The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Sends Comments to USDA on Interim Final Hemp Rule
December 4, 2019
For more information contact: Jim Britt at (207) 287-3156
AUGUSTA, Maine - The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has issued its comments to the USDA on the Interim Final Hemp Rule, expressing concerns with proposed requirements that have the potential to adversely affect the growth of the hemp industry in Maine. The comments come after a thorough analysis by state officials and include feedback from Maine farmers. The USDA's proposed hemp regulations were released Oct. 29, 2019, and states were invited to review and respond with comments within 60-days.
"The requirements proposed by the interim rule have the potential to be detrimental to Maine farmers who have invested in hemp production, as well as those who are planning to enter this emerging hemp industry," commented Amanda Beal, DACF Commissioner. We strongly encourage the USDA to ensure that the final rules are practical and dont hamper the future growth of hemp production and its potential contribution to Maines economy.
Maines hemp program launched in 2016 with one grower, and today 181 licensed hemp farmers are growing hemp in all of Maines 16 counties, and crop varieties are thriving.
We urge the USDA to deliver a flexible Domestic Hemp Production Program rule that takes into consideration the complexities of hemp production, commented Nancy McBrady, Director, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources. Maine farmers have spoken, and we agree, that the rules proposed by the USDA are overly burdensome, and we are hopeful that changes will be made that reflect the needs of hemp farmers.
The following comments were submitted E. Ann Gibbs, Director of Animal and Plant Health, Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources, on the United States Department of Agricultures (USDA) Interim Final Hemp Rule:
SDA Agricultural Marketing Service Doc. No. AMS-SC-19-0042 SC19-990-2 I. Via Email
Re: State of Maine Comments on USDA Interim Final Hemp Rules
The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry thanks you for the opportunity to comment on the USDA AMS interim final rule, 7 CFR Part 990 Establishment of a Domestic Hemp Production Program (Rule). Maine has had a hemp program in place since 2016, beginning with one grower who harvested seed from less than an acre. This has since grown to 181 license agreements and over 2000 acres of planted hemp in 2019. Hemp is now grown in every one of Maines 16 counties, and the varieties grown are thriving in all parts of the state. There has been a lot of support for and interest in this new crop by producers, private industry, the state legislature, and the Department. However, we are concerned that the requirements proposed by the Rules will require some major adjustments to the program that could adversely affect the growth of this industry in Maine. Below are our comments regarding how these proposed changes will impact the Maine program.
The Rules require that testing labs be registered with DEA. This may be cumbersome at best and impossible to meet at worst. In 2019, the Maine program switched to using one available private testing lab, which is not currently registered with DEA, because our state lab was unable to process samples. The private lab is ISO 17025 accredited, which is an important accreditation because it requires third-party assessors to evaluate the laboratorys ability to produce precise, accurate test and calibration data, and facilities are regularly reassessed to ensure technical expertise is maintained. ISO 17025 accreditation is more important to the state than DEA registration.
It is also unclear how many labs in Maine will seek DEA registration for hemp, or if they will even be available to test hemp samples. Maine just approved and is implementing a recreational marijuana program, and with the new push to find labs to test marijuana, labs may choose to focus on this crop and not hemp. Hemp testing labs will also need a DEA approved plan for disposal of non-compliant hemp, and those requirements are not clear at this time.
DACF is concerned that the USDAs requirement for a 0.3% Total THC level with no provision for mitigation does not allow for enough flexibility given the realities of the crop. This is not practical: many hemp cultivars are unstable and may fluctuate in THC content depending on soil type, climate, weather, pest infestations, or other plant stress factors. Since the sampling procedures are worst case based and do not include plant material from the entire plant, non-compliant test results should be allowed to be mitigated. The 2018 Farm Bill under Section 297B e(2)(B) Corrective Action Plan appears to allow the state to develop corrective actions when a growers hemp is found to be above 0.3% Total THC. The states corrective action plan should be allowed to include grower requirements to extract from or process the entire plant as biomass when total THC levels are above 0.3% and below 0.5%. (Note that, ideally, Maine would prefer that the upper limit be 1% Total THC because the risk of anyone using that cannabis for the marijuana market is virtually non-existent.) Additionally, the extractor or processor could be required to assure the THC level of any product produced is diluted below the 0.3% threshold, and if any excess THC isolate exists, that it is properly disposed.
Currently, Maine law only requires hemp to be less than 0.3% delta 9 THC (not Total THC). Many of the CBD varieties currently grown will not meet USDAs new total THC threshold. If the USDA retains the 0.3% Total THC level with no allowance for flexibility, the likely outcome for growers would be significant lost investments and diminished market prospects for what limited varieties will qualify as hemp using this limit. The industrys growth prospects could be significantly reduced. We urge the USDA to allow for greater, yet manageable, flexibility in determining THC levels that can qualify as hemp with or without additional mitigation. Another direction the USDA could take on defining what qualifies as hemp is to use taxonomic determination based on the genetic testing of known cannabinoid ratios of stable cultivars. Type III cultivars that are CBD dominant with a ratio of at least 20:1 CBD to THC are not psychoactive and produce high levels of CBD, which is one of the chief derivatives that hemp growers seek.
Under the new Rules, the state will be required to sample every field and every area that has a different variety/strain growing, which will substantially increase the number of samples required to be collected. We believe that this is impractical. DACF currently collects one sample per license agreement, and some of our licensees have 15 20 different grow sites. This year there were 217 grow sites on 182 license agreements and multiple varieties grown on more than half of those sites. Had the new Rules been in effect for 2019, the number of THC samples would have increased from 182 samples to 300 or more. An additional complication for sampling is the requirement for the licensee or a designated employee to accompany the sampling agent throughout the sampling process. This requirement, along with the increased number of samples, will make the states sampling of all hemp lots within 15 days of harvest very difficult. Both of these added burdens will require additional FTEs to complete the sampling within the 15-day timeframe.
The Rules will require hemp farms to register with the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA). While we understand that the potential benefit to growers for registering is possible financial assistance from FSA under certain future circumstances, we believe it could also be a significant barrier for small, less experienced growers who comprise the bulk of our licensees. Registration with FSA could discourage growers from becoming licensed because many of them are also medical marijuana growers and would not be favorable to registering their land with a federal agency. The state hemp program depends upon license fees to support the regulatory program. If too many growers are discouraged by this requirement, the program may not be self-sustaining.
The requirement for background checks to exclude applicants with a felony in the last 10 years will be a significant change to the Maine program, which does not require such checks. Maines original state statues included a requirement for background checks, which were later deleted in the 2015 laws. This requirement will add another barrier for hemp growers who will be facing numerous new registration and reporting requirements under the Rules. Maine also has a statutory conflict with this requirement. 5 MRS Chapter 341 5303(1) only allows our agency to disqualify an individual from licensing on the basis of a criminal record for a maximum period of three years.
The Rules monthly reporting requirements to the USDA AMS are extensive and will impose burdens on the state to implement. The state will have to develop a more sophisticated and costly database in order to fulfill these requirements. Further, because one of the monthly reports requires submission of geospatial location data, the state will have to amend the current licensing statutes that protect locations of hemp production sites as confidential information. The new reports will also require our current testing lab to change their report format and develop a process to notify the grower as well as the state of the total THC test results for each crop lot. Finally, the Rule requires use of a special license numbering system. Implementation of the new numbering scheme is an additional burden. All of these data and reporting requirements will increase the program workload and require additional state expenses.
Currently, when non-compliant hemp is found in Maine, the Department notifies local law enforcement and then the Department oversees grower destruction of the crop. The USDAs Rule changes this process so that if non-compliant hemp is found, the DEA or another entity authorized to handle marijuana under the Controlled Substance Act will dictate the process for disposal. Recognizing the time and effort that may be asked of these entities in disposal situations, the Department advocates that options for destruction include simple solutions such as mowing, disking-in the crop, or composting.
The Department is concerned that the USDAs approved plan implementation deadline of October 31, 2020, will seriously disrupt Maine and other states current licensing schemes, to the detriment of growers. If growers state licenses are void after that date, it could create a barrier for the licensee to sell their 2020 crop. For instance, if hemp is harvested prior to October 31, 2020, and was tested under the states 0.3% delta 9 THC method, will that hemp no longer be allowed to be sold on or after October 31st? Further, due to the Rules requirement that currently confidential grower data be reported to the USDA, the Maine legislature will need to make statutory changes to current Maine law. Given the states legislative calendar, this may be impossible to achieve by that timeframe. We urge the USDA to rethink this deadline or provide for extended implementation dates, should states face legislative hurdles to comply. An alternative option would be to continue to operate state programs and gradually phase into the Federal program as milestones are achieved to comply with the Rule.
FEDERAL PROGRAMS AND AGENCIES
The Department is hopeful that these rules will establish a firm basis for Land Grant Universities to pursue hemp research without any threat of federal grant disqualification. The University of Maines risk management department has not allowed university staff to conduct any research that requires handling of cannabis of any form. We also are supportive of providing hemp growers access to the USDA-FSA cost-share funding and the USDA-NRCS programs. The Department would support allowing new hemp farmers to access that funding and those programs even earlier than the current rules allow.
