fbpx
What to know about Oklahoma cannabis legislation changes

What to know about Oklahoma cannabis legislation changes

Oklahoma cannabis legislation passes

The 2022 legislative session has ended in Oklahoma, bringing with it over a dozen new pieces of legislation specifically impacting the medical cannabis industry.

OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry sent an email to cannabis business owners this week with details on the new legislation, while also thanking businesses for their cooperation and transitioning to Metrc. Metrc is a seed to sale track and trace system specifically designed for the cannabis industry.

While chosen to be implemented in September of 2020, it wasn’t until May 26, this year that the state finally forced the transition.

“Through the struggles and bumps in the road, we’ve taken your feedback, questions, comments and complaints directly to Metrc every single time. Some answers are quick and easy, others take days to solve. At the end of the day, I want you to know that we are working on every issue you’ve brought us and will not let problems go unsolved.” said Berry.

In addition to the implementation of Metrc, Oklahoma’s governor also signed thirteen separate cannabis-related bills into law this week. The laws still must go through a rulemaking process in which regulations are formed. The public will be allowed input in this process.

House Bill 2179: Creates a tiered commercial grower fee structure based on size and type of facility — annual fees would range from the current $2,500 to more than $50,000. Under the terms of the bill, processor license fees will be determined by volume and range from $2,500 to $40,000. Dispensaries will pay $2,500 to $10,000, based on annual sales. Testing laboratories will pay a flat $20,000. Effective June 1, 2023.

House Bill 3019: Adjusts packaging standards to allow clear packaging for edibles but requires opaque exit packaging for carrying out of the dispensary. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

House Bill 3208: Places a moratorium on new business licenses between Aug. 1, 2022, and Aug. 1, 2024. The legislation itself takes effect July 1, 2022. OMMA will incorporate the legislation into new emergency rules that will take effect in July before the moratorium begins Aug. 1, 2022. Current grower, dispensary and processor licenses are not included in the moratorium. OMMA will accept new grower, dispensary and processor applications through 11:59 p.m. Aug. 1, 2022. Read more about HB 3208.

House Bill 3530: Creates a revolving fund to be used by OMMA to establish programs and provide funding to support county sheriff enforcement of medical marijuana laws and regulations. Effective immediately.

House Bill 3929: By Jan. 1, 2024, OMMA must promulgate rules to create a process validation program in which licensees may voluntarily participate. Effective immediately.

House Bill 3971: By Jan. 1, 2024, OMMA must create a “secret shopper” program by rule promulgation to purchase medical marijuana in dispensaries and send samples for testing. Effective January 1, 2024.

House Bill 4056: After receiving recommendations from QA lab and a committee of licensed labs, OMMA must promulgate rules by Jan. 1, 2024, that set out required equipment and standards to be used by all licensed labs. Effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1367: Enhances penalties for the unlawful diversion of medical marijuana products to someone not legally allowed to acquire or consume them. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 1511: Prohibits commercial grow operations within 1,000 feet of a school. The legislation makes an exception for established businesses. SB 1511 is already in effect — it was effective immediately when Gov. Kevin Stitt signed it in March.

Senate Bill 1543: Establishes OMMA as an independent state agency separate from the state Department of Health. Effective Nov. 1, 2022. Read more about SB 1543 on our website.

Senate Bill 1704: Requires all employees of medical marijuana businesses to apply for a badge/credential beginning Jan. 1, 2024, and allows OMMA to contract with a third party to provide those services. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

Senate Bill 1726: Adds technology centers primarily used for classroom instruction to the list of school buildings that dispensaries and grows must be at least 1,000 feet away from. Effective immediately.

Senate Bill 1737: Outdoor growers must register as a sensitive crop, and all commercial growers must post signage at the perimeter of the property with specific information. Effective Nov. 1, 2022.

 
New York OCM behind on staffing essential cannabis positions

New York OCM behind on staffing essential cannabis positions

New York OCM cannabis staffing issues

With plans for equity license holders to open recreational cannabis dispensaries as early as fall of this year, New York is behind schedule on forming the needed agencies.

