The Cannabis Control Commission of Massachusetts is the state’s regulatory authority. Its mission revolves around ensuring safe, equitable, and effective cannabis.
But how is this agency equitably and effectively implementing regulations for marijuana establishments?
Keep reading to learn more about the role the Cannabis Control Commission plays in safely, equitably, and effectively managing marijuana for recreational and medical use in Massachusetts.
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The Massachusetts Cannabis Space
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Who Does the Cannabis Control Commission Serve?
The commission is effectively implementing and administering laws that serve concerned citizens, health care providers, patients, caregivers, constituencies, and partners. These individuals receive protection and considerations related to marijuana distribution for medical and adult use.
Equitable & Effective Implementation
With emphasis placed on enabling access to medical marijuana, the commission also focuses on equitably and effectively implementing each measure to ensure the commonwealth has a lucrative cannabis space that’s operating safely.
The Cannabis Control Commission implements laws enabling a safe cannabis space. But what are these rules?
Laws Enabling Access to The Plant
The Cannabis Control Commission is effectively administering the laws enabling a safe and effective cannabis space in Massachusetts. But what does this mean exactly?
Medical & Adult-Use Consumers
For starters, the commission is enabling access to medical marijuana and adult-use cannabis throughout the commonwealth.
Safe availability of consumables is essential to keep this space operating as it should, and with the commission’s services, medical use and adult-use cannabis are available within specific guidelines outlined by this commission.
Other Key Stakeholders
The commission’s site places virtually services key stakeholders by providing more information, but here’s a quick summary of how it’s administering the rules enabling cannabis sales safely, equitably, and effectively:
Patients & Caregivers
The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission offers insight into everything one might need to know as a registered qualifying patient or caregiver. The commission is effectively implementing and administering the laws enabling Massachusetts’ Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
Applicants & Licensees
The Massachusetts CCCgives applicants and licensees access to everything that medicinal marijuana treatment center and adult-use marijuana establishment operators need to know about licensing in the state. This includes information about license types, fees, an adult-use licensing tracker, certified responsible vendor trainer access, and insight into equity programs.
The CCC in Massachusetts makes adult consumption safe in the state. On its site, the commission gives law information, offers a helpline, provides a retailer finder, and even gives tips on home cultivation for those interesting in trying out their green thumb.
Parents concerned about the impact legal cannabis in Massachusetts could have on their children need not look any further than the CCC. While marijuana is illegal for children, there are some exceptions for the patients in the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program.
State & Local Government
The CCC provides information about licensing responsibilities and other marijuana topics for the state and local government. This includes outlining municipality’s roles and responsibilities, licensing process, law enforcement, and equity programs.
Certifying Healthcare Providers
For Massachusetts-licensed physicians, certified nurse practitioners, and physician assistants interested in certifying qualified patients for medical use marijuana, the CCC offers resources. You can find the requirements, how to register, how to diagnose patients, and renewal and changes insight on the site.
Concluding on the Cannabis Control Commission
The CCC in Massachusetts continues to operate, offering key stakeholders in cannabis a better translation of each measure in place. It implements laws enabling access to the plant, as well as regulatory rules to ensure each visit to a cannabis operation is safe and pleasurable.
By offering data, this agency gives valuable, insightful information to all parties that need it. This data allows consumers and business operators to make informed decisions as they pertain to the cannabis space.
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California has been known for its complexities for those operating in the cannabis space. However, with the state’s creation of the Department of Cannabis Control, this is expected to change.
After passing Assembly Bill 141, the DCC now consolidates the state’s three cannabis programs.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing Division, and the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) Manufactured Cannabis Safety Branch will now all be in one department.
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Why Does Cali Need More Cannabis Control?
Think about it this way. Cannabis control supports the industry by ensuring businesses serve consumers safely and properly – even if they’re operating under provisional licenses.
But it goes further than consumer affairs and public health.
What will cannabis control do?
Cannabis control ensures the provisional licensing program allows cannabis businesses to thrive in a regulated cannabis space.
As the Cali cannaspace continues to grow, the state needed a centralized regulatory housing agency for the multiple agencies the state has already created. The purpose here is to make the system more navigable. It’s about becoming more efficient and effective.
Now that the DCC is in place, this new department stands to provide resources and more information regarding the processes that come with being a cannabusiness owner and operator in Cali.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislature AB-141 into law on July 12, 2021 to form the agency. He appointed Nicole Elliott to serve as the DCC’s first Executive Director.
What Should We Expect with the DCC Agency?
