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OKLAHOMA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM

OKLAHOMA’S MEDICAL MARIJUANA PROGRAM

The state of Oklahoma is planning to restrict their Medical Marijuana Program. The people of Oklahoma are expected to vote to approve a Medical Marijuana Program by June 2018.

Once again a state designates its Department of Health to make the decisions concerning medical marijuana. For example, in Florida the Department of Health is in charge of deciding and regulating the medical marijuana program. Oklahoma’s Senate proposed Bill 1120. This Bill enables the Department of Health to set the price of each dose a patient can buy.

On Monday February 26, 2018, the Bill 1120 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The Bill passed with 6 votes in favor and 5 in opposition.

The proposed Bill has generated an abundant amount controversy, particularly the language of the bill that expresses the penalties for doctors that recommend Medical Marijuana. If this bill passes only certain patients with the enumerated ailments will be able to access their medicine. The allowed ailments are neuropathic pain, persistent muscle spasms, nausea or vomiting due to chemotherapy or loss of weight and appetite due to cancer, HIV or AIDS. The spirit of the state’s amendment was to have the doctor decide which patient needs Medical Marijuana as medicine.

Similar to Florida’s MMJ program, the proposed program in Oklahoma intends to significantly limit the number of licenses by limiting the number or growers and dispensaries.

We will have to wait and see what happens in June. Based on our experience in the Florida market we can foresee the Oklahoma’s medical marijuana program will be extremely restricted. Having a restricted market directly affects the patients, who need immediate access to relief. The problem we keep encounter is the stigma around “marijuana.” It is not disputed that cannabis in all of its forms, marijuana and hemp, has a numerous medical benefits. By limiting the access to this medicine, the opioid crisis will not diminish. Statistically, states with comprehensive regulatory programs decrease their opioid abuse. As such, it’s obvious the world is looking for access to safer medicine!

Rolando Vazquez, Esq. 

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http://newsok.com/oklahoma-lawmakers-taking-shot-at-medical-marijuana-regulations-before-vote/article/5584882

http://www.tulsaworld.com/homepagelatest/bill-to-regulate-medical-marijuana-narrowly-advances-from-senate-committee/article_0124e5f3-dcdd-55d0-90f4-4ee370874c4d.html

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/oklahoma/articles/2018-02-27/oklahoma-lawmakers-consider-medical-marijuana-regulations

 

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Application Process for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) in Florida

 

Application Process for Medical

Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) in Florida

In Florida, the application for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) was released on September 19th, 2017. Licensed medical marijuana treatment centers are authorized to cultivate, process, transport and dispense medical marijuana. MMTC’s are the only businesses in Florida authorized to dispense and deliver medical marijuana to qualified patients and legal representatives. Some areas in the application are exactly the same as the Low THC application. Nonetheless, the application has its differences. One important difference is the page count limit imposed on the new applicants. This requirement limits the applicant’s ability to illustrate their uniqueness, creativeness and capabilities, amongst other trades and characteristics. 

Applicants must submit a non-refundable check of $60,830.00, which is an increase from the previous application fee of $60,063.00. Further, the program changed its name to The Office of Medical Marijuana Use, previously known as the Office of Compassionate Use. Tiebreaker language was also included in the application. Certified financials, business structure, diversity plan and accountability-operations, seem to be of paramount concern to the DOH, since these areas will determine the tie breaker in the event two candidates score the same.

Floridian entrepreneurs now have a cannabis investment opportunity, where before they had to be willing to invest in another state. But what should a potential investor look for in an investment opportunity? “When kicking the tires,” an investor should assess the board of directors, shareholders, and employees.

On a final note, some investors do not know the important differences between the low THC application and the current application process under Senate Bill 8A. Some of the applicants are confused as to the applicable rules. We strongly recommend that investors hire expert cannabis consultants for the application process. GreenAcre Consulting Team is the leading consulting firm in Florida for the Cannabis Industry.

Thank you,

Signature Rolando Vazquez copy

The complete article is available in the new edition of HIGHLIFE LOGO MAIN

 

 

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GreenAcre Once Again Ahead of the Game – A Special Session on MMJ Happened Against All Odds

GreenAcre Once Again Ahead of the Game –
A Special Session on MMJ Happened Against All Odds

In May of 2017, the Florida Legislature failed to reach an agreement on how to implement the State’s new Medical Marijuana Program, but this past Tuesday night an agreement between the House and Senate would continue this discussion during this week’s special session.

During the regular session, differences in opinion over a few fundamental elements found within the medical marijuana bill precluded the agreement from materializing. According to several sources, including the Miami Herald, those differences seem to have been resolved.