The Department hopes these comments are instructive as the USDA determines how to move forward with implementing the Federal hemp program. As presented, these Rules will be challenging to implement for states with existing hemp programs and could threaten the future growth of the industry overall. The years of hands-on and practical experience that Maine, along with numerous other states, has had operating its hemp program should inform the USDA on how these Rules should be amended. Please dont hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.
Director Division of Animal and Plant Health
Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
October 24, 2019
Hello, thank you for receiving and sharing this update with your industry peers.
Below is a brief summary of updated hemp and CBD guidelines, followed by full text of the Guidelines for Enforcement.
The July 2019 Maine Agency Guidelines focused on hemp regulation pursuant LD 630 (PL 2019 c.12). This law made it legal in Maine for food, food additives, and food products to contain cannabidiol (CBD). These products will not be considered “adulterated” under Maine law based solely on containing CBD. The state interpreted LD 630 as requiring CBD used in products created in Maine must be derived from hemp grown solely in Maine. This was reflected in the July guidance, which made clear that out-of-state CBD was not allowed to be purchased across state lines and utilized in products manufactured in Maine. The guidance also stated that state inspectors could review documents to verify whether products were derived from Maine-grown hemp. Later in the session, the Maine Legislature passed LD 1749 (PL 2019 c.528). Because LD 1749 had the effect of eliminating LD 630’s prohibition of out-of-state CBD, new guidance was needed.
• LD 1749 allows CBD to be brought into Maine from another state which has a licensed hemp program.
• Several factors remained consistent between the July and October Guidelines:
o The prohibition on the importation of food products containing CBD from another state into Maine remains.
o Ingestible products sold at retail in Maine must be produced in Maine.
o Product labeling requirements remain unchanged, as does the prohibition on making any health claims relating to CBD absent approval pursuant to federal law.
MAINE AGENCY GUIDELINES for ENFORCEMENT of PL 2019 c. 528[LD 1749]
Maine law, like the US Farm Bill of 2018, has expanded the definition of hemp to include cannabis plants and extracts of such plants (including cannabidiol or CBD) which have less than 0.3% delta-9-THC by dry weight. The US FDA retains the authority to regulate food, drug, and cosmetic products, including those containing hemp or cannabidiol/CBD. US FDA has issued statements prohibiting food, unapproved drugs, dietary supplements, pet food, and unapproved animal drugs that contain CBD from interstate commerce. In Maine, the Food Code had similar restrictions about CBD in food. Maine lawmakers responded with emergency enactment of PL 2019, c. 12 [LD 630], effective March 2019, and PL 2019, c. 528, effective September 19, 2019. These laws made changes to Maine’s pure foods and drugs statutes and laws regarding hemp.
This guidance covers inspectors who enforce the Maine Food Code. This includes inspectors from the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, which regulates retail food establishments, and the DHHS Health Inspection Program/designated municipalities, which regulate eating establishments. It is legal, per the Maine Food Code, for licensees to sell edible products containing CBD subject to the conditions outlined below:
• Per 22 MRS §2157(15) packaged food, food additives, or food products must be clearly labeled by including:
o the ingredient it contains (hemp or CBD) and amount by weight or volume;
o name and address of the source of the hemp from which the cannabidiol was derived;
o in the case of extracts (such as CBD oil) or tinctures, indicates the batch number; and
o a disclosure statement that the food, food, additive or food product has not been tested or evaluated for safety; or
• Per 22 MRS §2157(15) unpackaged food, food additives or food products must:
o clearly note the inclusion of CBD on a notice next to the food, food additive or product; next to the pertinent listing on a menu; or in an open manner where the food product is served, and
o have a conspicuously displayed directory for use by customers with information on the contents of all unpackaged food products sold/served that contain CBD from hemp.
• The food product label, menu, advertising, and any other related information must not include health claims that items with hemp or CBD can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or injury without approval pursuant to federal law.
• Source CBD may be from Maine or brought into Maine from another state that has a Farm Bill 2014 hemp program. The licensee must have the state hemp program number for the source CBD provider.
• The delta-9-THC content of any hemp, CBD extract, or product must be less than 0.3%.
• Ingestible products (food) may not be imported from out of state if they already contain CBD, since that is still a violation of federal law and the Maine Food Code. Ingestible products sold at retail in Maine must be produced in Maine.
These guidelines are for use by DHHS and DACF retail inspection staff. They will be enforced beginning December 1, 2019. These guidelines may be shared with the understanding that state and federal statutory changes and rulemaking are ongoing and may alter any of the above conditions and/or add new conditions.
For all hemp program information visit https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/hemp/.
Maine Cannabis Regulators Complete Final Adoption of Adult Use Rules
Action by state’s Office of Marijuana Policy establishes timeline for accepting adult use applications and begins staggered rollout of regulated adult use industry.
AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, today announced it has completed final adoption of major substantive rules related to Maine’s adult use marijuana program. The administrative rules establish the regulatory framework governing the licensing, compliance, enforcement and oversight of the forthcoming adult use marijuana industry in Maine and marks OMP’s most significant accomplishment to date.
In accordance with state law, the new regulations become effective 30 days following final adoption, which is Thursday, December 5, 2019. With final adoption complete, OMP will now shift its attention to the application and licensing processes required of prospective adult use licensees.
“Over the last eight months, the Office of Marijuana Policy has worked with legislators, community leaders, public health and safety experts, industry stakeholders, and members of the public to develop and institute regulations that we hope will serve as a model of how to properly regulate marijuana for the rest of the country,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. "The goal of OMP has been to put forth the best rules and regulations possible, and our work benefitted significantly from the valuable input provided by stakeholders through this process."
Beginning immediately, prospective licensees may register to complete fingerprinting for their state and federal background checks and complete an individual identification card application. Fingerprinting is available through IdentoGO (https://me.ibtfingerprint.com/), a nationwide provider of identity-related services with locations available throughout Maine. Applications for individual identification cards are available on the OMP website (https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/adult-use/applications-forms/).
All individuals working in or for a licensed marijuana establishment who possess, cultivate, manufacture, package, test, dispense, transfer, serve, handle, transport or deliver marijuana or marijuana products are required to have an OMP-issued individual identification card. Information contained in the background checks will inform the Office’s decisions about whether a prospective licensee or their employees satisfy the character and fitness requirements written into law and rule.
“While our adult use rules do not go into effect until December, beginning the background check process and accepting individual identification card applications are concrete steps prospective licensees can take today to prepare to enter this emerging industry,” added Gundersen. “Making certain applications and forms available in advance will allow our office to better respond to questions raised by applicants of this new program. In the coming weeks, OMP will continue its staggered rollout of adult use applications and forms.”
On Monday, November 18, 2019, OMP will make license applications for marijuana testing facilities available on its website. The remaining applications for adult use marijuana cultivation, products manufacturing, and retail facilities will be made available on December 5, 2019. No individual identification cards or conditional facility licenses will be issued by OMP until at least the effective date of the adult use marijuana program rule.
Occurring a month and a half after the effective date of LD 719, the legislation that made several changes to the Marijuana Legalization Act, final adoption completes the major substantive portion of OMP’s adult use rulemaking activity. Rulemaking on marijuana testing facility licensing is forthcoming.
“We established several lofty goals at the outset of our work, including delivery of adult use rules before the legislature adjourned in June and making adult use applications available by the conclusion of 2019,” concluded Gundersen. “I am proud of the incredible work of our office to fulfill these commitments to an industry and public that have been waiting patiently for this work to be completed.”
OMP was established by the Mills Administration in February 2019 to oversee Maine’s existing medical marijuana program and implement the voter-approved Marijuana Legalization Act. Its first rulemaking began in late March and has continued since then in both the adult use and medical use of marijuana programs.
State of Maine Adopts Universal Symbol for Adult Use Marijuana
Office of Marijuana Policy partners with Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to unveil the first-ever shared universal symbol for marijuana and marijuana products.
AUGUSTA – Earlier today, the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, introduced the universal symbol that will be used to identify adult use marijuana and marijuana products. The symbol, required by the Marijuana Legalization Act, will be used in Maine by prospective adult use marijuana licensees and the public to identify packages and products containing marijuana.
To deploy Maine’s universal symbol, OMP chose to partner with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to unveil the first-ever shared universal symbol for marijuana and marijuana products.
The symbol—which has already been successfully used in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts—features a red triangle above text reading “CONTAINS THC”. Centered within the triangle is a black marijuana leaf superimposed on a field of white. THC is the common acronym for tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive compound found in marijuana.
“The adoption of a universal symbol in Maine is an important measure taken by the Office of Marijuana Policy to ensure Maine people are fully aware that a product contains marijuana,” said Erik Gundersen, director of the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy. “Given our regional proximity and the close personal and business ties our two states share, the use of the same universal symbol will ensure that consumers can clearly recognize products that contain THC whether in Massachusetts or Maine.”