After the signing of this law in July, the regulations in place should be a boon for both entrepreneurs and cannabusiness operators. This is especially the case for those who have found themselves unable to handle rules from multiple agencies.
The past complexities around knowing which regulatory agency offices or departments to work with are now things of the past as the DCC’s services facilitate vertical integration. No longer must cannabusiness operators worry about keeping track of the frequent regulatory updates that have plagued the industry.
From cannabis agriculture to infused food products and beyond, all medical and adult-use cannabusiness operations will look to the DCC for insight and enforcement. Since the new law transfers all of the “powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdiction” of the Bureau of Cannabis Control, CDFA, and CDPH, the new July law aims to facilitate cannabis business operations immensely.
But what were the powers, duties, purposes, functions, responsibilities, and jurisdictions of these agencies?
The Bureau of Cannabis Control
The Bureau of Cannabis Control, or BCC, was the lead agency responsible for regulating commercial cannabis licenses for both medical and adult-use cannabis in Cali.
This state agency had the broad authority that allowed it to regulate all aspects of commercial marijuana activity in Cali. Of course, this involved seed-to-sale transactions.
If you’ve been operating a medical or recreational cannabusiness in Cali, you’ve likely worked with the bureau’s regulations. This includes all operators in retail, distribution, testing labs, microbusinesses, and temporary marijuana events.
Mainly, this involved getting the right licensing. But now, you’ll go to the new Cali department.
California Department of Food and Agriculture
The CDFA has a division called CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing. Its goal is to ensure public safety and environmental protection through its licensing and regulation of commercial cannabis cultivation in Cali.
The proposed regulations for the appellations of origin for marijuana were released by the CDFA on February 20, 2020. But now that the DCC is taking over, it will maintain responsibility for upholding and updating these regulations, among others.
California Department of Public Health
The CDPH is the manufactured marijuana safety branch in Cali. Through this agency, public safety was protected as it promoted product and workplace safety.
The DCC will take over these responsibilities, as well. This is evident when visiting the CDPH’s site, which directs web traffic to the DCC’s new site for more information.
California Cannabis Industry Association
The DCC will also work alongside the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA).
But what does this agency offer as far as business and consumer services?
The CCIA’s Mission
The CCIA’s mission is to “promote the growth of a responsible and legitimate cannabis industry and work for a favorable social, economic, and legal environment” for the cannabis industry in Cali. Founded on the idea of strength in numbers, this agency works to represent the cannabis sector professionally with coordination at the state level.
AB-141 & SB-160
The passage of the two bills, AB-141 and SB-160, were critical policy objectives for the CCIA. With a purpose to ensure existing provisional license holders can continue legally operating as their applications go through the environmental review process, the idea here was to give additional opportunities to new equity applicants and legacy farmers interested in applying for and obtaining cannabis provisional licenses. These bills also pushed an additional CCIA objective – to create a legal pathway cannabis businesses can utilize to issue business to business trade samples.
The CCIA’s Team
The CCIA’s Legislative advocacy team will continue to work for improvements to the California cannabis industry as the DCC takes on the roles of the three other agencies.
What Else Changes with the DCC?
“The state’s consolidation effort delivers on the commitment made by the Newsom Administration to listen to and work with California’s legal cannabis industry to streamline participation in the legal market by offering a central point of contact for licensed operators,” Lourdes Castro Ramirez, secretary of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing (BCSH) Agency, is quoted saying.
Besides consolidating Cali’s cannabis regulatory agencies, the DCC also stands to increase licensing transparency in the cannabis space. According to AB-141, the DCC will need to give information on its site showing the status of each license issued. This, of course, includes the county of each licensee’s address of record.
Starting on January 1, 2022, AB-141 will also demand this information include all license suspensions and revocations, as well as any final decisions from the DCC. But AB-141 also bans the DCC from sharing personally identifying information. This includes social security numbers, home telephone numbers and addresses, and dates of birth.
Other Changes Implemented with AB-141
Now that AB-141 passed, the DCC has a new deadline to issue and renew provisional licenses. The extension is moving from January 1, 2022 to June 30, 2022. The DCC can issue provisional licenses to applicants who have submitted and completed a license application. However, the applicant must meet these requirements:
Applicant is able to prove compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) or is able to give evidence that their compliance is in process.
Applicant is able to show compliance with local ordinances or give evidence showing that their compliance is in process.
In cases during which the license application includes cultivation, the applicant offers any of these documents:
a draft streambed alteration agreement is given by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) and signed and returned to the DFW;
written verification by the DFW that a streambed alteration agreement is not necessary;
a final streambed alteration agreement;
written verification from the DFW showing the applicant has already submitted a 1602 notice, submitted payment of applicable fees, and is “responsive” to the DFW.