As GreenAcre predicted in early May, the latest bill agreed on 10 new vertically integrated licenses. Out of the 10 new licenses, 5 would be reserved for the second place applicants of the States “Charlotte’s Web” application process, where applicants applied in one of five regions. One license would be available for a group of farmers, which the State of Florida deems a minority group. Additionally, the Department of Health is required to extend preference on up to two licenses to facilities that are, or were in the industry of processing, concentrating, or canning, citrus fruit or citrus molasses.

The bill further expresses that four licenses will be issued for every 100,000 patients who are registered on the States medical marijuana registry. Licensees will be capped at 25 dispensaries per license, and five additional dispensaries for every 100,000 registered patients. Said dispensary cap would sunset in 2020 in the event legislators fail to legislate otherwise.

The bill has no single line of reasoning and is clearly developed on the conglomeration of lobbying efforts supported by the wrong corporate dollars and Politian’s who put their financial endeavors before the needs of Florida patients. This bill is undoubtedly one of the worst pieces of medical marijuana legislations in the world, from an objective perspective.

From the above-mentioned legislative fiasco, one positive element shines through, that being that a few vertically integrated licenses will be available. Now it’s time for those well seasoned canna-entrepreneurs to come into the Florida market and show the current players how the game is played.

Signature Rolando Vazquez copy

special session-florida legislature-greenacre

The Legality of the Medical Marijuana Program in Florida

 

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GreenAcre’s Upcoming Events and Last Week Events

GreenAcre’s
Upcoming Events and Last Week Events

Keeping clients and prospective clients updated with information related to the Cannabis Industry. GreenAcre consults on best industry practices, while also assisting clients with business plans, license application assistance, federal and state compliance, providing resources for the design and build of the projects, every associated business document needed for the advancement of the clients’ business ventures, staffing solutions, and any other service the project demands.GreenAcre offers different services for clients and potential clients that want to be part of the Cannabis Industry. From lobbying at the local and state level to consulting services for the application of licenses.

GreenAcre also provides consulting services to government entities, to date, Belize and Guyana. In light of GreenAcre’s legal, cannabis and business aptitude, they qualify as quintessential cannabis consultants.


Upcoming Events

GreenAcre’s Colorado Experience #2

Visit numerous cultivation sites and dispensaries in Colorado. Potential investors in the Cannabis Industry enjoy the experience because it gives them a better perspective of this Industry. The next Colorado Experience is schedule for 4/20/2017. If you want to be part of this experience, please send us an email at info@greenacreteam.com for more information.

GreenAcre’s Colorado Experience #1


Last Week Events

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Cannabis Law 101 at Saint Thomas University School of Law
March 15, 2017

Rolando Vazquez, Esq., President of GreenAcre Consulting Team, was the special guest speaker at the event: “Cannabis Law 101.” Law students had the opportunity to learn for the best representatives in the Cannabis Industry. Our panelists included: David Kotler, Daniel Sparks, Eric Stevens and Joe Brezny. Our special guests included: Jackie Waldman, Esq., and Senator Eleanor Sobel. Click on the link below to have access to Cannabis Law 101.

Cannabis Law 101 – Video

 

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Broward County Commissioner’s Meeting
March 14, 2017

Sabina Contreras, Vice President of GreenAcre Consulting Team, attended the Broward’s Commissioners meeting. Ms. Contreras’ efforts were sufficient to defer the passing of the ordinance regulating medical marijuana in Broward County.  Thanks to public comments and Ms. Contreras speech items 74, 75 and 76 were deferred for a later time. 

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How Medical Marijuana and The Second Amendment Collide: State v. Federal Law

How Medical Marijuana and The Second Amendment Collide: State v. Federal Law

By: Danielle DeMahy

There are twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. that legally allow the use of marijuana in some form, eight of which even allow recreational use. There are many disregarded health benefits that come with medical marijuana, such as reducing seizures or symptoms of cancer, decreasing anxiety, slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, reducing multiple sclerosis pain, and many other conditions.[1] States throughout the U.S. are slowly starting to see the increasing value in medical marijuana, thus implementing laws to support it.

In September 2011, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”) released an open letter after receiving numerous inquiries concerning state authorized medical marijuana and Federal firearms laws. The letter stated, “there are no exceptions in Federal law for marijuana purportedly used for medicinal purposes, even if such use is sanctioned by State law.”[2] According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, which is the class with the highest “potential for abuse and potential to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence.”[3]

