The Michigan State Senate has cleared the way for a new statewide regulatory system for the medical cannabis industry by passing a package of five related bills, the Detroit News reported. House Bills 4209, 4210, and 4827, along with Senate Bills 141 and 1014, creates a licensing system for plant-touching businesses, including growers, processors, transporters, testing labs, and provisioning centers and dispensaries, the Detroit Free Press reported. State business licenses would cost $5,000 annually. The measures would also formally legalize edibles, establish a seed-to-sale tracking system, enact a two-year prison penalty for selling MMJ without a license, and place medical marijuana regulation under the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards.
A medical marijuana initiative will appear on North Dakota’s November 8 ballot. Advocates submitted more than 17,600 signatures to the Secretary of State, who certified the initiative for the ballot in August. Measure 5, known as the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, would allow patients with a qualifying condition and a doctor’s recommendation to access medical marijuana from a state-licensed compassion center. Patients living farther than 40 miles from a compassion center will be able to grow up to eight plants at home. To participate in the program, patients would apply to the Department of Health for a registry identification card by submitting an application, a fee, and a written certification from a doctor who confirms the patient has a qualifying condition.
Ohio’s medical marijuana law went into effect last month. On September 8 Ohio agencies could officially begin writing and adopting rules for medical cannabis businesses. The state’s new regulatory framework brings protections for qualified medical marijuana patients. Under the law’s “affirmative defense,” patients will no longer be subject to criminal conviction for possessing marijuana if they meet certain requirements. The affirmative defense provides limited, temporary protections for patients while the formal program rolls out. It requires a signed letter from a licensed physician, including information about the patient and the medical condition treated. The protections do not apply to the cultivation or sale of marijuana.
Since Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act (Act 16) went into effect on May 17, 2016, the Department of Health has been working to implement the new law. To this point, it has created regulations regarding — and accepted applications for — the safe harbor letter program, which provides legal protections for those caring for minor patients when they administer medical marijuana. In August, the department released a draft of temporary regulations regarding growers and processors and asked for public comments. The department also announced a public survey for patients and caregivers, which allows individuals to provide input on the application process and the financial hardship program.
In August, Maryland’s medical marijuana commission voted to grant preliminary approval to 15 growers and 15 processors who applied earlier in the year. The decision regarding which applicants would be approved was based on a scoring system provided by the Towson University Regional Economic Studies Institute, which processed the applications. The selected applicants will proceed with financial and background checks before obtaining licenses. The commission was only permitted to give preliminary approval to 15 growers; there was no limit to the number of processors they could approve, but they opted to only approve 15 to maintain consistency.