Georgia governor signs expansion of who can legally possess CBD oil

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal approved an expansion of the state’s medical marijuana program on Tuesday, allowing people being treated for six additional medical conditions to possess cannabis oil. The new qualifying conditions include autism, AIDS, Tourette’s syndrome, and Alzheimer’s disease. Patients must register with the state to be eligible and have a doctor’s permission. Many of the additions restrict use to patients who are in severe or end-stage condition. The new law also allows people in a hospice program, regardless of diagnosis, to legally possess the oil that’s low in THC, the chemical responsible for the marijuana high. Read more: Georgia governor signs expansion of who can legally possess CBD...

Epileptic Georgia high school student can’t take his legal CBD medicine on campus

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — Each day about lunchtime at Warner Robins High School, 17-year-old CJ Harris must leave campus to take his medicine. His dad, Curtis Harris, drives to school, gets CJ out of class, and the two ride around the block or sometimes head home. CJ draws some cannabis oil in a syringe, squirts it under his tongue and waits for it to dissolve. He’s been taking the medicine every six hours for the past four months for epilepsy. “I haven’t had a seizure since,” the high school football player said. The oil, derived from the cannabis plant, wasn’t a problem for administrators at First Presbyterian Day School, a private school in Macon. But the rules are different at public schools, the Harrises learned during a recent transfer process to Houston County. “I told them about it, you know, ‘He takes (the) oil for his seizures … , and that’s when they went into a panic, like, ‘We don’t know what to do about this,’” Curtis Harris said of Houston County school officials. “They called the head state nurse, and the head state nurse told him that he can’t even have it on campus.” CJ is the first medical marijuana patient at a Houston County school since state Rep. Allen Peake of Macon introduced a law in 2015 that established a state medical marijuana registry that is limited to people with specific diseases. Read more: Epileptic Georgia high school student can’t take his legal CBD medicine on...

Here’s what just changed in Washington state marijuana laws

A week ago, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed an omnibus marijuana bill, containing many changes to the regulations put in place in 2013, after Washington voters legalized recreational marijuana sales in 2012. Senate Bill 5131 passed the Senate on April 20 with a vote of 44-5, and the House that same day, 63-33. What developments does this marijuana mega-bill contain? Here’s our wrap-up of the major changes that could affect how Washingtonians and visitors experience legal weed in The Evergreen State. (All of these regulations go into effect July 23, 2017) Read more: Here’s what just changed in Washington state marijuana...

Vermont governor to announce decision on marijuana legalization Wednesday

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Vermont Gov. Phil Scott says he still hasn’t decided whether he will allow the state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, but he won’t allow the bill to become law without his signature. UPDATE: Why Vermont gov vetoed legalization bill Scott’s office said Tuesday that the Republican governor will agree to sign the bill into law or veto it. Scott, a Republican, plans to announce Wednesday his decision on the marijuana legalization bill that was passed by the Legislature earlier this money. Read more: Vermont governor to announce decision on marijuana legalization...

Rhode Island judge rules in favor of medical marijuana patient in discrimination case

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A judge has ruled against a Rhode Island textile company accused of discriminating against a woman when she was denied an internship because she uses medical marijuana to treat migraine headaches. The Superior Court judge’s decision released Tuesday found that the Westerly-based Darlington Fabrics Corp. had violated the state’s Hawkins-Slater Medical Marijuana Act, which prevents discrimination against card-carrying medical marijuana users. The complaint said Christine Callaghan, who was a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island, negotiated a paid internship with Darlington Fabrics in 2014 but lost it after disclosing she held a medical marijuana card. Read more: Rhode Island judge rules in favor of medical marijuana patient in discrimination...

Report: Medical marijuana could poach more than $4B from pharma sales annually

If the United States legalized medical marijuana for conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety and seizures, cannabis could siphon more than $4 billion annually from the nation’s pharmaceutical industry, a new study hypothesizes. The report expected to be released Wednesday by New Frontier Data, a provider of data and analytics to cannabis businesses, is intended to show how cannabis could disrupt pharmaceutical sales in nine key treatment areas. “Any opportunity for alternatives that could result in reduced pharmaceutical drug use might present a compelling point of discussion from a public policy standpoint,” said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for the Washington, D.C.-based New Frontier. With the backdrop of opioid use concerns and the simmering debates on health care reform and marijuana legalization, Kagia and fellow analysts sought to explore the idea of pharmaceutical substitution — people eschewing prescription drugs and using medical marijuana to treat certain ailments. Read more: Report: Medical marijuana could poach more than $4B from pharma sales...

