Medical vs. Adult use Cannabis Products

This is for the benefit of those attempting to understand (including myself) the differences of cannabis deemed for medicinal use as opposed to adult use aka recreational use of cannabis and how best to make it available to consumers.

  • What's the difference between medicinal and adult use cannabis?
  • How will it be licensed for retail?
  • How will it be tax exempt for State ID issued card carriers?

In essence, there is physiologically no difference between a Type M-licensed medicinal cannabis plant and a type A-licensed cannabis plant destined for adult use. In addition, the standards of quality will be the same for both license types as per California Dept of Public Health. The only difference between an “A-license” and an “M-license” is how the consumer could be exempt from paying sales tax if used as a prescribed medicine for treatment of a specific ailment and holds a State issued ID card.

Definitions:
“A-license” means a state license issued under this division for cannabis or cannabis products that are intended for adults who are 21 years of age and older and who do not possess a physician’s recommendation.

“M-license” means a state license issued under this division for commercial cannabis activity involving medicinal cannabis.

“Retailer,” for the retail sale and delivery of cannabis or cannabis products to customers. A retailer shall have a licensed premises which is a physical location from which commercial cannabis activities are conducted. A retailer’s premises may be closed to the public. A retailer may conduct sales exclusively by delivery.

“Microbusiness,” for the cultivation of cannabis on an area less than 10,000 square feet and to act as a licensed distributor, Level 1 manufacturer, and retailer under this division, provided such licensee can demonstrate compliance with all requirements imposed by this division on licensed cultivators, distributors, Level 1 manufacturers, and retailers to the extent the licensee engages in such activities. Microbusiness licenses that authorize cultivation of cannabis shall include the license conditions described in subdivision (b) of Section 26060.1.

Tax exemptions:
“The sales and use taxes imposed by Part 1 (commencing with Section 6001) shall not apply to retail sales of medicinal cannabis, medicinal cannabis concentrate, edible medicinal cannabis products, or topical cannabis as those terms are defined in Division 10 (commencing with Section 26000) of the Business and Professions Code when a qualified patient or primary caregiver for a qualified patient provides his or her card issued under Section 11362.71 of the Health and Safety Code and a valid government-issued identification card.”

  • Is it feasible for a dispensary to operate as medicinal only and not offer adult use licensed products?

The short answer is no.

Tax exempt people. Let’s consider a few more complicated issues concerning “M Licensed” cannabis. The consumer is only exempt from paying taxes if they are a STATE card issued patient. This is very different from a physician's recommendation that is widely used to gain membership in today’s collective. Please see HEALTH AND SAFETY CODE - HSC for the requirements for patient & caregiver tax exempt status.

So in comparison to what collectives accept now as a “medical recommendation”, this state issued identification card isn’t something I see a majority of dispensary visiting consumers applying for, in my opinion. The question I’d ask now is, of those that have a current “medical recommendation”, how many will actually go to the state and apply for the tax exemption status vs. how many will just opt to pay taxes for either type A or M licensed products? From what I can understand a consumer can purchase both A or M licensed products. Only the State ID card carriers would be exempt from paying tax on M licensed products only. So it’s not a matter of the Medicinal or Adult Use of the products, it’s just whether or not sales tax is collected.

I would estimate that a larger percentage of those who currently have current “medical recommendations” to gain access to a collective currently would opt to not renew those recommendations and purchase type A or M licensed product and happily pay the taxes, (motivation to keep them low). Because they are essentially the same products.

Considering that From 2004 through January of this year, 85,370 medical marijuana identification cards have been issued by California counties, an average of 7,100 cards per year, wouldn’t that would severely limit the opportunity for profitable business if a dispensary were limited to selling only type “M-Licensed” products to only State ID holders? And would it cause consumers to unnecessarily obtain a medical ID card to be able to purchase a product such as a pain relieving topical.

