred a necessity for change.

As it stands now, the CBD market is a grey market. Cannabidiol is the non-psychotropic cannabinoid found in cannabis and hemp that produces medicinal effects with little to no psychoactive effects. CBD is found more prevalent in hemp than normal cannabis that is bred for its flowers, and thus a new market has sprouted for hemp-derived CBD products.

However, since there is no federal regulation for this quickly growing industry, consumers are at risk. The use of pesticides, false labeling and other issues have risen in the CBD market. The new Farm Bill will open the door to allow regulation, testing requirements and more to insure a safe product for future consumers.

While it is really exciting to see the government taking the first steps toward legalization of cannabis, nothing is yet set in stone.

The final farm bill must be approved by Congress, and it is likely that last-minute revisions will be made before everything is finalized. But at this point, we can all expect some progressive hemp legislation, regardless of the final results. The end result of this new bill could be a regulated and taxed hemp industry that could open the door for new businesses and more potential stock opportunity in the cannabis industry.

We are all waiting to see the end result of this vote, and The Real Dirt will have the latest updates when the votes are all in. So stay tuned!