To start, the New York Office of Cannabis Management, the main agency overseeing the legal cannabis industry in New York, has yet to hire a Chief Equity Officer. This position would oversee the equity licensees that are slated to open their dispensaries at the end of this year.

Additionally, the 13-member advisory board meant to assist the OCM and the Cannabis Control Board has yet to be filled. The Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA) specified in its legislation that these positions should have already been filled.

Despite the vacancies, the OCM is still committing to rolling out regulations and beginning adult-use cannabis sales this fall.

An OCM spokesman said that the agency is “hard at work” searching for a chief equity officer candidate and that they are “almost at the end of that process.” However there has been little updates on the advisory board which was supposed to start meeting in May.

Aside from issues with filling the various positions needed to begin developing and implementing regulations, there has also been some pushback from the state’s existing medical cannabis industry.

In an investigative piece conducted by Syracuse.com, patients have been experiencing long delays to enroll in the medical program. Many are unable to get the care they need.

Meanwhile, the OCM has had a slew of technology issues and has been ignoring patient concerns (according to the patients) while trying to catch up after a delayed start in establishing the recreational marketplace.

Last but certainly not least, the state has handed out nearly 150 conditional cannabis cultivation licenses to hemp farmers across the state, in an effort to produce recreational cannabis so that dispensaries could actually have product in the fall.

With more than half of those licensees being permitted in just the last month, it will be a tight timeline to harvest and process enough cannabis to meet the demand of what will likely become the largest cannabis industry in the country.

 

Original story from Greener Consulting Group

Thailand cannabis legalized for cultivation and trade

Thailand cannabis legalized for cultivation and trade

Thailand cannabis legalization

The government of Thailand has officially legalized cannabis cultivation and trade, along with removing cannabis from from its banned narcotics list.

However recreational use is still banned. Advocates say that the legalization acts more or less as decriminalization, so penalties should be less harsh, and less common.

Thailand is the first country in South-East Asia to legalize cannabis, going so far as to even give away one million cannabis seeds to citizens to encourage more people to start growing the plant.

“It is an opportunity for people and the state to earn income from marijuana and hemp,” said Anutin Charnvirakul, deputy prime minister and health minister.

Charnvirakul even said that restaurants could serve dishes with cannabis included as long as the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content is less than .2% so consumers don’t get high. Starting today, households will be permitted to grow up to six plants if they register with authorities, and companies will be permitted to farm cannabis commercially with licensing.

Additionally, medical clinics across Thailand can more freely prescribe cannabis as a treatment. The country was also first in the region to legalize medical cannabis in 2018.

However despite the language of the law and the excitement around it, the “legalization” of cannabis in Thailand is more or less just the legalization of hemp. While hemp and cannabis are identical in structure and appearance, hemp is bred to contain less than .3% THC.

Since personal consumption recreationally is still banned, and public consumption can result in a fine or arrest, the only cannabis anybody is allowed to sell for profit will be hemp. But the country is still using the language of the new law to release some 4,000 prisoners whom were arrested on cannabis charges, including the psychoactive kind.

It appears that the current goal of the country is to take advantage of their new position and capture the untapped CBD market in Asia. CBD (Cannabidiol) is considered to be a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, otherwise known as a cannabinoid.

North Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Passes Senate

North Carolina Medical Cannabis Bill Passes Senate

North Carolina medical cannabis legalization

A North Carolina medical cannabis bill was passed by the state Senate last week following its clearing of a key Senate committee just one day prior. The legislation passed the full chamber with a 35-10 vote.

Sponsor of the bill, Sen. Bill Rabon (R) is hopeful that the bill will help those seeking relief toward the end of their life.

“This bill is going to, in my opinion, help a lot of people at the end of their life at a time that they need some compassion,” Rabon said on the floor ahead of the vote.

Rabon is a cancer survivor himself. He believes that medical cannabis can help people “at a time that what few days, or what little time they have left, should be as comfortable and as easy as they can be.”

“I think it is our duty as lawmakers to pass legislation that helps people who need our help,” Rabon said.

However the medical cannabis bill is not in the clear yet. It still must pass through one final vote on the third reading of the bill. If it passes again it will then move on to the House of Representatives.