I often hear elected officials contemplate medicinal only dispensaries because “we’re just not comfortable with adult use yet”. I ask you to consider this truth; A large part of the SLO County population is comfortable with it. They are experienced, educated, ready and eager to purchase the products they voted for access to. Aside from prohibition of adult use complicating product sales for such things as topicals it would seem that by allowing for a combined A & M licensed dispensary or retail store-front would result in:

Providing the consumers what they asked for.
Lessen the propensity for black market sales.
Keep revenue in your locality instead of giving it all to Grover Beach or outside delivery services.
Save time in the future from having to go back and change ordinances.
Greater chance of profitability for the dispensary by being able to offer a wider range of products for consumers.

These matters are extremely complicated especially if one is unfamiliar with the how’s, who’s and why’s of cannabis activities. So without seeming to minimize the complexity and implications of cannabis business in our communities, I’d argue that by allowing a dispensary that sells both type A & M licensed products the process would be less complicated in the long run, better suited for local consumers and profitable for the store owner.

San Luis Obispo County Cannabis Business Association is a local non-profit agency offering assistance in understanding state law and how it applies to SLO County and it’s residents. We strive to bridge the gaps of understanding by working with stakeholders and community leaders to compile timely and accurate information needed to implement conscientious regulations that will serve our communities without compromising their integrity.

Please feel free to use us as a resource by reaching out to any of our SLOCCBA Board Members, or myself.

Kindly,
Marie Roth
SLOCCBA President
(805) 712-5963

P.S.

AB133 is now positioned to replace SB94. Other notable language in the trailer bill AB133:

By using the “Ctrl F” key please search “requirements” to learn more about licensing requirements.

MAUCRSA requires that a licensed medicinal cannabis manufacturer only manufacture cannabis products for sale by a medicinal cannabis retailer. AB133 would repeal those provisions making it possible for one manufacturer to produce for both medicinal as well as adult use products. These products can also be sold in the same store right next to each other on the same shelf.

“The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities.”

Making an impact using the public comment process.

Making an impact using the public comment process

                   

Why make a public comment?

Public comment is an essential component of a healthy community, county and state.  It’s the only way the leaders, policy makers and legislators can really discern what the people want.  Voting is important, but it doesn’t stop there.  

Your City, County, State and Federal governments all make possible the opportunity for your voice to be heard on all issues. Let’s use those opportunities to be involved in the development of our own communities!  

Public comment requires thought and preparation as well as some guts. Making your opinion heard on any subject in front of the public can be very intimidating.  One of our desires at SLOCCBA is that every citizen learn how to make a clear, concise and impactful public comment on any issue they wish to respond to.  The better prepared you are with your message the less horrifying it can be to make your public comment to a governing body staring back at you intently.

When do I make a public comment?

Public comment opportunities happen various times during the meeting including a general public comment regarding items not listed on the agenda.  This can be for things not being addressed by the board that perhaps a citizen thinks ought to be.  For public announcements, events, problems or acknowledgements. Kudos or criticism to the county for something they did or didn't’ do; things of this nature.

Commenting on agenda items:

These are specific items that are up for presentation, discussion or vote to the board or council.  An agenda is posted online or mailed out to view before hand. Online will usually offer links to documents associated with that agenda item.  Go online to www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos/BOSagenda .

The board will usually receive a presentation or report of some kind before they open to public input so that everyone know’s what’s being discussed as well as what direction the staff is needing from the board.

Pay attention to the recommendations put forth by staff for the board to act on.

When making your public comment be sure to conclude with your thoughts of the proposed recommendations and always feel free to offer up your own if you feel they missed the mark!   Remember, staff and supervisors are people too!  They don’t always get it right the first time.  Part of the process is to work until all parties are satisfied they’ve been heard and understood and best policy is put forth for the people to abide by.

How do I make a public comment?

A citizen can make their comment heard in a few ways and will need to be done in advance of any vote or decision.  Don’t be late and make your comment after the board has taken action!  By then it may be too late!