In choosing Maine’s universal symbol, OMP reviewed existing statutory requirements for labeling and packaging as well as the requirements of their provisionally adopted adult use marijuana rules. With that work completed, OMP began to survey established universal symbols and quickly recognized that the form, content, and style of symbols in use by other states were anything but universal.
OMP staff identified the CCC’s symbol as a potential opportunity for collaboration and were pleased with how warmly the suggestion of utilizing the same symbol was received by their counterparts in Massachusetts.
“The Cannabis Control Commission is excited to partner with the State of Maine on the first universal symbol to be shared by two distinct regulatory jurisdictions,” said Shawn Collins, executive director of the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission. “Whether an adult is interested in consuming legal marijuana products or not, our universal symbol helps identify when an item contains THC and serves as a key deterrent to accidental ingestions. Our states share a mutual goal of developing safe and secure marketplaces, and this collaboration demonstrates our progress toward that objective.”
In Maine, use of the universal symbol is required by adult use marijuana licensees. For product packaging and labeling, the symbol must appear on the front or most predominantly displayed area of the marketing layer. It may appear no smaller than half an inch by half an inch.
For edible marijuana products, each single standardized serving of marijuana must be marked, stamped or otherwise imprinted with the universal symbol directly on at least one side of the product. It may not appear less than a quarter of an inch by a quarter of an inch.
While not required, OMP encourages caregivers and dispensaries currently operating within Maine’s Medical Use of Marijuana Program to consider utilizing Maine’s universal symbol.
“I would like to extend my thanks to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission, Executive Director Collins, and his staff for their work in making this important milestone possible,” added Director Gundersen. “Our positive working relationships with other marijuana-regulating states have been exceedingly helpful as Maine is set to become the second state on the east coast to launch an adult use program.”
Introduction of the universal symbol in Maine comes as OMP prepares to complete final adoption of its rules that will serve as the regulatory framework for the state’s new adult use industry. The office intends to begin accepting adult use applications by the end of 2019.
For more information on Maine's universal symbol, please visit: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/resources/universal-symbol.
An image depicting Maine's newly adopted universal symbol, which OMP deployed after partnering with the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.
Health Insurance, Life Insurance and Monthly Benefits for Caregivers
Registration for BioTrackTHC Trainings Opened Monday
The Office of Marijuana Policy is pleased to announce that the next round of track and trace portal trainings will begin on Monday, October 21, 2019. These training sessions are specifically intended for prospective adult use licensees and will be held in Augusta, Bangor, Hallowell, Lewiston, and Portland.
Registration for these training sessions will open at 8:00AM EDT on Monday, October 7, 2019. Registration is available through the Eventbrite event registration platform and will occur on a first-come, first-served basis.
BioTrackTHC/Track and Trace Portal Training Sessions
- Monday, October 21: Augusta (https://augustabiotrack.eventbrite.com)
- Tuesday, October 22: Bangor (https://bangorbiotrack.eventbrite.com)
- Wednesday, October 23: Hallowell (https://hallowellbiotrack.eventbrite.com)
- Thursday, October 24: Lewiston (https://lewistonbiotrack.eventbrite.com)
- Friday, October 25: Portland (https://portlandbiotrack.eventbrite.com)
In addition, BioTrackTHC manuals and training videos are currently available online: https://www.biotrack.com/maine-manuals/
If you completed a medical use training in September, you will not be required to take an adult use class.
OMP Conducts Public Hearing on Testing Facility Certification Rule
Earlier this week, the Office of Marijuana Policy conducted a public hearing on our proposed marijuana testing facility certification rule.
The public comment period concludes at 5pm EDT on Thursday, October 10, 2019.
Comment may be submitted through the OMP website or to the attention of Gabi Bérubé Pierce, Esq. via the following:
- Office of Marijuana Policy
162 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0162
- Fax: 207-287-2671
See new caregiver application
New Caregiver application showing the costs for 30 plants or new 500’ canopy rule..
PASSED! LD 1218
An Act to Allow Maine Marijuana Caregivers to measure Cultivation Limits by Plant Canopy Size..
Cultivate up to 30 mature marijuana plants OR .....
500 square feet of plant canopy, 60 immature marijuana plants and unlimited seedlings.
Office of Marijuana Policy Provides Update on Rulemaking Activity
State marijuana office prepares for final adoption of adult use rules, releases draft of medical track and trace rules.
AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), today provided stakeholders and interested members of the public with an update on its current and future rulemaking activity.
OMP was established by the Mills Administration in February to oversee Maine’s existing medical marijuana program and implement the voter-approved Marijuana Legalization Act. Its first rulemaking began in late March and has continued since then in both the adult use and medical use of marijuana programs.
On Thursday, LD 719, An Act To Amend the Adult Use Marijuana Law, went into effect with other nonemergency legislation from the First Regular Session of the 129th Legislature. LD 719 makes several changes to the Marijuana Legalization Act including an amendment to the Maine Food Law to no longer consider edibles produced with recreational marijuana as adulterated, allowing the entry of certain vendors into the limited access areas of licensees, and authorizing the department to impose an administrative hold on a licensee. With LD 719 becoming law, OMP is poised to complete final adoption of Maine’s adult use rules within the next 60 days.
“The Office of Marijuana Policy has worked diligently since being established in February to complete the work required to establish a regulatory framework for Maine’s adult use marijuana industry,” said OMP Director Erik Gundersen. "While our rulemaking activity has been at the forefront of this effort, we have spent the last several months developing forms and applications; developing an online platform for the application process; preparing to deploy our track and trace system; and engaging with industry stakeholders, other state agencies, and members of the public on our work. We look forward to completing final adoption of our adult use rules and moving that much closer to accepting adult use facility applications."
In other rulemaking-related news, a preliminary draft rule related to the tracking and tracing of products in the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program is currently available for review on the OMP website: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/medical-use/rules-statutes/rulemaking/draft-rules. Parties interested in providing feedback in response to the preliminary draft rules may do so through the following page: https://www.maine.gov/dafs/omp/medical-use/rules-statutes/rulemaking/feedback.
One aspect of this soon-to-be-proposed rule will be the introduction of “plant-only tracking” for certain registered caregivers who do not operate a caregiver retail store. Plant-only tracking would allow vertically integrated, registered caregivers who directly serve certified patients without transferring marijuana and marijuana products to other caregivers, dispensaries, or marijuana manufacturing facilities to only tag and track the plants they own. Such a proposal would reduce the number of BioTrackTHC security tags—which cost $0.25 each—required to be used by the caregiver.
“A track and trace system helps ensure the health and safety of consumers of medical and adult use marijuana and assists in preventing diversion to an unregulated market,” added Gundersen. “The introduction of plant-only tracking is the recognition that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work with the diverse group of caregivers operating within our medical program. Our goal is to ensure smaller caregivers can focus on what matters most—ensuring patient access to the medicine they need.”
As with other rules proposed by the department, OMP will be scheduling a public hearing and conducting a public comment period. Specific dates will be announced once drafting of the rule is complete and it is formally proposed by the office.
Finally, OMP also plans to propose rules for the licensing of marijuana testing facilities and will be spending time drafting and proposing revisions to the existing Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Program Rule to reflect legislative changes made during both the 128th and 129th Legislatures. Recently completed rulemaking activity includes the emergency adoption and simultaneous proposal of adult use marijuana testing facility certification rules earlier this month.
Confusion reigns as Maine rolls out its marijuana tracking system
BY PENELOPE OVERTON - STAFF WRITER Portland Press Herald
The state's pot policy office initially describes a costly tagging system for tracing products from plant to retail, then offers a more business-friendly explanation hours later.
The state marijuana industry didn’t like what it saw when it got its first look at Maine’s new track-and-trace system Monday: hundreds and hundreds of 25-cent tags required to catalog every plant’s path to pre-rolled joint, vape cartridge or infused candy.
“This will drive prices through the roof,” said medical marijuana caregiver Dawson Julia of Unity. “It’s going to put a lot of people out of business. It will make medicine so expensive that nobody will be able to afford it. It will guarantee the survival of the black market.”
Five hours later, long after most of the 300 shell-shocked growers, manufacturers and retailers had left the track-and-trace kick-off event, the Office of Marijuana Policy issued a clarification. Individual retail products will not require their own track-and-trace tag after all.
The cost of the tag wasn’t the problem. After all, each individual bar-coded label only costs a quarter. It was the sheer number of tags that would have been required to move a plant through its entire life cycle, especially for processed items, like vape cartridges or marijuana-infused baked goods.
Consider that it would have required 1,178 tags, at a total cost of $295, to convert a 10-pound cannabis plant into half-milliliter vape cartridges, based on typical yields. Turning that plant into single-serving 10-milligram chocolate truffles would’ve required 58,900 tags at a cost of $14,725.
