North Dakota Cannabis News

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Mark Minton

Legislative efforts seeking to allow legal distribution or cultivation of the cannabis plant for medicinal or industrial purposes face an increasingly uphill battle in the Kansas Legislature, even as some states around the country have legalized some from of medicinal cannabis or put the issue to ballot.

The effort wasn’t helped by a recent missive issued by Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt in late January articulating his legal opinion that cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is technically classified in all instances as marijuana on the state and federal levels. Marijuana is considered a Schedule I drug by definitions of both the federal Controlled Substances Act and the Kansas Uniform Controlled Substances Act, creating, or at least spotlighting, more problems for advocates of industrial hemp and medicinal marijuana in any form.

Though the missive isn’t legally binding, it does provide guidance to state prosecutors. And while the 2014 national farm bill ostensibly legalizes industrial hemp that contains 0.3 percent THC or less, federal drug laws still technically classify fundamental components of the crop as marijuana.

Last year, the Kansas Legislature enacted a narrow provision classifying cannabidiol that contains no THC as a Schedule IV controlled substance, bumping it down from Schedule I. However, the provision also requires that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approve the sole active ingredient of any such substance.

“As of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration has not approved such a drug product,” Schmidt wrote in January. “Therefore, at this time, any substance containing cannabidiol is not excluded from the definition of marijuana…”

Last in line

From CBD to THC, Kansas has been steadfast in its commitment not to budge when it comes to the legalization of cannabis or its associated compounds. Meanwhile, 29 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories Guam

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles City Council committee approved a resolution Friday in support of state bill that would create a public bank that could take deposits from legal marijuana businesses.

Banks currently refuse to administer funds from cannabis businesses, as marijuana is still considered illegal under federal law.

California Senate Bill 930, introduced by Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys, “would establish a state-chartered bank that would allow a person licensed to engage in commercial cannabis activity,” according to the bill’s language.

The resolution to support SB 930 was proposed by Council President Herb Wesson and approved by the council’s Rules, Elections and Intergovernmental Relations Committee.

Wesson proposed creating such an institution for the City of Los Angeles in 2017. Voters passed Prop 64 in 2016, legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana for adults.

The L.A. City Attorney’s Office discouraged the idea of a public bank that could be used by marijuana-related businesses. They said that because marijuana is still federally considered a Schedule I drug along with heroin and LSD, such an entity would violate the Bank Secrecy Act and put funds and employees of the bank at risk, City News Service reported.

Wesson has called on the city to follow the example of the 99-year-old Bank of North Dakota, the only public bank in the nation.

Back in January, Wesson fired back at U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said he would be rescinding an Obama-era practice of not prosecuting some marijuana-related crimes.

“We will not be bullied by an out-of-town and out-of-touch politician,” Wesson said in a statement, referring to Sessions. “The voters of California and Los Angeles have spoken and we will continue doing our job of reasonably regulating the cannabis industry in spite of Washington running amok.”

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Grants Pass, OR: The team at Mycorrhizal Applications (MA) has recently grown with the addition of Amy Schroeder and Morgan Reed. MA is the world’s leading supplier of mycorrhizal inoculants, and with the growing interest and demand for these sustainable soil solutions, Amy and Morgan will each be serving MA in newly formed roles in order to support the continued growth and development of this Southern Oregon based manufacturing company. These additional roles will help support growers coast-to-coast in the United States and Canada, and also provide additional support to the increasing number of horticulture distributors who are selling the MycoApply® mycorrhizal products that MA produces, as well as the additional biological solutions that MA distributes, such as Actinovate® Biofungicides, MGK® Botanical Insecticides, and Valent BioSciences’ Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs).

Amy Schroeder is Mycorrhizal Applications’ newest Sales Account Manager, and she is based in the Ohio Valley, which will give MA a presence in the Midwest and East Coast regions of the US. Amy’s top priority is to support growers and distributors in Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, and her territory will expand to include Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Amy received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Shawnee State University and her Master of Science in Soil and Water Science from the University of Florida.  For the past 5 years of her professional career, Amy has worked with growers in the turf and agriculture industries to maximize fertilizer efficiency. With her rich scientific background, Amy is able to provide in-depth technical assistance with mycorrhizal applications in a variety of types of horticulture production and professional mycorrhizal uses.

Morgan Reed has also taken on a newly developed position at MA, in the role of Sales & Marketing Support Specialist. Morgan’s main responsibilities revolve around customer

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Lenexa resident Christine Gordon can’t stop her daughter’s seizures with any legal product. She’s tried.

Gordon’s daughter, Autumn, is 6 now, but is developmentally like a 2-year-old because of the seizures that started shortly after she was born. Autumn has a type of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome that so far has resisted all conventional medical treatments.

Gordon wants Autumn to be able to try an oil derived from cannabis that, in states where it’s legal, has helped some kids have fewer seizures. Kansas law doesn’t allow the use of marijuana in any form for any reason. But there are some people who can get the oil in Missouri, and by the end of the year it could be available to a lot more people there.

Gordon said she doesn’t want to move. But she might have to.

“Our family has discussed it,” Gordon said. “If we do not pass this legislation very soon we’re going to have to look at other options, because she has nothing left in Kansas except removing part of her brain.”

There’s been no movement on medical marijuana in Kansas for years, even as dozens of other states have legalized it, and there’s no indication lawmakers are close to passing it this year.

But in Missouri, a signature drive to put the issue directly to voters is gaining momentum.

Jack Cardetti, the leader of New Approach Missouri, said his group has gotten about 200,000 of the 170,000 signatures it needs to get medical marijuana on the ballot in November and it’s still collecting them.