Representatives can be contacted directly on the phone, by email, letter or one can go to a supervisor meeting to use 2 to 3 minute “public comment period”.  A meeting agenda is posted online about a week prior to the meeting listing the items that will be discussed in order of appearance. County Board of Supervisor meetings are every Tuesday for the most part at 1055 Monterey St in San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

What ever way you wish to deliver your comment keep these few things in mind:

 

  • Whether you read it out loud or send it in a letter or email, keep it under three minutes reading time.  

 

  1. Keep to the facts and get to the point. Nothing will make eyes glaze over faster than a rambling monologue about how “you feel”.  They need facts, statistics, ideas and solutions.

 

San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors:

Non-incorporated towns and areas that are not cities in San Luis Obispo fall under the immediate jurisdiction of the County Board of Supervisors.  

The County is divided into 5 districts, each with a representative that make up the County Board of Supervisors.

Mailing address: 1055 Monterey St.,  San Luis Obispo, CA 93401

District 1 - John Peschong, Chair

jpeschong@co.slo.ca.us

Assistant - Vicki Janssen

vjanssen@co.slo.ca.us

805-781-4491


District 2 - Bruce Gibson

bgibson@co.slo.ca.us

Assistant - Cherie McKee

cmckee@co.slo.ca.us

805-781-4338


District 3 - Adam Hill, Vice Chair

ahill@co.slo.ca.us

Assistant - Hannah Miller

hmiller@co.slo.ca.us

805-781-4336

 

District 4 - Lynn Compton

lcompton@co.slo.ca.us

Assistant - Caleb Mott

district4@co.slo.ca.us

805-781-4337

 

District 5 - Debbie Arnold

darnold@co.slo.ca.us

Assistant - Jen Caffee

jcaffee@co.slo.ca.us

805-781-4339

You can send one email to all at:

boardofsups@co.slo.ca.us

What district are you in?  Map Link: http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos/districtmap.htm

How do unincorporated areas represent themselves?

Area Advisory Groups of SLO’s unincorporated areas based upon public comment & deliberation they receive during their monthly meetings offer Advisory Board direction to the board of supervisors representing their district. These meetings are open to the public and also will offer opportunities for public comment. See an online listing and contact information to SLO Area Advisory Groups by following this link:  www.slocounty.ca.gov/bos/Area_Advisory_Councils

Avila Valley Advisory Council
Cayucos Citizens' Advisory Council
Creston Advisory Body
Los Osos Community Advisory Council
North Coast Advisory Council
Oceano Advisory Council
San Miguel Advisory Council
Santa Margarita Area Advisory Council (SMAAC)
Shandon Advisory Committee
South County Advisory Council
Templeton Area Advisory Group

 

Can I make a public comment at an Area Advisory Group?

Yes!

 

Public Comment at City Council Meetings.

Incorporated Cities of San Luis Obispo have City Council meetings usually every other week.  The agendas will be posted to their websites about a week before the meeting as well as the pertaining documents.  

Public comment is handled in the same way as a County Board of Supervisors meeting we discussed earlier in this presentation.

Each City has it’s own elected City Council Members that can receive public comment in the same ways we discussed earlier; contact your representative directly on the phone, submit an email, a letter or one can go to a City Council meeting and use the 2 to 3 minute “public comment period”

Can I comment on issues outside my city? Or if I live in the county can I comment to a city council?

Yes! Anyone can make a public comment in any town or city or county they wish.

GENERAL OVERVIEW TO THE PUBLIC COMMENT PROCESS

Basic Steps to preparing for public comment: derived from: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Public-Comment-at-a-City-Council-Meeting