“Those are based on averages, of course, but even if the yields vary a little here and there, that’s crazy,” said Darrell Gudroe of Boothbay Harbor, who sits on the board of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine. “The labor costs of putting (on) all those tags alone would kill a business.”
Under the clarified system, however, the producer would only need a single tag for the plant, a second tag that covered the harvest batch (that could cover a whole room full of plants if the grower harvested them all at once), and a third tag attached to the final package sold to the consumer.
Under this system, the financial impact of the tagging system could be limited if a grower can harvest a whole group of plants at once and if the consumer can buy products in bulk, growers and retailers said. But single-serving products, a favorite among new customers, would still be hard hit.
The Office of Marijuana Policy and BioTrackTHC, the Florida software company that landed the 6-year, $275,000 deal to track medical and adult-use cannabis grown, processed and sold in Maine, apologized for the confusion caused by the dissemination of incorrect information.
The session drew a huge crowd and covered topics ranging from creation of transportation manifests to cover when marijuana is moved from one place to another, such as from a grow to a testing lab, to how cannabis producers who already use tracking software can export their private data into the state system.
More training sessions will be held for medical marijuana industry members this month. Training for a grower, manufacturer or retailer who will be seeking a state recreational marijuana license once Maine launches its retail program in March will begin next month.
Medical marijuana growers, manufacturers and retailers can start using the program before the end of the year, and will be required to have all their plants and products entered into the system no later than 120 days after it goes live, said Office of Marijuana Policy Director Erik Gundersen.
Created eight months ago, the Office of Marijuana Policy has moved quickly to implement the adult-use marijuana program that had lingered on the political back burner since voters approved it in 2016. That haste has led to several missteps when trying to hire professional consultants.
In its after-hours news release, the state did not explain how this happened, or whether the clarification of how the tagging system works corrected a verbal slip made at a live event during a spirited question-and-answer session, or represented a full-fledged change in state policy.
But that clarification left Jennifer Bergeron of Waterville, a wholesale medical marijuana grower, upset about a morning off work to drive to Augusta and spend “a good couple hours getting completely wrong information” from a state agency created to oversee marijuana in Maine and its expert consultant.
“People who are supposed to implement the program in two months just spent hours giving completely inaccurate information,” she said. “At this point, I’m not sure what the tagging requirements are, so it’s hard to say what they mean to me. I know less after that meeting than I knew before it started.”
She worries the additional regulation, with its extra costs and labor, will drive smaller caregivers out of business, which will end up hurting patients. Prices are already going up, she said. She believes this will not stop the black market, but actually drive people to it.
But Paul McCarrier, a medical marijuana store owner in Belfast and president of Legalize Maine, believes Monday’s events demonstrate how responsive the new agency is to industry concerns, such as the financial impact of new regulations and programs that are still in their infancy.
“I’m pretty impressed,” said McCarrier, who sat through the kickoff session and a three-hour caregiver training class on Monday afternoon. “We brought up a legit point and they responded quickly … Shows me again they are taking what we say seriously. They want it to work. We want it to work.”
Interesting..... Legislative History Collection in Maine
New Maine Cannabis Laws & Rules
August MMCM Class
DON'T MISS THIS CLASS!
MMCM has put together a Pesticide Class for Members Only. No charge. You must call to register as seating is limited. 207-596-3501
Friday, Aug 30, 2019
for your Pesticide License
Buker Community Center, 22 Armory Street, Augusta, ME
The training will begin at 8am – noon.
The Exam would be at 1pm.
This will be a Full Training with Exam following. You will need to study the core Manual as well as this training.. to be prepared for exam.
Pesticide Class Credits.... for more information about credits call 207-287-7593
As long as the individual earns the three required recertification credits before the expiration date of their license then they never need to take the exam again. The expiration date for all AgBasic and Private licenses is Oct. 31st of their third year. If the individual has earned enough credits they just renew the license for the $15 fee for another three years. Fyi- you do not need to renew before you're license expiration date but you do need to earn 3 credits before the license expiration date.
Here's the link to the credit calendar showing what is currently being offered in the area for recertification credit classes: https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/pesticides/credit_calendar.shtml
Looking for the next Pesticide Class? Or need credits?
Your pesticide license needs to be renewed every three years…in order to renew an individual must have earned three credits over that three year period.
MMCM will be setting up a pesticide class in August some time…if you have an interest please call the office so we may get an idea of how many folks would like to attend. There will be no charge for the training or the exam.
For credits, please see the link below…
Here’s the link to a credit calendar showing what is currently being offered in the area for recertification credit classes:
The Governor signed LD 1738
The Governor signed LD 1738 ..which now allows Wholesale transactions to and from other registered caregivers or dispensaries up to 75% of their harvest...
Click here to read amendments.. http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/bills_129th/billtexts/HP123602.asp
The Department of Administrative and financial Services (DAFS)
AGENCY: 18-691 - Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), Office of Marijuana Policy
CHAPTER NUMBER AND TITLE: Ch. 4, Marijuana Manufacturing Facilities
PROPOSED RULE NUMBER: 2019-P094
BRIEF SUMMARY: This rule is promulgated to establish standards and procedures related to manufacturing marijuana, marijuana concentrate, and marijuana products. This rule implements requirements of 22 MRS ch. 558-C, including a marijuana track and trace system, and establishes minimum standards for manufacturing marijuana and marijuana products for medical use, including requirements for facility registration, requirements for engaging in marijuana extraction using inherently hazardous substances, staff qualifications, and security and testing. This rule protects public health and assures safe practices related to marijuana manufacturing, requiring a level of competency of facility personnel and appropriate equipment to process and extract marijuana.
PUBLIC HEARING: Monday, July 8, 2019 - 8:00 a.m., Deering Building, 90 Blossom Lane, Room 101, Augusta, ME 04330
COMMENT DEADLINE: Thursday, July 18, 2019
FINANCIAL IMPACT ON MUNICIPALITIES OR COUNTIES (if any):
STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THIS RULE: Title 22 ch. 558-C
SUBSTANTIVE STATE OR FEDERAL LAW BEING IMPLEMENTED (if different):
DAFS WEBSITE: www.maine.gov/dafs/
Adult and Recreational Rules
Due to VLA Committee recommending statutory changes, the LD1837 which has been replaced with LD719 is in the revisors office, and today is the last day of session. Nothing to do but just wait and see.
Provisionally Adopted Rules/ Department of Administrative and Financial Services
The Office of Marijuana Policy has provisionally adopted rules to establish a regulatory framework governing adult use, also known as recreational, marijuana in Maine.
The Marijuana Legalization Act includes both mandatory and discretionary rulemaking concerning OMP and its umbrella organization, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. Broadly, statute states that DAFS shall “adopt all rules necessary to implement, administer and enforce” the MLA. In addition, the statute specifies rulemaking in areas including, but not limited to, tracking marijuana plants and product, enforcement and compliance, health and safety data, labeling and packaging, and licensing and fees.
Click on the link below to see a copy of these rules…
Department of Administrative Financial Services has released a draft for the adult use rules..........
Please click here to review the Draft Rules....
MMCM would appreciate a response with feed back ...
Federal Cannabis Industry Banking Reform Bill gets a hearing next week
In the first in what are anticipated to be multiple Congressional hearings to address the federal prohibition and criminalization of marijuana, the House Financial Services Committee has scheduled to convene a markup on The Safe Banking Act, HR 1595.
Thousands of state-licensed and regulated businesses lack access to the banking industry and are unable to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes because federal law discourages financial institutions from engaging in such partnerships. This ongoing federal prohibition forces this newly emerging billion-dollar industry operates largely on a cash-only basis — an environment that makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. It also places the safety and welfare of these business’ customers at risk, as they must carry significant amounts of cash on their persons in order to make legal purchases at retail facilities.
NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said:
“This situation is untenable. No industry can operate safely, transparently, or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions. In order to best support the states that have had the good judgment to license and regulate businesses to produce, manufacture, or distribute cannabis, it is critical that Congress address the lack of basic banking services and amend federal law accordingly.
“The banking issue is just one aspect of the failed policy of federal marijuana criminalization. In order to truly bring the marijuana industry out of the shadows, actions need to be taken by Congress to amend this, and many others, outdated and discriminatory practices.
“This will certainly not be the last hearing of this Congress to discuss marijuana prohibition and we expect a full hearing on prohibition to be scheduled in the months to come.”
Congressman Ed Perlmutter said, “For six years, Congress has failed to act on the issue of cannabis banking, putting thousands of employees, businesses and communities at risk. However, the issue is finally receiving the attention it deserves with the first-ever congressional hearing and now a scheduled committee vote. With 97.7% of the U.S. population living in a state where voters have legalized some form of adult recreational, medical or limited-medical use of marijuana, congressional inaction is no longer an option. And with broad, bipartisan support in the House, I look forward to the SAFE Banking Act continuing to move forward in the Financial Services Committee and on the floor of the House.”
