Good news! Today, the New Jersey Department of Health announced that it will begin accepting applications for six additional businesses that can grow, process, and sell medical cannabis in the state. The winning businesses are supposed to be announced on November 1. Unfortunately, there is no provision yet for equity applicants, although applicants may be awarded up to 50 (out of 1,000) points for diversity.
With the tiny number of existing businesses, patients have experienced supply shortages and high prices due to a lack of competition. Today’s expansion should help begin to address these problems, although more will need to be done. Separating the licenses for growing, processing, and selling cannabis will help make many more types of products available to patients, and the health department plans to consider additional applications for these licenses beginning in the fall.
In other news, while the June 30 budget deadline came and went without legislative action on any of the pending marijuana bills, Senate President Steve Sweeny has said he believes there could be a vote on legalizing and regulating this summer.
Maryland dispensaries are finally beginning to sell medical cannabis today, and more plan to do so by the end of next week according to media reports. Maryland’s rollout of the medical program has been one of the slowest in the country, so we are very glad to see it finally getting off the ground!
Unfortunately, prices are expected to be high, but hopefully they will decrease as more cannabis becomes available. Some dispensaries are using pre-registration or are limiting the amount patients can purchase to try and stretch the available supply. So far, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission has licensed 14 out of 15 growers, 12 out of 15 processors, and 10 out of 104 dispensaries. The licensed dispensaries’ locations are listed on the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission’s website.
Disappointingly, local opposition has delayed some dispensaries. Despite concerns about crime increasing around dispensaries, a recent study showed that the opposite is true — crime increased when the dispensaries were forced to close.
MPP congratulates all of the advocates, patients, lawmakers, regulators, business owners, and individuals who helped make this moment possible, and we will keep fighting to ensure that Maryland patients have the access they need.
In addition to providing for state-legal dispensaries, the bills will finally allow Michigan patients to use extracts and products like oils and edibles that are made from them.
MPP thanks the National Patients Rights Association and those who support it for working so hard to help guide these changes in the best direction possible
On June 1, 2012, Connecticut enacted a medical marijuana program that allows seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana. However, the law does not allow access for minor patients, many of whom would benefit greatly from access to this safe and effective treatment. Of the 24 states that have effective medical marijuana programs, Connecticut is the only state that does not allow access for younger patients.
A bill currently being considered, HB 5450, would allow minors to be qualifying patients. It would also allow dispensaries to distribute marijuana to hospices and other inpatient facilities and would allow nurses to administer marijuana in licensed health care facilities.
If you are a Connecticut resident, please urge the senate to swiftly pass legislation to help Connecticut’s seriously ill children.
Monday marked the start of the application process for those seeking to operate a business that would serve the adult retail market in Oregon. Applicants can now apply to be a non-medical marijuana producer, processor, wholesaler, laboratory, or retailer, or obtain a research certificate, on the state’s website.
This stage marks an important milestone in the transition now underway in the state. Currently, medical marijuana dispensaries participating in early-start recreational sales can provide cannabis for adult consumers, with dedicated shops serving the adult market coming online late this year. Monday also marked the first day that sales taxes apply for retail transactions. Participating medical dispensaries are now taxed at 25% for non-patient sales, but the sales tax could be as low as 17% for those with retail licenses.
State licensing officials report they will focus on cultivation and testing lab applications at the outset to help ensure production can begin as early as possible, and licenses could be issued in the spring. Retail shops are expected to open in the fourth quarter of this year.
Over half a dozen dispensaries have been authorized to open today, finally bringing relief to medical cannabis patients across Illinois. The store openings mark the most significant milestone since the law was passed nearly two and half years ago.
So far, eight dispensaries are approved to begin operating. The Illinois Medical Cannabis Community reports that at least five are confirmed to open today, including Harbory (Marion), Herbal Remedies (Quincy), EarthMed (Addison), Salveo Health and Wellness (Canton), and the Clinic Mundelein (Mundelein). The complete list of approved dispensaries and their locations is available here.
The medical cannabis pilot program has faced challenges since the law went into effect in January 2014. The state missed its deadline for issuing business licenses, and fewer patients signed up for the state registry than many expected. Further, the state has so far refused to expand the program to include numerous additional medical conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), despite support from medical experts on the health department’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board.
State patients are entitled to some good news, and these store openings are a welcome relief. MPP wishes to congratulate those businesses that are opening, and we thank Rep. Lou Lang, patient advocates, and the Illinois agency staff who worked so hard to bring this program to reality. We hope the program can finally relieve suffering for Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens.
Today, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a pre-registration process for the therapeutic use of cannabis program. The announcement, which appears on the department’s website, explains that patients and their designated caregivers may now submit their applications and that dispensaries are expected to open in the first quarter of 2016. The application forms are now available online.
Unfortunately, the department still says it will not begin issuing ID cards until the first dispensary is ready to open. This means patients could continue to be without legal protections for several more months. However, at least it is now possible for patients to submit applications rather than simply waiting for the program to become operational.
We encourage patients to pre-register, as this will reduce the chances the department will experience a backlog when it begins issuing ID cards.
Please share this news with your friends and family, and especially with any patients you know who have been waiting to benefit from this program.
On Friday, New York’s Department of Health awarded five organizations licenses allowing them to produce and dispense medical marijuana. Each of the five businesses will be allowed to operate up to four dispensaries within the state and must be doing business within six months.
The companies awarded licenses are Bloomfield Industries Inc., Columbia Care NY, Empire State Health Solutions, Etain, and PharmaCann. They plan to operate dispensaries that will serve only parts of the eastern portion of the state, with the exception of Monroe County, where Columbia Care NY plans to operate a dispensary. The Department of Health selected these five companies out of 43 applicants.
The Compassionate Care Act was signed last summer by Gov. Andrew Cuomo after he insisted on revisions that made the program among the most restrictive. Patients may neither smoke marijuana nor cultivate it at home, and several important conditions have been left out of the law. In addition, the number of registered organizations is extremely limited and will force some patients to travel long distances to get their medicine. Patients are in need of medical marijuana and continue to wait for access, but by January, eligible New Yorkers should finally have some legal in-state options for treatment.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill Monday that would enable adult residents of the state to legally purchase marijuana starting in October. The private use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana became legal this past July, but the state has not begun accepting applications for retail permits. In order to effectively limit the operational scope of illicit market actors before a regulated system is established, representatives from both parties agreed to allow customers to purchase marijuana, tax free, from medical marijuana facilities.
"The bill ... passed with significant bipartisan support in both chambers after a great deal of work by an implementation working group," said Brown's spokeswoman Kristen Grainger.
The law is explicitly temporary and will only allow non-patients to purchase marijuana until December 31, 2016. Applications for retail dispensaries are likely to be accepted starting in January 2016. Oregonians can expect the first adult retail shops to open next autumn.