  1. Research your topic of interest. Do local governments have the power to do what you want them to do? Gather any facts you want to present, including citations.
    • Read the local news. Keep current on issues facing your community.
    • Review the minutes from recent meetings to find out what actions have recently been taken relating to your concerns.
  2. Find out when your next city council (or County board of Supervisors depending on if it’s a county or city issue) meeting is. Check at your city's website if they have one, see links provided above.
  3. Read the agenda for the meeting you plan to attend. While there is often a period for public comment on any topic, councils generally cannot act on anything unless it is on the agenda.
    • Understand what is being done. Is your council studying and planning, or is it voting on an issue? What will the vote decide?
    • Read any supporting documents for the agenda item which concerns you. Plans, reports, drafts of ordinances, proposals, and many other documents may be available. Understand what is being proposed and what action may be taken.
  4. Write your comments.
    • Be aware of any time limits on comments (typically 2 or 3 minutes), and practice your comments out loud a few times to make sure you can say what you want in the allotted time.
    • Make notes. You could read from a paper, but be aware that you may sound flat and make little eye contact. You could also make a note card of points and speak from that.
    • Be prepared to be nervous. Even if you plan and practice well, you may still feel pressure when you are at the podium, with the timer running and the council looking at you. Pre-write your notes if you need to.
  5. Go to your city hall and fill out a speaker card, if one is required. If you're not sure what the procedure is, arrive a little early and ask.
    • At some council meetings, you may also speak simply by lining up to do so during the comment period. It is usually best to submit a card if you know in advance you plan to speak.
  6. Attend the meeting, and wait until you are called up.
    • Dress appropriately. You need not dress overly formally, but dress more as you might for an office than for the beach. If you are affiliated with a group, and especially if other group members will be present, consider wearing a uniform, t-shirt, or other insignia.
    • Listen to others' comments on the issue(s) of concern,
    • Listen to anyone giving a presentation on the issue(s) of concern. Sometimes city staff, engineers, architects, or other direct stakeholders make presentations to explain what is being proposed. Listen carefully.
  7. Decide whether you want to adjust your remarks. If you are confident enough to make changes at this point, it can save scarce time to say that you agree or disagree with previous speaker(s), and would like to add something. It can also help your comments to be on point with what is really at issue.
    • The simplest adjustment to make is to strike out and omit any part which is no longer relevant or correct.
  8. Go up to the podium confidently when called. Thank whichever person called you, putting their title (mayor, council member) before their last name.
  9. Introduce yourself, state that you live in the city, and state any relevant affiliations. If you are a member of a group but are speaking for yourself, say so.
  10. State your position clearly. This is the most important part, and the reason you came. Briefly explain your reasoning or describe evidence.
    • It's ok to be nervous, and to refer to your notes. Do your best to speak clearly, to make eye contact, and to sound human.
  11. Thank the city council when done making your comments.
    • Conclude when your time is up, whether you have completed your thoughts or not. It's generally all right to finish your sentence or say thank you after the timer goes off, but don't keep going any longer than that.
  12. Submit any additional communication in writing. If you have additional remarks or supporting materials, or if you can't attend, write it down. Many city councils have an email address, and most should have a city clerk or other staff member present, who can collect printed material for the record. Ask before the meeting if you're not sure what to do with such matter.
    • If you are submitting photos, graphs, or other supporting material along with your comment, mention it during your comment.
    • It's best to submit written materials before a meeting, especially if the council will be making a decision on a matter the same day.

 

A Challenging Task for SLO County Cannabis Planners & Regulators

SLO County Planning Department looks to have swatted the cannabis ordinance birdie back to the BOS for further public comment today.  A #3 Draft Ordinance was due for release by Monday June 5th but instead, today, released this statement:

From: Brandi Cummings <bcummings@co.slo.ca.us>
Date: June 6, 2017 at 12:56:26 PM PDT
To: Brandi Cummings <bcummings@co.slo.ca.us>
Subject: County of San Luis Obispo Cannabis Update This email is an update regarding San Luis Obispo County's cannabis regulations and process.For jurisdictions across California, crafting legislation on a topic as dynamic as cannabis is a significant challenge. This is no different for the County of San Luis Obispo. We want to ensure that the Planning Commission receives a draft that is clearly in line with the Board’s broader direction. For this reason, the ordinance’s next draft will be brought to the Board of Supervisors on June 20th, as opposed to issuing another public input draft on June 5th.We will post details and a link to the agenda item about the June 20th meeting on our website as soon as the agenda is published online. The public is encourage to participate and comment at the meeting on June 20th.For more information, please visit our website at http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/planning/Cannabis-Cultivation.htmBest, Brandi CummingsPlanner II(p) 805-781-1006

bcummings@co.slo.ca.us

 