According to the most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, police made 659,700 arrests for marijuana-related violations in 2017. That total is more than 21 percent higher than the total number of persons arrests for the commission of violent crimes (518,617) in 2017. Of those arrested for marijuana crimes, just under 91 percent (599,000) were arrested for marijuana possession offenses, a slight increase over last year’s annual totals. Total marijuana arrests in 2017 increased for the second straight year, after having fallen for nearly a decade.
Thirty-three states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation specific to the physician-authorized use of cannabis. Moreover, an estimated 73 million Americans now reside in the ten states where anyone over the age of 21 may possess cannabis legally. An additional fifteen states have passed laws specific to the possession of cannabidiol (CBD) oil for therapeutic purposes.
Sixty-eight percent of registered voters “support the legalization of marijuana,” according to 2018 national polling data compiled by the Center for American Progress. The percentage is the highest level of support for legalization ever reported in a nationwide, scientific poll.
Majorities of Democrats (77 percent), Independents (62 percent), and Republicans (57 percent) back legalization. The results of a 2017 nationwide Gallup poll similarly found majority support among all three groups.
To date, these statewide regulatory programs are operating largely as voters and politicians intended. The enactment of these policies have not negatively impacted workplace safety, crime rates, traffic safety, or youth use patterns. They have stimulated economic development and created hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.
Specifically, a 2019 report estimates that over 211,000 Americans are now working full-time in the cannabis industry. Tax revenues from states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington now exceed initial projections. Further, numerous studies have identified an association between cannabis access and lower rates of opioid use, abuse, hospitalizations, and mortality.
Please Note these Changes…..
For Immediate Release: Friday, March 1, 2019
Contact: David Heidrich, (207) 624-7800
Director of Communications, Department of Administrative and Financial Services
Office of Marijuana Policy Announces New RFP for Seed-to-Sale Provider
State of Maine withdraws contract with Metrc, will conduct a competitive procurement for a unified marijuana tracking solution.
AUGUSTA – The Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP), a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services (DAFS), today announced plans to seek bidders to provide a seed-to-sale tracking system for the adult-use marijuana and the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana programs.
DAFS announced last month that it had entered into a three-year contract with Franwell, Inc. for marijuana track and trace services utilizing Metrc. The tracking solution would have been deployed in Maine’s medical program, with plans for amending that agreement at a later date to expand Metrc to adult-use recreational marijuana.
Maine’s adult-use marijuana industry is anticipated to be much larger than the current medical marijuana program, which consists of eight dispensaries and approximately 2,500 caregivers. As a result, counsel in the Office of the Attorney General encouraged OMP to conduct a request for proposals (RFP) for adult-use tracking services rather than risk time-consuming and costly litigation by amending the Department’s existing agreement to include Maine’s developing adult-use program.
NOTICE…by Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry
Misbranded/Adulterated Pesticide Product
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has ordered the stoppage of sale and distribution of a pesticide product manufactured by Southern Agriculture Insecticides Inc., after finding the presence of three pesticide active ingredients not listed on the product label.Triple Action Neem Oil Broad Spectrum Fungicide, Insecticide, Miticide is labeled for use on house plants, trees and shrubs, fruits and vegetables, and lawns, and for use in and around homes and home gardens.
The label lists the only active ingredient as "Neem Oil," and may be identified by the EPA Reg. No. 70051-2-829. This product is listed for Organic use by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI). Actions came following an investigation of the product and laboratory analysis that found the presence of the active ingredients malathion, chlorpyrifos, and permethrin, which are not listed on the label.
This product is currently registered in Maine. It is prohibited from use for commercial marijuana production. All other growers who may have purchased the product are being asked to refrain from using it.
Read the entire memo.
For more information about the Board of Pesticides Control visit:
State of Maine Inks Agreement with Marijuana Track and Trace Provider
State, industry stakeholders will utilize Metrc, Franwell Inc.’s turnkey solution for end-to-end tracking and tracing of marijuana products
Please see press release about Maine’s entry into contract with Metrc for a Seed-to-Sale track and trace system:
The 4/11 Augusta event referenced in press release will be at the Augusta Civic Center Auditorium from 1:00-4:00.
We are also planning events in other regions, tentatively for the week of 4/22.
A registration process will be set up within the next couple of weeks. We’ll inform you when ready.
RE: CBD/Hemp FDA Memo & Maine's Response
MMCM Trade Association
RE: CBD/Hemp FDA Memo & Maine's Response
The State of Maine has mistakenly made a stance against the use of CBD as an ingredient in consumable items, except as a medical cannabis patient/caregiver/dispensary.
Notices are being distributed stating no sales of consumable cbd products are allowed due the memo from the FDA stating it is not an approved food ingredient.
Hemp has been legalized nationally through the farm bill. None of the compounds found in hemp were excluded in that legalization. Hemp oil including all of its cannabinoids have been safely used orally forever. Not only has it been used safely it has been found to help many medical ailments. CBD itself is non-psycho active and does not cause a "high". Maine has a legal hemp program, a legal medical cannabis program and a legal adult use program. None of those laws prohibit any component of the cannabis/hemp plant. Maine is developing a vibrant and robust economy around these three programs. Jobs have been created, farms are being revitalized and the industry is thriving. Patients using CBD only for wellness have been able to safely source locally the products they consume without the additional cost of a medical certification until now. The State of Maine is benefiting through fees and taxes, the Maine people are benefiting with employment, business opportunities and improved wellness.
If the Dept of Agriculture, CDC and D.A.s Office continue down this path, they will lose yet another industry that the Maine people need. There are many companies that have invested in Maine by the millions that are now looking to relocate to Massachusetts and other states that are open to their businesses.
While the Trade Association has supported the certification process in the Maine Medical Cannabis Program, hemp is nationally legal and all natural derivatives from the hemp should be available to all citizens.
Please let your State Reps know how devastating this stance is and ask that the Governors' office put a hold on this action.
MMCM Trade Association
We need to reach out to our representatives ...find your representative here...
AND, we should all reach out to the Governor's Office, asking to put a HOLD on this action!
Come Rally with us!
Tuesday, February 5th
Rally For CBD and Hemp Farmer Rights
Tomorrow 9 AM • Maine State House • Augusta, Maine
Recently the Maine CDC and Department of Agriculture have issued new policies which make hemp CBD food products illegal to sell unless you are a caregiver or dispensary selling to a certified patient. About 90+% of all hemp grown in Maine will be added to food products of some sort. Many CBD retail stores are now in unforeseen distress. Millions of dollars of upscale high tech laboratories have been built in Maine specifically to extract food grade products from hemp. Hundreds of taxpaying employees have been hired. Citizens are experiencing unexpected benefits from CBD products throughout our state. In short most in the industry have their livelihoods on the line. We have invested everything and this is how we make our living. Please come to Augusta to help explain to our elected officials why we need emergency action to fix this as soon as possible. STARTING 9AM ENDING WHEN WE GET A ANSWER OF HOW AND WHEN WE GET OUR RESTORED FREEDOM AND LIVELIHOOD. MEET UNDER THE DOME 3RD FLOOR. If you can not make it please make sure to call and voice your concerns: House 207-287-1400 Senate 207-287-1540 LEAVE CBD ALONE AND PLEASE FOCUS ON OPIOIDS!!
(NEW VENUE) for MIDCOAST Network meetings…..Come check it out!
February 28th, 2019 6:00- 8:00pm
Off Shore Restaurant 770 Commercial Street, Rockport, ME 44856
*No longer having Boothbay Harbor Network Meetings
Come Join us!
"Access to Monthly Networking Meetings"
MMCM members gain access to member only meetings held throughout the state every month. These interactive meetings begin with a networking session and are followed by a formal presentation, which includes important legislative updates, upcoming community events and guest speakers. These networking meetings are the best way for caregivers and patients to keep abreast of Maine's fast moving medical marijuana program.
Big Shout Out..... to everyone that contributed and donated money , time and effort to make this event a Special Day for our Veterans.
Canna Care Docs served over a 95 Veterans with a certification. Homegrown Healthcare of Maine and MMCM fed Veterans and families, and gave out over 100 free goodie bags.
The Canna Connection Radio Show
Sponsored by MMCM
broadcastedby The Mix Maine Media 107.9
Advertise your Business on Monday nights 6:00pm- 7:00pm
420 Sponsorship- A monthly Investment of $420.00 includes:
- 3 live sponsor mentions
- 2 30second commercial in show
- 40 30second monthly show promos
- Daily DJ mentions
- Inclusion on the show page at mixmaine.com
Work Place Safety Training
MMCM offered a Work Place Safety Training on Sept 10th, with Linda Doran, Maine Labor Group....which is an OSHA requirement for employers with 5 or more employees.
Mainers Urged to Sign Up for Free Disposal of Unusable Pesticides
September 12, 2018
Maine DEP and Board of Pesticides Control promote responsible disposal
AUGUSTA—Unusable pesticides, such as weed killers (herbicides) and bug killers (insecticides), can be dangerous to humans, pets, and the environment. Pesticides can become unusable due to age, freezing or evaporation, or because their legal registration changes. Improper disposal of these products can contaminate land and water resources, including drinking water.
