We’ll tell you who they AREN’T going to help.
Medical marijuana patients.
And this is, among other things, ironic. Because wasn’t the medical marijuana program established to help patients who are struggling with symptoms from various illnesses?
Duh. Yet, these new LARA rules seem far more focused on helping growers and processors.
What the New LARA Rules Propose
Licensed provisioning centers and licensed processors typically source their marijuana product through licensed growers. This is considered best practice.
However, the new rules propose that no disciplinary action be taken against licensees who supplement their supply of medical marijuana products through registered primary caregivers. They are proposing this as a means to assist licensed provisioning centers in meeting the needs of their patients.
Or so they say.
Here’s what it comes down to:
On December 7th, 2018, LARA’s Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) will recommend that the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) pass a resolution acknowledging that the board will not take disciplinary action against a licensee in the following circumstances:
Licensed Provisioning Centers
The board will not take disciplinary action against licensed provisioning centers for purchasing marijuana products from registered primary caregivers as long as the following conditions are met.
From the date of board’s adoption through December 31, 2018, licensees:
- Must obtain signed patient consent prior to selling any marihuana products that have not been fully tested in compliance with the law and administrative rules.
- Must enter all inventory into the statewide monitoring system immediately upon receipt from a registered caregiver.
- Must enter all sales in the statewide monitoring system.
From January 1, 2019 – January 31, 2019, licensees:
- Must obtain marijuana products only from licensed marihuana facilities.
- Must enter all inventory into the statewide monitoring system immediately upon receipt.
- May sell marijuana products received from a registered primary caregiver – and recorded in the licensee’s inventory in the statewide monitoring system prior to January 1, 2019 – as long as the product has been tested in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.
Licensed Growers and Processors
The board will not take disciplinary action against licensed growers and processors for purchasing marijuana products from registered primary caregivers as long as the following conditions are met.
From the date of board’s adoption through February 28, 2019, licensees:
- May obtain marijuana products from caregivers.
- May only transfer marijuana products that have been tested in full compliance with the law and administrative rules.
So What Does This Mean?
Essentially, growers and processors will see financial kickbacks, while patients will see a kick to their wallets.
And it doesn’t make sense. The process of caregivers selling to dispensaries has been in place for over five years and it works. It’s simple, efficient and keeps prices lower for the patient.
With this new proposal, they’ll be adding an unneeded step. Growers will no longer be selling their product directly to provisioning centers, as their license intends. Instead, they will now stand to profit by marking up and reselling caregiver medicine, as they’ll be able to adjust and set prices at inflated amounts, while adding nothing of value.
Plus, it’s also key that licensed processors have access to caregiver product. The caregiver product is processed into medicine, as the processing license intends. So there’s simply no reason a licensed processor should be buying caregiver product, inflating the prices and then reselling it to dispensaries.
Actually, there’s one reason. And that would be money. (Big surprise.)
Growers and Processors Will Rejoice
With these new LARA rules, higher prices are inevitable. Especially since dispensaries won’t be able to eat the extra cost due to an already heavy tax burden. So they’ll have to pass along those extra costs to their patients if they want to stay in business.
Meanwhile patients who are already struggling will get hit with yet another blow. And this from a regulatory system that was set up to advocate for patients. It all feels very backward.
Want to speak your mind? Contact LARA today.