For cultivation license applications submitted on or after January 1, 2022, the DCC cannot issue provisional licenses if the issuance of the license will result in the licensee holding multiple cultivation licenses on contiguous premises to exceed an acre of total canopy for outdoor cultivation activities, or 22,000 square feet of mixed-light or indoor cultivation operations.
The “commercial cannabis” definition has also been changed to include acting as a cannabis event organizer for temporary cannabis events. With this bill, the definition of “manufacture” would also include packaging or labeling cannabis products. The bill also stands to remove the current “manufacturer” definition.
Navigating the Department of Cannabis Control
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Jersey’s marijuana laws are becoming more progressive with each passing day.
For business owners operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the Garden State, this could mean lucrative potential. But others looking to capitalize on recreational marijuana legalization can do so now that consumers can legally purchase marijuana without the threat of criminal penalties.
New Jersey medical marijuana laws have seen a lot of progress in the past few years. But none of this compares to the recent changes with the vote for NJ marijuana legalization.
So, what’s happening with New Jersey’s marijuana laws now that the state has voted to legalize marijuana?
Keep reading for more information on New Jersey, its medical marijuana program, and what we can expect now that recreational marijuana is legal in New Jersey.
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New Jersey Legalized Recreational Marijuana
The laws in New Jersey are changing as legal cannabis is making its way to the masses. Over the next six weeks, the laws will be determined and the state’s Cannabis Regulatory Commission is expected to meet next week.
The New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission will determine how the state’s legal program will operate. However, local officials will also need to figure out how they will proceed, as well.
At this point, the state is waiting to hear from towns on whether or not they will allow the cannabis space to operate within their jurisdictions. Each town has until August 21 to pass ordinances that would opt them out of the industry, effectively banning marijuana sales and businesses or changing zoning laws to regulate the areas these businesses are permitted.
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program
The state’s medical marijuana program has done exceedingly well since its conception in 2010. In fact, at the end of 2017, over 50% of registered patients were under the age of 40. And for this reason, it is expected that a lot more people will sign up as recreational cannabis becomes legal in New Jersey.
Up until now, most of the cannabis in New Jersey has been purchased by Jersey residents through dispensaries. This has produced some sales tax revenue for the state.
However, as medical marijuana becomes more popular, it is expected that fewer patients will choose to purchase their medication at dispensaries and instead opt for medical marijuana delivery services or even make their own infused treats in edible forms.
State Law Cannabis Law Enforcement
New Jersey voters passed Question 1. This law calls for an amendment to the state constitution to accommodate adult-use possession, production, and sale of marijuana to consumers at least 21 years of age 21. This law took effect on January 1, 2021. Governor Murphy signed into law legislation to stop marijuana possession arrests and license retail sales on February 22, 2021.
Legally Hold Up to Six Ounces in NJ
Possession of up to 6 ounces of cannabis by an adult is allowed under the new laws for cannabis.
State legislature outlines that adult possession of more than 6 ounces of cannabis is a fourth-degree crime that’s punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.
If this possession is within 1,000 feet of a school, the new law sets this as a high-impact zone. Thus, this adds 100 hours of community service to the sentence, along with an (depending on quantity) additional fine.
Marijuana Distribution or Possession with Intent to Distribute
The sale or distribution of less than 1 ounce of marijuana results in written warnings if it’s a first offense. However, a second offense is a crime in the 4th degree punishable by a maximum sentence of 18 months imprisonment and a fine up to $25,000.
Selling or distributing more than 1 ounce but less than 5 pounds is a third-degree crime that’s punishable by a 3 to 5 year prison sentence and a fine up to $25,000.
Selling or distributing at least 5 pounds but less than 25 pounds is a 2nd-degree crime that’s punishable by a 5-10 year prison sentence and a fine up to $150,000.
Selling or distributing at least 25 pounds is a 1st-degree crime that’s punishable by 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.*
Selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of school property or a school bus is a 3rd-degree crime that’s punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
However, if the violation involves under 1 ounce, the mandatory minimum sentence is either 1/2 or 1/3 of the sentence.
Selling or distributing less than 1 ounce within 500 feet of certain public property is a 3rd-degree crime that’s punishable by 3 to 5 years in prison with a fine of up to $25,000.
Selling or distributing anything beyond 1 ounce within 500 feet of certain public property is a felony that can result in 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Selling to minors or pregnant women is also a felony. This crime results in double the time in prison and twice the fine.