Participants must pre-register by October 5, 2018. Drop-ins are not permitted.
Collections will occur at four sites: Presque Isle, Bangor, Augusta, and Portland.
Homeowners, family-owned farms, and greenhouses can dispose of unusable pesticides through the free Obsolete Pesticide Collection sponsored by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s (DACF) Board of Pesticides Control (BPC) and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The program is funded through product registration fees; since 1982 it has kept more than 103 tons of pesticides out of the waste stream.
“Providing Maine residents with a free and easy solution to properly dispose of pesticides gives everyone an opportunity to make a positive impact on our environment and public health,” said Paul Mercer, DEP Commissioner.
DACF Commissioner Walt Whitcomb is encouraging Mainers to seize this free opportunity. “It is not uncommon for people to find themselves with obsolete pesticides and not know how to dispose of them. It’s important for the protection of the public, wildlife, and environmental health that they are dealt with properly and not thrown in the trash or down the drain.”
To register and learn important information about the temporary storage and transportation of obsolete pesticides, go to the BPC Web site at thinkfirstspraylast.org , or call 207-287-2731.
• For more information on the Maine Board of Pesticides Control, go to: thinkfirstspraylast.org.
• For more information on the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, go to: maine.gov/dep
Important Note to the Media: Since pre-registration is required, please post any information from this release as soon as possible. This will allow adequate time for participants and the Board of Pesticides Control to process applications. Thank you for your help in getting the word out!
MMCM Office will be closed
MMCM Office will be closed on Thursday & Friday, Sept 20th & 21st for Vacation
MMCM is also looking to recruit new Legislative Committee Members...
if you feel you would like to volunteer as a committee member and you are
able to help track legislation, Lobby for legislation that supports MMCM policy, discuss efforts in upcoming and outcomes of completed legislation sessions...please come to either of our Member Network meetings listed above in Bangor on Thursday, August 2nd, 6-8pm or in Winthrop, on Tuesday, August 14th and introduce yourself. Get to meet our Board members and staff! We need reliable, responsible interested parties.
We, (MMCM) are looking for Volunteers to join up with our Fundraiser Committee.
The committee will be responsible for holding fundraisers to benefit the Trade Association’s core mission to educate, advocate and Legislate for the medical marijuana program. We are looking for dedicated skilled and enthusiastic volunteers to bring fresh, new fundraising ideas to our program. Volunteers should be skilled in hosting events, networking and event planning. Call the office to speak to Cheryl 207-596-3501
if we use your idea.......you could win a Basic membership to MMCM!
UPDATE... LD 1539 & LD 238 Passed!
Monday was an amazing day. We watched as the two bills that we all created were passed into law. I was so excited and kind of scared at the same time. So many changes, so many new opportunities for people in the community. There were a lot of compromises made, some not as good as others, but as a whole it great for the medical cannabis program in Maine. Thank you to all who helped in one way or another. LD 238 is in effect now for processors and manufactures. You musty notify the dept with you're intention to get a license and that you are acting in good faith. LD 1539 will go into effect 90 days from adjournment of the session, so please be patient. Also please be patient with the girls in the department, they are understaffed for the new administrative burdens placed on them. It will take a few weeks to get it figured out and to be able to answer your questions. Thank you again for all of the support and help in protecting the medical cannabis program.
Staff & Board Members
Links to Finalized Bills... LD1539 ( 90 days, we anticipate the beginning of Nov ) & LD238 (effective immediately)
2018 HomeGrown Maine Medical Marijuana Trade Show
By Andrew S. - https://highgroundcannabisjournal.com
For the last 7 years the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine have been hosting an annual trade show. Folks came from all over New England and gathered at the Augusta Civic Center, Jun 2nd and 3rd for a fun packed weekend of cannabis. Vendors from every corner of the cannabis industry were on hand displaying the newest and most efficient equipment in the field. Although the real hot-topic this year was definitely the closure of the Vape Tent.
The CDC has officially posted on the mmmp website notification that the new rules that were originally going to take effect on February 1st, then May 1st have officially gone into effect on May 10, 2018. The following is a bullet point list of the changes and how they affect our program. Please review and understand that following these rules is required to maintain compliance.
MMMP RULE Changes Overview
The Department may/must-
* Take action necessary to ensure compliance.
* Request specific documents as proof of authorized conduct
o Patients must have photo ID and written cert
o Registered caregiver must have photo ID, registry ID card and designation card and designation form- up to maximum 5 cards and active patients; and trip tickets if transporting
o A primary caregiver employee or principal officer, board member or employee of a registered dispensary must have registry ID card
o Non-registered caregiver must have designation card and designation form- up to maximum 5
* Initiate an onsite assessment, which may include an interview, a paper review, and an inspection of premises hosting authorized conduct, to ensure compliance of an individual who engages in authorized conduct authorized prior to issuing a registry identification card, as a routine review, in response to an allegation of non-compliance or as part of a plan of correction.
* Conduct an inspection where the focus can be on
o Verifying information submitted in an application;
o Reviewing records for all required documents, including, but not limited to designation forms, registration, and licenses, labeling and employee records, as applicable;
o Conducting interviews; inspecting areas used for authorized conduct to ensure any marijuana, including plants, usable marijuana and incidental marijuana cultivated for medical use, is within the specified limit and is identifiable and maintained as required;
o Taking samples of marijuana cultivated for medical use and products containing marijuana for medical use; and
o Assessing conduct for compliance with the rule and statute.
* Take remedial action for non-compliance which may include directed corrective action; suspension, revocation and denial of a registry identification card or registration certificate, as specified; civil penalties; and referral the conduct is outside the scope of MMMP, is not appropriate for agency directed corrective action, or has not been rectified through correction action.
* Request entry to inspect a dispensary or registered caregiver without notification.
o Upon refusal, may refer to law enforcement when compliance cannot be determined
o If denied entry by a cardholder, take action to revoke the registry identification card or dispensary registration certificate.
* Consider failing to comply with assessment process/inspection a violation of the rule
* Refer to other if the conduct is outside the scope of MMMP, is not appropriate for agency directed corrective action, or has not been rectified through correction action.
* Suspend a dispensary certificate on an emergency basis
* Report medical provider to licensing boards, regarding the inappropriate evaluation or treatment of a patient's medical condition or a reported alleged violation of the applicable standard of care, or when determined non-compliant
* Take samples, photographs or electronic copies may be taken during an on-site assessment to determine compliance.
* Provide technical assistance during an inspection or move to a progressive enforcement action (fines or penalties, required plan of correction, registration denial or revocation, and referral to law enforcement) if compliance cannot be determined when conducting an on-site assessment, or when a finding of non-compliance is not resolved through technical assistance provided on-site or through other remedial action.
* Request a plan of correction which must include action steps to correct any finding, violation or deficiency noted by the Department in the notice of non-compliance; specific deadlines for each corrective action step; and steps to reduce potential future violation.
* Issue a directed plan of correction
* Determine a registry identification card applicant ineligible if the applicant has failed to demonstrate compliance with this rule and the statute; and the applicant is/will be using a location for authorized conduct where such conduct is prohibited by the host municipality's local codes and ordinances.
The Department may/must-
* Take action necessary to ensure compliance.
* Document reports of non-compliance that result in an on-site assessment
* Provide at least 24 hours as notification if entering to inspect areas within the residence of a person not required to register.
* Show proof of identity when requesting entry and prior to inspecting, provide the written reason for the on-site assessment and take measures to reduce potential disruption and contamination to area during and inspection
* Maintain chain-of-custody and provide receipt for samples collected
* Issue notice of non-compliance that is to include appeal rights
* Issue written notice of denial or revocation of card which must include reason for action and section of rule or statute, date action takes effect and the right to appeal.
* Person received notice when the person signs for receipt or 3 days after Dept mailed 1st class to last known address
* Seek a district court order terminating a dispensary registration certificate or seek emergency suspension.
* Enforce date of revocation as being 3 days after written notice is mailed first class
* Provide the subject of an on-site assessment report within 30 days and indicate whether any violation was identified and, if corrective action was taken, and the action and its outcome. (No action required; finding of non-compliance; immediate action against dispensary certificate)
MMJ Cardholders/Participants may/must-
* Possess amounts of marijuana up to the limits specified in the statue (as a patient and on behalf of a patient possess up to 2 ½ ounces of prepared marijuana, 6 mature plants, 12 non-flowering, unlimited seedlings and 8 lbs of unprocessed/incidental)
* As a patient, designate one source to cultivate on their behalf, and also cultivate within limit
* Share a cultivation location if the caregivers are family or household members and there is only two caregivers (22 MRS §2423-A (1)(B) and (3)(D).)