Quality Controls and Medical Cannabis: What We Can Learn from Pharma

When we discuss growing and producing medical cannabis, we must think of it as a medicine. By definition, it is a substance intended to assist you with a medical condition, to help you feel better and not harm you. Drugs produced in the pharmaceutical industry go through extensive quality controls to ensure a level of safety for the consumer or patient. Yet when we talk process and quality controls in medical cannabis production, there is still a lot to learn. Are we waiting for the wake-up call? Well, ring! Recently Health Canada, the regulatory body overseeing Canada’s medical cannabis market, decided that “It will begin random testing of medical marijuana products to check for the presence of banned pesticides after product recalls affecting nearly 25,000 customers led to reports of illnesses and the possibility of a class action lawsuit.” Proper quality controls help protect businesses from unforeseen issues like those massive recalls in Canada. These can assure that the product is safe (won’t harm you), has integrity (free of contamination), and that the product is what it says it is (identity). To achieve this important goal, we must have robust systems that will guarantee product quality. Why is this important? Quality controls can ensure a safer and more consistent product, helping build patient and consumer trust and brand loyalty, preventing a public relations nightmare like a recall due to pesticide contamination. Read more: Quality Controls and Medical Cannabis: What We Can Learn from...

Budtenders: Providing Education and Customer Service

Budtenders represent the front line of any cannabis dispensary, and as such they are responsible for fostering a valuable customer service experience that will have clients returning in the future. However, the role of budtender goes much deeper than simply providing customer service. If you want to develop a profitable business with deeply embedded customer loyalty, you can do no better than to hire an exceptional team of budtenders to provide your patrons with useful information and a memorable customer service experience that will keep them coming back for repeat sales. Offering Education for All Customers Perhaps the most important role the budtender plays in any dispensary is providing the customer with useful knowledge that will help them make an informed purchase. For many people, legal cannabis is still a very new concept, and there are a good deal of customers who have never tried cannabis products during prohibition. For these customers, it will be essential that an experienced budtender walk them through everything they need to know and help them choose a strain that will be best suited to their needs. In addition to dosing and strain advice, budtenders can help explain how various paraphernalia works, as pipes and bongs will likely be foreign to them. For less seasoned smokers, information on dosing can be the difference between a positive and negative experience. This is primarily a concern with edibles due to the long lasting nature of their effects, but can benefit other methods of delivery as well. The effects and potency of different strains can vary widely, so it can be difficult to judge how much to...

California Releases Draft Lab Testing Regulations

Last Friday, the Bureau of Marijuana Control, the regulatory body overseeing California’s cannabis industry, released a set of proposed regulations for the lab testing market. The regulations are somewhat comprehensive, covering sampling, licensing, pesticide testing, microbiological contaminants, residual solvents, water activity and much more. Formerly named the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation under the state’s Department of Consumer Affairs, the Bureau of Marijuana Control is tasked with overseeing the development, implementation and enforcement of the regulations for the state’s cannabis industry. In their statement of reasons for the lab testing regulations, the bureau says they are designed with public health and safety at top of mind. At first glance, much of these laboratory rules seem loosely modeled off of Colorado and Oregon’s already implemented testing regulations. The regulations lay out requirements for testing cannabis products prior to bringing them to market. That includes testing for residual solvents and processing chemicals, microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, foreign materials, heavy metals, pesticides, homogeneity as well as potency in quantifying cannabinoids. Read more: California Releases Draft Lab Testing...

Regulatory Overreach: Are California’s Lab Rules Too Strict?

With California moving into a more regulated market, some are concerned the state may be overregulating the market with strict, unnecessary rules. The Bureau of Marijuana Control, California’s agency in charge of regulatory oversight for the cannabis industry, released a set of proposed draft regulations for lab testing recently. Those rules cover everything from sampling standard operating procedures to detection limits for pesticide analytes, which some say are absurdly strict as is. According to Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D, chief executive officer of The Werc Shop, a cannabis consulting firm located in Monrovia, CA, these rules will immediately raise prices. “The regulations are quite extensive and will undoubtedly drive the costs of patient medicine upward,” says Raber. “Regulations are not intended to be so detailed in these fashions, but are supposed to provide the floor and specific framework upon which operators can build best practices and differentiate themselves from others in a competitive market that drives prices downward.”   Read more: Regulatory Overreach: Are California’s Lab Rules Too...