Cultivation of Recreational Marijuana
Cultivating 1 ounce to less than 5 pounds (fewer than 10 plants) is a 3rd-degree crime. The punishment for this is a sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
Cultivating 5 pounds to less than 25 pounds (10 to fewer than 50 plants) is a 2nd-degree crime. The crime involves a sentence of 5 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Cultivating 25 pounds or more (50+ plants) is a 1st-degree crime. The punishment is a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $300,000.
For cultivation of 25+ pounds, a mandatory minimum sentence is essential.
Hash & Concentrates
New Jersey defines hashish as “the resin extracted from any part of the plant Genus Cannabis L. and any compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such resin.”
While terminally ill patients and recreational consumers alike can use hashish, it’s still on the federal government’s list for Schedule I controlled substances.
Adults can legally possess up to 17 grams of hashish.
Possessing more than 17 grams of hashish is a 4th-degree crime that can result in an 18-month prison sentence and a fine of up to $25,000.
Manufacturing, Distributing, Dispensing, etc. Hashish
Anyone caught manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with to intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense fewer than 5 grams of this substance can result in a written warning for the first offense.
A subsequent offense for manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense fewer than 5 grams of hashish is a 4th-degree crime that can result in a fine not exceeding $25,000 and/or a prison sentence that does not exceed 18 months.
If the hashish weighs beyond 5 grams but is less than 1 pound, this is a 3rd degree crime that may receive a fine that does not exceed $25,000 and/or a prison sentence of at least 3 years and at most 5 years.
If the hashish weight was 1 pound or more but fewer than 5 pounds, this is a second-degree offense that can result in a fine that does not exceed $150,000 and/or a prison sentence that’s at least 5 years and at most 10 years.
If the weight of the hashish involved in the crime was 5 pounds or more, the crime is a first-degree offense that can result in a fine that doesn’t exceed $200,000 and/or a prison sentence of at least 10 years and no longer than 20 years.
Manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense hashish within 1,000 feet of a school or school bus stop is a 3rd-degree crime that can result in a fine that does not exceed $150,000 and/or a mandatory prison sentence ranging from 3 to 5 years.
New Jersey Paraphernalia
Despite medical marijuana legality in New Jersey, paraphernalia charges could result in punishment for quite some time, even if you had a great criminal defense attorney.
However, voters in New Jersey recently passed Question 1, which amends the state constitution to accommodate adult-use possession, production, and sale of marijuana. But underage marijuana involvement is still illegal for New Jersey residents and visitors alike.
The law took effect on January 1, 2021. Governor Phil Murphy signed into law some legislation to stop marijuana possession arrests and make licensed retail sales legal on February 22, 2021.
A person 21 years or older can not only consume marijuana; they are now allowed to purchase, possess, and use cannabis paraphernalia.
However, selling paraphernalia is still a 4th-degree crime that can receive a maximum sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Selling paraphernalia to minors is a 3rd-degree crime that can result in a sentence of 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of as much as $25,000.
Advertising the sale of devices or equipment for cannabis use is a 4th-degree crime that can bring about a fine that doesn’t exceed $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 18 months.
Miscellaneous NJ Marijuana Laws
In New Jersey, if someone fails to give their marijuana or hashish to a police officer, they can receive a misdemeanor.
Furthermore, if someone is under the influence of cannabis or hashish – regardless of whether the person is driving a car or not – they can also be charged with a misdemeanor.
These misdemeanor marijuana-related offenses can be punished by:
Driver’s License Suspension in New Jersey
Suspending, revoking, or postponing one’s driving privileges for at least six months or beyond two years of each individual convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for at least 6 months and not beyond two years.
If the person is less than 17 years of age, the suspension will be no less than six months or beyond two years once they turn 17.
Laws for cannabis in New Jersey allow conditional release or alternative or diversion sentencing for anyone who is facing their first prosecutions.
Most of the time, conditional release allows an individual to choose probation instead of standing trial. Once the person successfully completes probation, their criminal record is wiped clean.
Each state criminalizes driving under the influence of controlled substances. New Jersey police officers know marijuana is legal, but the bills signed do not permit drugged driving, even on private property.
Some jurisdictions have additional per se laws. In some severe instances, these laws keep drivers from operating a motor vehicle if an illicit drug or drug metabolite is present in their bodily fluids above a specified threshold in accordance with state requirements.
New Jersey has put legislation in place that gives opportunities to those who have cannabis convictions related to activities that have been decriminalized/legalized. This includes having past marijuana convictions vacated, expunged, or sealed from public view.