* Share a cultivation location if the patients are family or household members, and patient can share with more than two other patients
* Assist any patient who designates them- up to 5 current/valid designations for caregivers, and discontinue a designation by signing and dating designation form and returning designation card.
* Re-apply for a registry identification card after 30 days of revocation or denial if they can demonstrate compliance
* Prepare goods containing marijuana for a patient who is a member of the primary caregiver's family or household and furnish that product to only that patient, without a food establishment license
* As a caregiver, rent separate, self-contained, locked and secured locations within a building and store cultivation-related materials in common area if they, as a caregiver, are not assisting another caregiver and marijuana is locked and secure.
* As a dispensary, report failed drug tests and may have a policy to specify that the reporting of the presence of marijuana for an employee who possesses a valid written certification is not required and the employee's status as a qualifying patient is confidential.
* As a registered caregiver, employ one person to assist in caregiver-assigned duties, if personnel files is maintained and provide limited marijuana to dispensary approved for such transfer
* As a incapacitated adult or minor patient or patient who resides in nursing/hospice facility, designate a second primary caregiver
* As a dispensary, cultivate up to 30 plants outdoors
* Report total amount of marijuana on packaged goods
* Be inspected if they are a registry identification card applicant
MMJ Cardholders/Participants may/must
* Comply, to receive protection as an authorized person and to avoid progressive enforcement action.
* Forfeit excess to law enforcement
* Identify each plant and patient file with patient's written certification number
* Report, at least annually, the total number of patients, with designation dates and patient's certification unique identifier
* As a caregiver, report if a designation is not re-filled within 10 days unless the caregiver has 5 cards; and, as a dispensary, report patient count monthly.
* As a dispensary, request approval to acquire prepared marijuana from a registered caregiver
* Maintain records for tax purposes (sales records) and personnel files
* Report cultivation location
* Obtain food establishment license if preparing and furnishing goods containing marijuana to patient who are not family or household members.
* Pay specified testing fees for required testing of samples collected by the Departmen
Patriots Day Smoke-In at the Somerset County Courthouse in Skowhegan
A cold damp day greeted 31 Maine cannabis advocates at the annual Patriots Day Smoke-In at the Somerset County Courthouse in Skowhegan on April 16, 2018 at High Noon. Maine Vocals founder Don Christen has spoken out for 26 consecutive years to end prohibition and liberate cannabis and hemp from government and corporate control. Noting that the Governor and the State Legislature have interpreted the 2016 referendum approval as a carte blanche to regulate and tax so that corporations can gain control of production, squeezing out the citizen farmer, Christen urged followers to educate a new generation to carry on the fight. Channel 5 WBAI, Waterville Morning Sentinel, Norridgewock based videographer Pete Sirois and other podcast news services covered the event. THC lollipops and joints were shared and a good time was had by all.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MAINE EARTH WALK PROCLAIMS APRIL 22 AS EARTH DAY AND DECLARES "EARTH DAY IS EVERY DAY!" WE ARE HOSTING A WALK AND TEACH-IN DISCUSSION ON ENDING PLASTIC POLLUTION IN AUGUSTA, MAINE.
In partnership with Earth Day Network's Global Day of Conversation
Earth Day Proclamation
We, the People, of the Planet Earth
Determined to live a sustainable 'Way of Life',
Do hereby Declare, "Earth Day , Every Day !"
We are concerned about our Future !
We are concerned about our Human Life !
The time has come to commit to the Protection and Preservation
of our Mother Earth, our Natural Resources and All Living Beings !
We must address the Problems we face !
We must All work together for Solutions !
-Maine Earth Walkers
It's been a very busy week at the legislature. LD 1719 passed both the house and the Senate with very strong support virtually a veto-proof margin so to speak. This is very concerning as the medical program was included in this bill for the oversight to be moved to DAFTS among a few other reasons MMCM was unable to support this version of Legalization. LD 1539 and LD 238 are scheduled to be heard today Friday April 13th, in both the House and the Senate. If passed by both they should land on the governor's desk no later than Tuesday.
Please reach out to your representatives and ask for yes votes on both LD 1539 and LD 238.
Catherine Lewis, MMCM President
NOTIFY YOUR REP/SENATOR NOW AND SPEAK YOUR CONCERNS. HERE IS THE LINK TO FIND YOUR REP/SENATOR:
Maine just became the first state to protect cannabis use outside work
By Steve Elliott / herb.co
Employers in Maine can no longer discriminate against employees based on marijuana use during off-time. Workers are now protected from getting fired or disciplined based solely on their use of cannabis in their off-time, attorneys at Littler Mendelson report.
In a refreshing display of “if it’s legal, it’s legal,” the Maine Department of Labor has removed cannabis from the list of substances for which employers may test.
While other states have legalized recreational cannabis use, until now, none of them prevented employers from enacting anti-marijuana policies or refusing to hire candidates who test positive for weed. HR managers at affected employers in Maine are updating their handbooks and drug policies to reflect the changes.
The provisions prohibit employers from refusing to employ or otherwise penalizing anyone 21 or older based on that person’s “consuming marijuana outside the … employer’s … property.” Regardless of where cannabis is consumed, however, the Act allows employers to ban use and possession of cannabis and cannabis products “in the workplace.” It also allows them to “discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace.”
Fortunately, a positive drug test alone won’t be enough to prove a worker was “under the influence” of marijuana. Those tests often show “positive” for days or weeks; cannabis metabolites are stored in fatty tissue.
The law doesn’t affect compliance requirements with federally mandated testing for cannabis. This includes testing under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations of some commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Actual retail cannabis sales have been delayed in Maine, largely because of the obstructionism of anti-cannabisGov. Paul LePage. But the rest of Maine’s Question 1, the 2016 ballot measure legalizing marijuana, is moving forward.
It remains to be seen if Maine’s non-discrimination provisions contained in the law will hold up in court. This is especially true given the conflict between federal and state laws.
2018 Home Grown Maine Show... 7th Annual
REMINDER to contact your Representatives ...to let them know you are not in support of these ammendments... for LD 1719
Marijuana Legalization Implementation Committee
LD 1719 – work session
Accepted in Ought to Pass as Amended Vote on February 23, 2018
*Indicates changes made to proposal when vote was taken
- Proposal to prohibit entry of persons under 21 from all areas within a marijuana establishment;
*Add clarification that qualifying patient aged 18, 19 or 20 may enter a common area within a shared facility to access where medical marijuana is sold.
- Proposal to clarify municipal “opt-in” language to provide that municipal action may include passage of a new ordinance, amendment of existing ordinance or approval of a warrant article that generally regulates operation of marijuana establishments within municipality;
*Existing ordinances are valid and decisions such as land-use ordinances applicable to adult-use marijuana endorsed by legislative body qualify as an “opt-in.”
- Proposal to include language similar to 28-B MRSA §606 (LD 1719, p. 49) regarding coordination of medical and adult use rules on packaging and labeling;
- Proposal to provide exemptions from application of certain Criminal Code (Title 17-A) provisions for activities authorized under MLA (consistent with existing exemptions for activities authorized under medical law).
- Proposal to include unallocated language directing Marijuana Advisory Commission to include in its first report recommendations regarding standardization, coordination or integration of medical and adult use programs, including testing, labeling and packaging standards and rules.
*Change to make this an ongoing duty of the Commission rather than one-time report.
- Proposal to apply certain packaging and labeling standards relating to appeal to children (shapes, depictions, etc.) to advertising standards. See pink sheet of language, page 3, amending 28-B, section 702, sub-§1, ¶B.
- Change definition of “plant canopy” to include only those areas in which mature marijuana plants are cultivated. (See gold sheet language dated Jan. 30)
- Revise license tier sizes to: Tier 1, up to 30 plants or up to 500 sq ft; Tier 2, up to 2000 sq ft; Tier 3, up to 7000 sq ft; and Tier 4, up to 20,000 sq ft, with increases available upon renewal of 7000 sq ft no more than once per 2 years. No change in application fee or license fee.
- Health and safety warning labels on packaging of retail marijuana and marijuana products. Mandate health and safety warnings labels on retail marijuana and marijuana products as required by major substantive rule adopted by DAFS in consultation with DHHS Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Sec. 701(1), pg 50.
- Remove section 202(3), pg 15, on durational residency requirement. Add a definition of resident to sec. 102: person domiciled in the state; with permanent place of abode in state; spends more than 183 days of taxable year in state; and has filed resident tax return in each of the 3 years prior to the year in which the applicant applies for licensure. Repeal on June 1, 2012 the tax return filing portion of the definition.
- Sampling of marijuana. Sec. 502(5), p 35. Sampling on premises by employees of products manufacturing facility allowed for quality purposes and research and development only, may be done on premises, but may not involve smoking. Smoking defined as in 22 MRSA 1541(6).
- Retain current bill provisions on co-location of adult use cultivation and products manufacturing facilities and medical marijuana cultivation and processing space (pgs. 32-33, 35). Require complete separation of marijuana stores and storefronts for medical marijuana caregivers and dispensaries (separate facilities; separate buildings).