Yes, your vote to legalize it matters, however in this particular instance as it sometimes happens, you’ll need to continue to articulate what your expectations of legalization are to your elected officials and policy makers. Even though Prop 64 passed in SLO County at about 60%, there’s a good chunk of the population who oppose the legal use of cannabis and they aren’t taking it lightly.  See the latest questionable DOJ behavior reported just today. 
In SLO County we still have much to focus on,  Cultivation sites, brick and mortar dispensaries, testing and manufacturing but what about the collectives currently operating delivery services?  Consumers now have to deal with another barrier to access by cities and counties banning the non-storefront delivery system currently known as "The Collective Model"

Where will you get your cannabis?

Imagine having to drive to the industrial part of Grover Beach (serving all of the 805 area code, including Santa Maria) to wait in long lines at one of the two dispensaries operating on the ENTIRE central coast, (as currently there are no plans anywhere that I know that will be in operation before GB's cannabis park) If you place your order for their mobile delivery how long will it take to get your delivery?.....1, 2 or 3 days to make it up to you in the North County?  Will they be as compassionate as your current provider?  Because remember, those two dispensaries legally are the only way delivery of cannabis is allowed to happen as it currently stands in SLO County.  See Draft #2 page 24.  Your local friendly collective that's taken care of your needs in the past will be targeted for operating without a license and who knows what else by what I can only assume will be some kind of sting operation.  We need to protect all segments of the cannabis market, especially those who are currently serving consumers with success.

What do we do?

We're still needing to show some viable solutions to regulations that could cripple clustered cultivation sites (aka cannabis campus or co-ops') as well as future dispensary sites on actual farms located throughout the county.  In addition, those of you making your own topicals, salves, lotions? Any products you create using cannabis will need to be produced by a legitimate licensed business in order to make it into the legal market, Will you be able to continue to produce those products in your home?  Will your current production facility pass the State requirements, let alone your city or county?  Sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Prepare public input. Thankfully it looks like SLO County is thirsting for more public input.  Come on out of the closet!  Prepare your public comment for June 20th at the County Board of Supervisors meeting. MARK YOUR CALENDARS NOW TO BE AT THE MEETING!  You don't have to speak, just be there.

Share your business plan: Consider participating in the writing of regulation for your particular business idea?  Want to be a cottage producer?  Show regulators your business plan, expected income, potential (or existing) market.  We've got them curious, now's the time to share your dreams.

Delivery businesses currently operating.  1. Let your customers know they need to reach their county or city representatives.  2. Let your county and city representatives know how many customers you are currently serving.  Offer up your business and security plan. Policy makers need to understand your unique business, only you can teach them.

Consumers: Cannabis use has come with a long history of stigma.  I've lived it for the past 25 years.  Wishing I could share my creative secrets but fear of judgement kept me silent until 1 year ago.  It was scary at first, wondering what my professional peers would think of me.  Turns out that for me, it was a motivator.  This whole experience has motivated me to work harder than ever before. It's expanded my horizons in ways I never thought could be possible and helped me to understand compassion and tolerance on a whole different level. My professional peers see that I am who I am and will always be.   They now get to see and appreciate the real me, the whole me, and they still believe in me.

Most Importantly, get plugged in!  Use @SLOCCBA in your url search to find our social media sites or connect, or hit the social media buttons on this website.   Join in the conversation on our SLOCCBA blog page!

Stay tuned! SLOCCBA will be hosting more public comment workshops.  Please contact Marie@sloccba.org ASAP if you'd like to host a workshop next week or have questions.

Until next time!

Marie Roth, SLOCCBA