Generally, legalization brings policy that encourages a legally controlled market for cannabis. This market lets consumers buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source with ongoing supervision and sales tax that supports the legal space.
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Even With Legalized Cannabis Elsewhere
Any time someone is convicted of an offense that can receive a mandatory minimum sentence, the judge has to sentence the defendant to the mandatory minimum sentence – or to a higher sentence.
However, historically speaking, this has impacted black and brown communities disproportionately.
This, of course, is a civil rights issue as these are high-impact zones that have been disproportionately affected by the law and the War on Drugs.
The judge does not have the power to sentence a defendant to less than the mandatory minimum.
So, a prisoner serving a minimum mandatory sentence for a federal offense and for most state offenses usually isn’t eligible for parole.
There are even instances in which peaceful marijuana consumers have been sentenced to life as a minimum sentence. In these cases, the convicted person must serve a life sentence without the opportunity to leave on parole.
Legal Marijuana/Medical Marijuana
Medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey. But how does the state see this treatment?
Modern research highlights the viability of cannabis as a treatment for a wide assortment of clinical applications. These uses include pain relief, nausea, glaucoma, spasticity, and movement disorders.
Cannabis is also an impressive appetite stimulant and some new research highlights that its medicinal properties could protect the body from malignant tumors and offer some neuroprotection.
Concluding on Cannabis Laws in NJ
Cannabis laws in the Garden State are becoming increasingly progressive. However, it’s important to know that it will never be a free-for-all industry.
Whether you operate a business in NJ’s cannabis space or are a consumer interested in purchasing infused products, the legal status of these products must be understood to avoid legal issues.
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At Northstar, we’ll analyze your business, track your financials, and determine how best to allocate your resources to ensure you successfully scale. Contact us now to learn more about how we’ll enhance your operation.
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Michigan medical marihuana is likely at the bottom of most cannabusiness operators’ concerns at this point. Recreational weed legalization in the Great Lake State has become the primary topic of interest since 2019 when sales began.
However, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, and Michigan Medical Marijuana Program have made medicinal marijuana more accessible than ever before.
This, of course, means that the medical space is exploding with opportunities for business owners interested in serving anyone who holds a Michigan medical marijuana card.
Keep reading to learn about the opportunities and barriers to entry you’ll face operating in Michigan’s medicinal marijuana sector.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Business Legislation to Know
Michigan voters helped legalize cannabis medicinally quite a while back. However, even with Michigan voters on board with this, operating a cannabusiness serving patients in this state comes with some obstacles.
The four acts you’ll need to understand are the Marihuana Tracking Act, Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act, and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
Tracks compliance with the laws that authorize commercial traffic in medical cannabis,
Identifies threats to health from batches of cannabis for recreational or medical use,
Demands people engaged in the commercial marijuana trade provide information to enter the system,
Provide powers and duties to the state departments and agencies involved with regulation,
And outline rules for the cannabis space.
Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) Summarized
The MMFLA was the first legislative package to clarify licensing and regulatory framework for medical cultivators, processors, transporters, safety compliance facilities, and provisioning centers in the state. While it’s somewhat comparable to the state’s recreational marijuana law, the MMFLA focuses on medical marihuana facilities.
The biggest change for medical business operators is that the MMFLA established a cap on the number of producer, processor, and safety compliance facility licenses. As recreational sales happened, the cap was effectively broken for these businesses.
The MMFLA regulates all commercial medical cannabis activity in the state. This includes testing, growing, processing, transporting, and selling cannabis products. The MMFLA outlines the importance of a permit to operate any kind of business related to medical sales. To receive a permit (license), operators must undergo extensive vetting and pass local zoning requirements.
Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) Summarized
Through the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), the electorate passed recreational marihuana use in 2018. Medical and recreational sales are managed by the state under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).
This is where most people start when they think about Michigan marijuana laws. The MRTMA provides an explanation for how cannabis will be taxed, grown, produced, processed, distributed, and sold recreationally in Michigan.
The MRTMA also outlines conduct that’s not allowed. This includes operating vehicles under the influence, sales of product or accessories to those under 21 years of age, public consumption, public cultivation, processing and consumption rules, and possession restrictions.
The MRTMA highlights commercial activity rules, too. Cultivation, processing, testing, and other operations related to the plant must adhere to the demands of this legislation, regardless of whether operating in the medical or adult-use marijuana space.
Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) Summarized
The MMMA offers insight into how much medical marijuana a patient or primary caregiver can possess legally. This involves a medical evaluation following debilitating medical conditions associated with a chronic or debilitating disease.