When a person seeks to purchase a firearm, they are required to fill out the ATF’s Firearms Transaction Record, Form 4473. Included in this form is question 11(e), which asks the purchaser if they are “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.”[4] In 2017 a revision of the form was put in place which included a warning to potential purchasers explaining that even if marijuana is “legalized or decriminalized” for recreational or medical use in the state of residence, it still remains unlawful under Federal law. This means if you answered yes to question 11(e), you were prohibited by Federal law to purchase a firearm.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees a person’s right to bear arms for security purposes.[5] Recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that banning medical marijuana users from purchasing firearms does not violate their Second Amendment rights.[6] The court further explained that the purchaser could have accumulated legal firearms prior to acquiring her medical marijuana card (“Card”), and the ATF Open Letter and Federal laws would not impede her rights to retain possession of her firearms. On the other hand, she could purchase firearms and exercise her Second Amendment right at any time if she relinquished her Card, “thereby demonstrating to a firearms dealer that there is no reasonable cause to believe she is an unlawful drug user.”[7] The court’s questionable rationale is illustrated when it stated “it is beyond dispute that illegal drug users, including marijuana users, are likely, as a consequence of such use, to experience altered or impaired mental states that affect their judgment and that can lead to irrational or unpredictable behavior”[8]

Federal law criminalizes the possession or receiving of a firearm by a person addicted to a controlled substance or an unlawful drug user.[9] This law brings conflict to those who have been issued a valid Card and those same individuals who also choose to exercise their right to bear arms. Under some circumstances, they must choose either their health or their safety. This notion that substance use increases unpredictable behavior is fundamentally flawed.

In an interview, the authors of the book Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know compared this notion with cigarette smokers and alcohol. They explained that smoking alone certainly does not result in crime, but within the population of smokers there is a likelihood to find people participating in illegal behavior. Further, there is an alarming amount of evidence which shows a correlation between “alcohol intoxication and pharmacologically induced violent crimes.”[10] However, “[t]here is little direct association between marijuana or opiate use and violent crimes . . . it is also possible that for some would-be offenders, the pharmacological effect of certain drugs . . . may actually reduce violent tendencies.”[11]

Card hopefuls must go through a series of requirements before being issued a valid license. Each state has their own set procedure, for example, in Florida although the new laws are not set in place until June 2017, they list qualification requirements to obtain a Card. Among those qualifications, patients must obtain legitimate medical records from their primary care physician accurately describing the diagnosis; the patient must have been diagnosed by a doctor as having a debilitating medical condition; and upon receiving the Card, the patient must register with the Florida Department of Health.[12]

Individuals who will be able to obtained a Card are those with serious medical conditions, not just every person who desires one. To allow individuals to keep their firearms after they acquire a Card, but prohibit them from purchasing firearms after they acquire a Card is inconsistent. Using the court’s reasoning, what makes a person less irrational or unpredictable when having the firearm before obtaining a card? Now that medicinal marijuana is being legalized across the country, the Second Amendment must be applied consistently. The Federal Government must acknowledge the states that have legalized medicinal marijuana and properly categorize the individuals with a Card as lawful users.

[1] See Jennifer Welsh & Kevin Loria, 23 Health Benefits of Marijuana, Bus. Insider (Apr. 20, 2014, 3:03 PM), http://www.businessinsider.com/health-benefits-of-medical-marijuana-2014-4/#c-slows-the-progression-of-alzheimers-disease-7.

[2] Arthur Herbert, Open Letter to All Federal Firearms Licensees, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives (Sept. 21, 2011), https://www.atf.gov/file/60211/download.

[3] See Drug Scheduling, U.S. Drug Enf’t Admin, https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml (last visited Jan. 28, 2017).

[4] Firearms Transaction Record, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/4473-part-1-firearms-transaction-record-over-counter-atf-form-53009/download (revised Oct. 2016).

[5] See U.S. Const. amend. II.

[6] See Wilson v. Lynch, 835 F.3d 1083 (9th Cir. 2016).

[7] See id. at 1093.

[8] Id. at 1094 (emphasis added).

[9] See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3) (2016).

[10] Christopher Ingraham, Why Medical Marijuana Patients Can’t Buy Guns, The Wash. Post (Sept. 7, 2016), https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/09/07/why-medical-marijuana-patients-cant-buy-guns/?utm_term=.d039466fe50d.

[11] Supra note 9.

[12] See Florida Medical Marijuana Qualification, Marijuana Drs., https://www.marijuanadoctors.com/medical-marijuana/FL/qualification (last visited Jan. 28, 2016).

 

 


DeMahy

Danielle K. DeMahy
Juris Doctor Candidate, 2018
St. Thomas University School of Law
St. Thomas Law Review, Staff Editor

Ms. Danielle DeMahy is a Juris Doctor Candidate for May 2018 at St. Thomas Law School.  As a 2L, Ms. DeMahy  became interested in the Cannabis and Medical Marijuana subject while taking the course “Legal Issues for Startups, Entrepreneurs, and Small Businesses” at Saint Thomas University School of Law.  During the course Ms. DeMahy had to represent the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary going through the logistics and legal issues of starting a company in the Medical Marijuana Industry.