- Proposal relating to local control/approval within unorganized territory – see proposal distributed 2/16.
- Proposal relating to employment practices (§112 of bill, pgs. 12-13) – see language from 2/16.
- Proposal relating to organic labeling – see language distributed 2/16.
- Reduce number of marijuana plants authorized for personal possession and home cultivation to 3 mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings.
* Provide for 6 month delayed effect of reduction from 6 to 3 mature plants.
- All provisions regarding personal possession and home cultivation will still only apply to adult use marijuana (i.e., not applicable to medical marijuana).
- Person may cultivate 3 mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings:
- On land on which the person is domiciled;
- On other land the person owns; or
- On other land owned by another person with a written agreement regarding the cultivation/care of the plants.
- Municipality may adopt an ordinance or other regulation that sets limits on home cultivation of marijuana on a parcel/tract of land as long as that limit allows for the cultivation of 3 mature plants, 12 immature plants and unlimited seedlings for each person 21 years or older who is domiciled on the parcel/tract of land.
- Provisions regarding home cultivation requirements (§1502(3) on pgs. 61-62) still apply as written.
- All licensing, administration, enforcement and other oversight under MLA under DAFS.
- All rulemaking authority under MLA under DAFS, but DAFS required to consult with DACF in adopting rules under the MLA relating to cultivation, processing, testing, etc. (in same manner as the required consultation with DOL and DPS on pg. 10 of bill).
- Amend Marijuana Advisory Commission membership to following 15 members:
- Representatives from DAFS, DHHS, DPS, DOL and *DACF;
- *A representative of a statewide prosecutors association;
- A public health expert;
- Representatives from medical marijuana and adult use marijuana industries;
- Two members of the general public; and
- Two members of the Senate and two members of the House.
- Shift oversight of medical law and administration of medical marijuana program from DHHS to DAFS.
- Medical law will remain in Title 22 and will not change other than references to DHHS; medical program rules and active registrations will remain in effect and valid.
- Will include provisions aimed at ensuring HHS Committee retains jurisdiction over medical marijuana issues.
- Will include provisions to ensure that administration and oversight of medical program within DAFS does not involve administration and oversight by BABLO.
- Will include provisions to ensure that rulemaking under medical law by DAFS requires consultation with DHHS.
- Remove all municipal revenue sharing provisions from bill.
- Do not include new language on municipal impact fees.
- On revenue sharing, delete section 1002, subsection 2 and amend subsection 1; delete section 1003 subsection 2 and amend subsection 1.
- Retain specific tax revenue dedications to Adult Use Marijuana Public Health and Safety Fund in bill (p. 58-59). All other tax revenue goes directly to General Fund.
- Include provisions to allow for limited plant sales between dispensaries/registered caregivers and adult use cultivators who are also dispensaries or registered caregivers.
- Sale of plants and seeds only (no harvested/processed marijuana, marijuana concentrate or marijuana products).
- Sale is a taxable event on which applicable excise tax under MLA must be collected.
- For a two year period starting on the date that DAFS issues the first “active” cultivation facility license (DAFS to post notice of this start date), the initial active license provided to an adult use cultivator that is also a dispensary or registered caregiver must provide authorization for the cultivator to purchase plants and seeds from a dispensary or registered caregiver in a single sales transaction only.
- The authorization is limited to the term of the initial active license (one year) and the adult use cultivator is limited to a one-time purchase of plants and seeds from a dispensary or registered caregiver (i.e., cannot purchase from multiple dispensaries or caregivers and cannot purchase in multiple transactions from a single dispensary or caregiver).
- A dispensary or registered caregiver may only sell plants and seeds to one adult use cultivator in a single transaction (i.e., cannot sell to multiple cultivators or in multiple transactions to a single cultivator).
- DAFS to adopt rules governing this limited sales period.
- Remove all reference to social club operation, licensing and related provisions from bill.
- Strike second paragraph from 110 (pg. 12, lines 20-22).
- Strike second and third sentences from §104(3) (pg. 9, lines 19-26).
- Strike §402(6) in its entirety (pg. 30, lines 19-34).
- Add to the duties of the Marijuana Advisory Commission in §903 (pg. 56-57) language requiring the annual solicitation of public comment regarding police contacts with citizens involving the personal use of marijuana and marijuana products and home cultivation of marijuana and to include any resulting findings and recommendations in its annual report.
27. Tax structure and rates (sales tax and excise tax) Sec. 1001, pg. 57 and Part D, pg. 66.
- Accepted proposal from DAFS/MRS to achieve 20% effective total tax rate that includes a 10% sales tax at the point of sale to a consumer and an excise tax imposed on wholesale sales by a licensed cultivator to another adult use marijuana licensee.
|Taxable Item||LD 1650/1719||DAFS/MRS Proposal|
|Marijuana flower and mature plants||$130/pound||$335/pound|
|Immature plant or seedling||$1.50/plant or seedling||$1.50/plant or seedling|
The outcome is essentially a 21.5 percent excise tax at wholesale on marijuana products. When combined with the 10 percent sales tax, this proposal is revenue neutral to the 20 percent sales tax previously proposed. Preliminary revenue estimates are as follows:
|Tax Type||Fiscal Year 2020||Fiscal Year 2021|
|Sales (retail)||$1.4 million||$8.5 million|
|Excise (wholesale)||$1.3 million||$7.8 million|
|Total||$2.7 million||$16.3 million|
28. Delete sections A-8 and A-9 that would have imposed a deadline of December 1, 2018 on provisional adoption of major substantive rules.
Withdrawn or voted “out”
- Reexamine testing provisions to improve efficiency of testing process. Withdrawn by Rep. Ackley.
- State tax deductions for marijuana businesses. Withdrawn by Sen. Dion.
- Employment of persons age 18, 19 or 20 at an adult use marijuana facility/establishment. Withdrawn by Rep. Hickman.
- Proposal to limit possession of marijuana cultivated for personal use under MLA to 8 pounds (mirror medical marijuana law limitation). Withdrawn by Rep. Hickman.
- Environmental issues, particularly waste and burden or impacts on natural resources. Withdrawn by Rep. Hickman.
- Proposal to expand requirements on labeling, packaging and signs, advertising and marketing. Withdrawn by Rep Hanley.
MMCM is proud to announce Maine's 1st cannabis radio show.
MMCM is sponsoring the show and we are working with 107.9 Mix Maine. The show will last 1 hour from 6PM to 7PM weekly on Mondays. The show will be hosted by station DJ Chris Rush and MMCM board member, Dawson Julia. Weekly guests will include: Senators and Representatives, activists, attorneys, doctors......etc. The show will be dedicated to informing, educating and activating Maine citizens who wish to help us fight the war of stigma and fear. Listeners can call in to ask questions or voice opinions.
We also plan to play lots of cannabis friendly music in between the conversations. Our 1st show is scheduled to start Feb 19th at 6PM so please be sure to tune in and tell your friends.
If you wish to help MMCM and our fight please consider becoming a member, making a donation or becoming active together with us in Augusta. There is currently a standby list for businesses that wish to advertise on the radio show so please let us know if you would like to be added to the list. Contact Cheryl at the office 207-596-3501 for more information.
Let’s Welcome ... Mitchell Tardy Jackson & Alysia Melnick, Bernstein Shur Law Firm
|Jim Mitchell||Josh Tardy||Chris Jackson||Jake Mitchell||Alysia Melnick|
Mitchell Tardy Jackson
To protect and promote your organization's interest in Augusta, you want experienced professionals with extensive networks of relationships among policymakers, their staff and their political confidantes. You demand not simply the names of key people, but knowledge of the nuances and historical connections that can significantly influence political decision-making. Furthermore, your public affairs efforts require a clear understanding of the legislative process and how to use its protections and devices appropriately and effectively.
Alysia Melnick, Bernstein Shur Law Firm
We welcome back Alysia, She helped create and draft LD 1296, which is the current law we are operating under now. When it comes to shaping laws and policies, lobbying, and building strong coalitions, Alysia has the experience, knowledge and passion that have proved successful against incredible odds. Having worked both inside and alongside government, she has the relationships, skills and "never say die" attitude that makes the difference in a tough fight.
Medical marijuana sales, caregivers and patient numbers decline
Caregivers and dispensary owners blame the 'gray market' caused by Maine's emerging adult-use market for the first decline in the state's medical marijuana industry since it began nearly 7 years ago
Read the Full Article here: https://www.pressherald.com/2018/02/02/medical-marijuana-sales-caregivers-and-patient-numbers-decline/
Representative Sanderson, has received an answer to her inquiry asking the governor if he would be agreeable to delaying the implementation of the Medical Cannabis rules while the HHS committee works on significant policy proposals to the program
The Governor has graciously agreed to Rep. Sanderson's request and has issued a letter to the DHHS delaying the rule implementation until May 1, 2018. This delay will allow the HHS committee to finish it's work.