Through the MMMA, patients, caregivers, and medicinal cannabis business operators understand what’s allowed. These regulatory affairs allow certified patients access to safe marijuana in Michigan that can be used to treat a condition, like severe and persistent muscle spasms, inflammatory bowel disease, and other qualifying conditions.
Michigan medical patients some hoops to jump through, but it’s worth it for patients who need a medical marijuana card. The products these patients purchase are for medical use, meaning without access to medical cannabis cards, these medical cannabis products are unavailable to the general public.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Program Summarized
Patients need to be at least 18 years old to qualify for medical cannabis under the Michigan medical marijuana program. Then, if the patient has a primary caregiver, the caregiver must be included in their registry application.
What are the requirements for caregivers in Michigan?
Caregivers need to be at least 21 years old. Their record cannot have any convictions of violent or drug-related felonies.
Primary caregivers also must have a record clean of felonies for the last decade. These individuals are also only allowed up to five qualifying medical marijuana patients in their care.
What conditions qualify?
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Program reserves medical product access for Michigan residency holders who have a medical marijuana card for the following debilitating medical conditions:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
This legislation also reserves medical products for chronic or debilitating conditions, or their treatments, that results in one or more of the following:
Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy
Severe and chronic pain
Severe and persistent muscle spasms
How to get a card in Michigan?
Patients must submit an application and physician certification to obtain a Michigan medical marijuana card. Once a physician certification is obtained, patients applying for a medical marijuana card need to obtain a registry identification card.
A personal identification card is easy to get. Patients must do the following to submit an application form:
Apply for Registry Identification Card
Submit an Application Fee of $40
If designating a caregiver, include a copy of the caregiver’s valid state-issued driver’s license or government-issued document.
Offer Proof of Michigan Residency (a valid Michigan driver’s license will work).
Submit a Physician Certification Form
Michigan Medical Marijuana FAQ
How hard is it to get a medical card in Michigan?
These days, it’s incredibly easy to get a medical card. The application can be done online, and a recent report from the MRA claims the state has around 285,000 registered medical marijuana cardholders, which is a massive increase beyond 70 percent since 2012.
Does Michigan have medical Marijuanas?
Yes, medical product is available. With this being the case, the state also allows medicinal marijuana businesses to become licensed and operate, as well.
Medicinal marijuana legality offers an incredible opportunity, especially for business operators. This is particularly the case when considering how the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency is investing millions of dollars worth of marijuana tax revenue into medicinal marijuana research for veterans!
What qualifies for medical Marijuanas in Michigan?
The following health concerns qualify patients for medicinal marijuana under state law:
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease
Cachexia, or wasting syndrome
Seizures, including those characteristics of epilepsy
Severe and chronic pain
Severe and persistent muscle spasms
Can you get a medical card for anxiety in Michigan?
Some doctors might be willing to provide a recommendation for an MMMP card if the person suffers from debilitating anxiety. However, others might not be so quick to help the patient get their MMMP card.
Even though a patient might suffer from anxiety, a doctor or physician will need to analyze to determine if marijuana as medicine can treat it.
A medical card for anxiety is an option on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the doctor or physician the patient speaks with, they might get the recommendation they need.
Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA)
What is the MRA?
The Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) is responsible for regulating the adult-use marijuana establishments and licensees in the state per the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) and all related administrative requirements. However, this regulatory agency is not limited to recreational cannabis.
The Marijuana Regulatory Agency in Michigan is also responsible for ensuring that businesses adhere to the state’s Medical Marijuana Program, as well as its Medical Marihuana Act. Hence, if you’re operating a business that serves medicinal marijuana patient needs in this state, you’ll need to know how to interact with this state department.
The New York cannabis industry is in the process of expansion. As cannabis becomes more widely accepted and legalized throughout states, consumers are seeing more variety in products and brands.
While many people believe that marijuana is a dangerous substance that needs to be strictly regulated, statistics show otherwise. With this being the case, entrepreneurs interested in becoming part of the state’s recreational cannabis sector must wait as New York decides how it will legalize recreational marijuana.
Those interested in starting a cannabusiness in New York will need to understand marijuana regulation, as well as the cannabis management authority in place. But most importantly, you’ll need to know what’s involved in obtaining a marijuana business license in New York.
In this article, we’ll break down what you need to know about New York cannabis legalization and how to apply for a cannabis license.
Before we get started, let’s first understand marijuana’s legality in the state and how it’s progressed.
Interested in starting an adult use cannabusiness in New York? Contact us today to learn how we facilitate the application process and support legal operations that hold cannabis licenses.