The NC Compassionate Care Act in its current state would enact a highly restricted medical cannabis program. Those that qualify for the program must have a condition such as cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and PTSD to be eligible.

Patients would be permitted to possess up to one and half ounces of cannabis, but home growing would not be allowed. Edibles or “cannabis-infused” products would be allowed in various forms, and smoking and vaping would be permitted.

However the consumption method must be prescribed by a doctor for specific delivery and dosages. Patient eligibility would be reconsidered on an annual basis.

The bill would permit just 10 medical cannabis suppliers who would control the cultivation and sale of cannabis. Each operator would be permitted four dispensaries for 40 total across the state.

Under the current revision, a Compassionate Use Advisory Board would be established. This board would have the ability to add more qualifying conditions for the program that could make access easier for more patients in the future.

Additionally a Medical Cannabis Production Commission would be created to ensure that supply does not run out for patients. The Commission would also oversee licensing and generate revenue to regulate the medical cannabis program.

Lastly the bill will provide protections for patients. Employees and agents of the state would be required to treat possession of cannabis for qualified patients the same as any other prescribed controlled substance.

There are still additional amendments under consideration that may impact the third reading of the bill. Over 80% of North Carolina voters support medical cannabis, with 60% supporting full recreational legalization.

OMMA halting cannabis business applications until 2024

OMMA halting cannabis business applications until 2024

oklahoma medical marijuana authority not accepting applications

In an effort to contain the massive medical cannabis marketplace in Oklahoma, the OMMA has said it will stop processing applications for new growers, processors and retailers for up to two years.

HB 3208 includes a moratorium beginning on Aug. 1, 2022 in which OMMA will halt all application considerations. It is set to end on Aug. 1, 2024.

“All of our current grower, dispensary and processor licensees who stay in compliance with our rules should know HB 3208 doesn’t change anything for them – owners of current licenses will still be able to apply for renewal when it’s time,” said OMMA Executive Director Adria Berry. “OMMA stands ready to implement HB 3208 by incorporating it into our rules during the rulemaking process, fulfilling the regulatory duties entrusted in us by Gov. Stitt, the Legislature and every Oklahoman.”

Current growers, processors and retailers will not be impacted by this change, and OMMA will still accept applications until 11:59 PM on Aug. 1. However any operator that allows their license to expire after the moratorium begins will not be able to reapply for a new license.

Rhode Island cannabis legalization signed into law by governor

Rhode Island cannabis legalization signed into law by governor

Rhode Island cannabis legalization passed

Rhode Island has become the 19th state in the US to legalize cannabis for recreational use after Governor Dan McKee signed new legislation on Wednesday May 25.

Less than 24 hours after the state legislature unanimously passed the legalization bill, McKee signed it into law. The Rhode Island Cannabis Act would allow adults over 21 to buy, possess and grow their own cannabis at home.

Adults will be allowed to grow up to six plants, and cannabis purchases will be limited.

The law will also introduce expungements of past criminal records related to cannabis, depending on the severity of the charge. Taxes from legal cannabis sales will be re-invested into communities disproportionately impacted by cannabis prohibition.

Rep. Scott Slater, whom drafted the revised legislation that was passed, said the bill won’t please everybody.

“Frankly, no bill could do that,” he said. “So in the many years it has taken to get this bill to this point, we have learned from other states that legalized cannabis, and we know that they too must address issues each year and modify the original statute to address new issues that occur. We will be no different.”

McKee appears to have full support for the legal cannabis industry and the equity it intends to implement.

“Today I signed the Rhode Island Cannabis Act, legalizing and safely regulating cannabis in our state. This bill successfully incorporates our priorities of making sure legalization is equitable, controlled, and safe.”

He continued, “The end result is a win for our state both socially and economically.

The Rhode Island Cannabis Act calls for retail cannabis sales to begin December 1st of this year, however it is unlikely that any retail cannabis stores will be licensed and open by that time. Additionally, unless growers are licensed and permitted to produce cannabis for retail in the next couple of month, it is unlikely there will be any product to put on shelves should stores open in December.