State regulators in Ohio recognize that proposed licensing fees for medical marijuana businesses could initially surpass the state’s costs of running the program.
The program is requested approximately $2.5 million a year for operational costs in each of the next two years. That doesn’t comprise several unknown costs, including preparing the program’s licensing, product tracking and payment systems and creating a necessary toll-free hotline.
In the event the state issues all of the licenses it’s making accessible — 24 to cultivators, 40 to product processors and 60 to dispensaries — fees as proposed would create $10.8 million. The state has also made application fees for the licenses non-refundable.
Several advisers pushed back against the notion that fees may be overly high.
Ohioans who want to take up a medical marijuana business encouraged regulators on Monday to issue the few lucrative cultivator licenses to Ohio residents only.
As it stands now, the Ohio Department of Commerce intends to grant up to 12 large grow licenses and 12 small grow licenses statewide,licenses based on standards including a company’s business plan, security measures and industry experience.
Evidence that the company is based in Ohio, owned by Ohioans and intends to hire local workers factor into the review but aren’t required.
Kelly Mottola, who owns Hydro Innovations in Hilliard, said out-of-state companies will want to bring out-of-state workers.
“We’re the ones who fought for this,” Mottola said during a public meeting about the proposed cultivator licensing procedure. “Letting people from outside the state isn’t benefiting Ohio or Ohioans or our unemployment.”
Leaders of 2018 marijuana legalization efforts in Michigan are taking their message across the state, after more than 10,000 individuals assembled for the 46th annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor on Saturday.
Former state Rep. Jeff Irwin, a Democrat from Ann Arbor, is the political director for the newly formed Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, which is expecting to collect enough signatures beginning in May to get the issue of legalizing marijuana in Michigan on the ballot in November 2018.
Lansing lawyer Jeff Hank is heading the separate MI Legalize 2018 campaign, which likewise hopes to start collecting signatures in May.
Whether there will be two different initiatives, or whether the two groups unify around one proposal, remains to be seen.
Both efforts, together with other organizations, have been working together to draft language for a proposal to legalize recreational use of pot for individuals 21 and older, and to tax and regulate it.
The medical marijuana decision made by the Adrian City Commission does not mean dispensaries or grow facilities will start popping up shortly.
It does mean such developments will likely be discussed and debated in the coming months and could eventually be a reality in the event the city later this year decides to enact local regulations for them.
By a 5-2 vote, the city commission made a decision to consider an ordinance allowing medical marijuana facilities within the city of Adrian. Commissioner Tom Faulhaber and Mayor Jim Berryman voted against the resolution.
City attorney Sarah Osburn said the city commission agreed to “consider” an ordinance, so there isn’t any obligation to anything more at this time. On the other hand the city will start analyzing and holding work sessions about a potential ordinance and determine its wording on such conditions as where and how many such facilities would be permitted within city limits.
A legislative committee is divided in half last Tuesday on the matter over which agencies should license and regulate marijuana businesses in Maine, emphasizing the challenging path ahead as the state moves toward retail sales of legal marijuana.
After weeks of talks, lawmakers did not coalesce behind just one strategy for which agency should take the lead in licensing the businesses which may grow, manufacture, test and sell marijuana products for the recreational market. While part of the committee wanted the Department of Administrative and Financial Services to manage all licensing, other members contended that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is better equipped to at least manage licensing for cultivation, testing and packaging of marijuana.
It’s a debate over process with possible consequences for the timing of retail marijuana sales in Maine, anticipated to start next year.
There is a buzz in Bangor, Maine, regarding the mayor’s suggestion to start a city-run retail marijuana store.
Council chair Joe Baldacci announced the idea last week, saying it’d help the city keep control over the way marijuana is sold, while ensuring revenue remains local.
“Someone is going to sell it, and it should be done in the most responsible way possible,” said Baldacci.
Last November, Maine voters approved marijuana legalization. As a statewide policy is drafted by the legislature, local municipalities are now hashing out the details.
To be able to start a city-run shop, Baldacci said the council would need to create a non-profit that handles it. He said it would be the only seller of marijuana in the city.
“It would be the most boring marijuana retail establishment,” he laughed.
Rhode Island state legislators say that they have sufficient support to pass a bill if it comes to a vote this spring in the Democrat-controlled General Assembly. The law makers are expecting to legalize recreational marijuana soon and may beat Massachusetts on it.
Scott Slater, a Providence Democrat and legalization proponent, said taking actions this year would allow Rhode Island to have regulations and a new source of tax revenue in place before retail marijuana shops open over the border in Massachusetts. He said Rhode Island has already reinforced how they tax and regulate medical marijuana plants, so making a change to enable recreational use wouldn’t be tough.
“We’ll definitely be able to beat Massachusetts to the punch,” Slater said. He additionally said that Massachusetts appears to be delaying their recreational regulations.
As marijuana legalization crossed the US in November, Arizona was in its rejection of legal pot. There, a pharmaceutical company called Insys was a major backer of the successful effort to prevent the state’s recreational cannabis measure, openly asserting that marijuana businesses would be detrimental for public health and endanger children.
But to marijuana activists, the objective of Insys was clear – to crush the competition.
Affirming those suspicions, Insys has now received approval from the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to develop its own synthetic marijuana, the most recent instance of Big Pharma combating small cannabis growers.
With marijuana now legal in over half of the US, longtime underground players and the budding cannabis industry have grown increasingly worried concerning the risk presented by powerful pharmaceutical manufacturers, which have concurrently helped fight legalization while seeking to develop their very own synthetic cannabis.
Alaska along with three other western states on Monday asked the Trump administration not to scrap federal policies which have acted as the basis for state cannabis industries.
Existing federal policy is “vital to maintaining control over marijuana in our states” says a letter dated April 3, signed by Gov. Bill Walker and the governors of Oregon, Washington and Colorado. All four states have controlled commercial cannabis industries.
“We request the Trump Administration to interact with us before embarking on any changes,” the letter says.
The letter is addressed to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Attorney General Jeff Sessions of the U.S. Justice Department. Sessions was vocal about his opposition to legal marijuana while a part of the U.S. Senate.
“We understand you and others in the administration have some concerns regarding marijuana,” says the letter. “We sympathize, as many of us expressed apprehensions before our states enacted current laws. As governors, we’ve dedicated to implementing the will of our citizens.”