Why Is Marijuana Illegal in New York?
Marijuana has been banned at the federal level since it was first classified as a schedule one drug under the Marijuana Tax Act.
In 1970, New York State legislators passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act, which classified marijuana as a controlled substance. The legislation defined possession of a small amount of marijuana as an unclassified misdemeanor, with higher penalties for larger quantities.
Governor Andrew Cuomo signed three marijuana bills into law. The legislation created the Compassionate Care Act, which legalized medical cannabis for patients suffering from serious health conditions.
The bill also set up a licensing program to regulate the production and sale of medical flower in New York State. This resulted in the establishment of five producers, or suppliers, who could grow and distribute medicinal cannabis. These are the companies:
New York Canna
The legislation additionally established the Office of Cannabis Management, which was tasked with overseeing and implementing the regulatory framework for cannabusinesses.
Under Cuomo’s leadership, New York has made significant strides in reforming its marijuana laws to meet the needs of its patients. However, New York remains one of the last states in the country that hasn’t legalized recreational cannabis use for adults age 21 and over – until now, that is!
Medical Cannabis & Recreational Marijuana in New York
New York has allowed licensed businesses to dispense medical herbs since 2016, allowing more than 143,000 patients access to their medicine. While it has been one of the slowest states to legalize both recreational and medical marijuana, New York has some of the most progressive cannabis laws in America. The state is now paving the way for broad access to CBD oil products, edibles, and more.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a bill that includes provisions to allow individuals convicted of marijuana possession misdemeanor crimes prior to 2019 (when recreational cannabis becomes fully legal in New York) to file a petition for a criminal record expungement through New York’s off-duty conduct law.
Gov. Cuomo also recently announced that the state plans to issue four additional licenses for businesses that want to dispense medical cannabis, an increase from the five currently operating across New York’s 54 counties and five boroughs.
But what about marijuana regulation? How will this work for the retail dispensaries, on site consumption sites, adult use cultivators, and other registered organizations looking to sell cannabis to New York adults?
New York state’s medical marijuana program has done a lot for patients living in the state. Medical marijuana is essential for some, and with medical cannabis legalization, New York has made tremendous strides to ensure cannabis prohibition had minimal impact on patients.
Unlike adult use retail sale cannabis, selling cannabis for medical purposes is a bit more flexible. It’s also a lot less work than selling cannabis for adult use retail sale, as patients and registered organizations can access any of the five medical marijuana companies in New York state to purchase their medicine.
Medical cannabis license holders are not permitted to operate retail dispensaries alongside cultivation or processing operations; they may only have one site location to sell within the state’s medical marijuana program.
Unlike those with an adult use distributor license, licensed distributors of medical marijuana use the state’s program under the guidance initiated by the Cannabis Control Board.
Medical marijuana products are available in New York. But adult use marijuana is still just on the horizon.
Voters legalized recreational cannabis. However, cannabusinesses must wait for marijuana regulation standards to completely outline how the state will legalize recreational cannabis.
New York’s Governor has months to create the rules and regulations that will govern licensed adult use cannabusinesses in New York. Many areas of focus must be addressed, including:
The state is still working on creating a licensing structure for its retail dispensary license. Until they finalize it, things are still up in the air about how the license types will work and how they’ll be issued.
While many business owners are hoping to open their own cannabusinesses, others may see an opportunity to work for a company that already has a marijuana retail license.
Regardless of whether you’re looking at starting your own cannabusiness or joining someone else’s, there are a lot of key aspects to take into consideration.
Local Laws, Ordinances, and Business License Requirements
New York cannabis businesses must abide by state regulations. However, cannabis operators may also be subject to a few local laws and ordinances that regulate where they can operate as well as the overall nature of their business operations.
Localities can have up to three months to approve a business license application.
Business Insurance Options
Under New York’s adult use cannabis laws, cannabis businesses must keep all of their records and materials for at least five years before they are eligible to dispose of them. But there’s more to it than that.
Businesses must also maintain business liability insurance or surety bonds as well as worker’s compensation insurance. Some cannabusinesses may need additional insurance policies depending on their location, building requirements, and projected revenue.
Business Banking Services
New York still has not approved any banking services for cannabis-related businesses. Even when the state begins licensing adult use marijuana companies, they will likely only be allowed to do business with other licensees through a state agency that will be set up to manage all financial operations of the state’s marijuana program.
The state is also still creating regulations to cover business permits. Business permit requirements are different for every municipality in New York, so cannabis operators must check with local and county offices before applying for a state license.
Adult Use Retail Sales Cannabis License Types
As mentioned above, the state is still deciding on the best way to issue cannabusiness licenses and what those licensing options will look like.
Businesses that sell marijuana recreationally must focus on preparing their applications for a license type called an A-license. These licenses will be issued to retailers who can sell both medical and recreational products.
The state may also issue permits for B-licenses or C-licenses. These license types are designed to govern different kinds of cannabis businesses and the products they sell.
Business License Fees
The state has not released any information about what business license fees will look like under its adult use cannabis laws.
State officials have estimated that the application fee alone could be as much as $25,000 with annual renewal costs of up to $20,000. It’s likely that businesses with multiple license types will face even higher fees.
Business License Security Deposits
Business owners who file for a marijuana business license will likely have to pay security deposits depending on how many separate permits they are applying for and the nature of their operations.
Businesses may also be required to make large capital investments when it comes to certain construction and improvements in order to meet the state’s security requirements.
Business License Transferability
Currently, New York does not have any transferable cannabusiness licenses. It is possible that the state will eventually allow businesses to sell their license or use it as leverage to obtain funding for future projects. However, at this point, there’s no license transferability available.
If a company wants to sell its interest in a cannabusiness, it must dissolve the business and start an entirely new one.
Business License Appeals
The rules for appeal and revocation of cannabbusiness licenses are still unclear at this point in time. Business owners who wish to protest or contest pending license denials can expect a lengthy appeals process that may take as long as nine months to complete.
Office of Cannabis Management (OCM)
The Office of Cannabis Management is tasked with the responsibility of managing all financial and operational aspects of New York State’s adult use cannabis program. This agency will be responsible for tracking every ounce of marijuana produced in the state as well as issuing tax receipts to businesses that pay sales taxes on marijuana products.
Commercial cannabis business owners must register with the OCM before applying for all other marijuana licenses.
The OCM will also be responsible for creating and enforcing cannabis business license requirements.
Business License Seals
New York State is developing a unique seal of approval that every marijuana-related business must use on its product packaging, labels and marketing materials.
The state hopes that the seal will enable state authorities to more easily determine whether or not a business is in compliance with all existing adult use cannabis laws.
Businesses found in violation of these rules may face penalties as severe as license revocation or criminal charges.
Business License Certifications for Employees
All employees working within New York’s adult use cannabis industry may have to obtain valid certification from the Department of Health. These certifications will ensure that all workers have received proper training before handling any marijuana products or serving to customers.
New York is expected to release more information about employee training and certification requirements in the near future.
Business License Reporting Requirements
New businesses working within New York’s adult use cannabis industry will be required to report all sales transactions for tax purposes within seven days of a transaction taking place. They must also track inventory levels, control overages and shortages, and report them to the OCM within seven days of discovery.
Business owners are prohibited from selling their marijuana products if the inventory levels do not match up with actual sales numbers. This is to ensure these products don’t end up on the black market. Thus, the business must make corrections and purchase new product until supply matches demand.
New York state will likely release more information about marijuana tax reporting requirements during future advisory board meetings, so businesses working within the industry should check back often for updates.
Business License Tax Requirements
The state marijuana tax rate in New York will depend on a variety of factors that must be weighed by authorized state authorities prior to implementation.
The basic framework of the adult use cannabis program stipulates taxes totaling 9% of sales and 4% local sales tax, but these rates could be adjusted based on the actual market price of marijuana, the consumer’s ability to pay and other variables.
Concluding on New York’s Cannabis-Related Licenses
New York will be making many changes to its cannabis laws and regulations before they go into effect in the near future. Since this is NY State’s first time implementing a marijuana program for adult use, it’s crucial to stay on top of any regulations the state puts in place.
New York will allow businesses to apply for a license to sell marijuana products in the very near future. The state has been working diligently on creating all of the business licenses and regulations necessary to make this program functional.
Before applying for any cannabis licenses, however, business owners must understand all of the laws and procedures involved with becoming a licensed marijuana-related company. This includes if you need an adult use distributor, adult use processor, limited cultivation, retail dispensary, or microbusiness license.
Adult use cannabis sales are set to blow up as soon as the licenses and regulations are in place. Whether you plan to operate a marijuana dispensary, want a nursery license as an adult use cultivator or processor license, need a distributor license, a delivery license, or some other license, keep in mind that the state will only accept applications after all required paperwork is in place and approved.
Looking for help breaking into New York’s recreational sector? Wondering how you can scale your operation in NY?
Contact us now to speak with one of our experts about how Northstar will help your business scale in New York!