Last year the group narrowly missed the threshold because thousands of its signatures were declared invalid. This year, Cardetti expects to have plenty of cushion.

If medical marijuana gets on the ballot, there may be no stopping it. Voters in Arkansas approved

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North Dakota’s Health Department has selected a Florida-based company to implement a system to monitor the state’s developing medical marijuana program.

BioTrackTHC has similar contracts in six other states including Delaware, which has a medical marijuana program similar to what North Dakota plans. The Fort Lauderdale company was chosen from among six proposals.

“Certainly the experience and qualifications of the firm were taken into consideration,” North Dakota Medical Marijuana Division Director Jason Wahl said Thursday.

The management system will track the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana, as well as help register dispensaries and patient card holders.

“The data included in the tracking system will provide a digital record of the state’s entire marijuana inventory,” Wahl said.

BioTrackTHC submitted a five-year, $600,000 proposal, though the contract’s final financial terms will be decided through negotiations that could wrap up by the end of the month, according to Wahl.

“We will be attempting to negotiate a contract to get the dollar amount to a range that will be able to fit within our budget,” he said.

The medical marijuana program is funded by taxes and program fees and has a $1.6 million budget for the state’s current two-year budget period.

State voters approved medical marijuana in November 2016. The Health Department has been working to create the program since Gov. Doug Burgum in April 2017 approved regulations crafted by lawmakers. State law allows medical marijuana for 17 medical conditions and terminal illnesses. The drug is expected to be available to patients late this year.

The Health Department expects to begin accepting applications from manufacturing facilities in late spring or early summer, before moving on to application periods for dispensaries, patients and caregivers.

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“The Division of Medical Marijuana is committed to implementing a well regulated program,” said Jason Wahl, director of the Medical Marijuana Division. “Implementation of the information management system will assist in ensuring state laws are followed and allow the division to effectively monitor the operations of manufacturing facilities and dispensaries.”

The system will track the production, transportation and sale of usable marijuana under the program and will allow the division to track every marijuana plant and every gram of marijuana throughout the production life cycle.

“The data included in the tracking system will provide a digital record of the state’s entire marijuana inventory,” Wahl said. “The system provides for transparency and accountability and keeps safety a top priority.”

The registration system will be used to process applications from qualifying patients, designated caregivers, manufacturing facility agents, dispensary agents and laboratory agents. The system will provide information regarding the status of registry identification cards, which will be accessible to law enforcement personnel, health care providers and pharmacists.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the North Dakota Department of Health and look forward to playing a key role in bringing safe access to usable marijuana for North Dakotans through a proven and secure track-and-trace system,” said Patrick Vo, president and CEO of BioTrackTHC.

For more information or to subscribe to updates, visit the division’s website at www.ndhealth.gov/mm.

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On Feb. 15, lawyers presented oral arguments in the case, Hemp Industries Association v. DEA, which could have national repercussions regarding the legality of hemp-derived extracts. The nation’s leading hemp industry nonprofit went to court with the Drug Enforcement Administration today, challenging a December 2016 move by the federal government that essentially served to put industrial hemp extracts under the same scrutiny as marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.

“This is a most significant day for the industrial hemp industry,” Robert Hoban, one of the attorneys representing the Hemp Industries Association, told Cannabis Now. While the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not issue a ruling today, they did hear the oral arguments presented by the Hemp Industries Association — and Hoban said he was hopeful that the court heard their appeal.

The Hemp Industries Assocation’s fight against the DEA started back in 2016, when the DEA created a new drug code number — which is what the DEA uses to track everything covered by The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 — for “marihuana extract.” According to the DEA, a marihuana extract now meant “extract containing one or more cannabinoids that has been derived from any plant of the genus Cannabis,” including hemp-derived CBD oil.

The folks over at the Hemp Industries Association went to court not long after the DEA released what it calls “the final rule” on cannabis extracts. The HIA argued that the final rule is essentially a scheduling action for substances such as industrial hemp, “and that the final rule contradicts specific Congressional legislation which exempts or legalizes certain parts and varieties of the cannabis plant, such as “industrial hemp.”

The HIA is referring to the Farm Act of 2014, which made it federally legal for states to set up pilot hemp programs.

The hemp

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The North Dakota Department of Health, the government agency responsible for implementing the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana program, has awarded the contract to BioTrackTHC to develop and implement the state’s medical marijuana seed-to-sale traceability system. The system will allow designated regulatory officials to enforce compliance across the state’s marijuana seed-to-sale supply chain, providing transparency and accountability over the licensed medical marijuana compassion centers, according to a press release.

“As we begin implementing North Dakota’s medical marijuana program, the state needed a medical marijuana tracking system to assist in implementing a well-regulated program,” said Jason Wahl, director of the Division of Medical Marijuana within the North Dakota Department of Health. “We are excited to begin working with BioTrackTHC who has a successful record in implementing traceability systems in other states.”

Usable marijuana will be available to qualifying patients who have a debilitating medical condition as defined by state law and are registered through the Division of Medical Marijuana.  State law allows for the registration of up to 10 compassion centers: two grower/manufacturing facilities and eight dispensaries in the state.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with the Department of Health and are excited to collaborate with them to ensure the program gets off the ground transparently, with sound design, and on time,” said Patrick Vo, president and CEO of BioTrackTHC. “We look forward to playing a key role in bringing safe access to medical marijuana for all North Dakotans through a proven and secure track and trace system.”

BioTrackTHC now holds eight state-level government tracking contracts as well as one with the city of Arcata, Calif., making them a leading provider of government traceability systems in marijuana. Having never missed a government traceability system deployment deadline and having demonstrated experience

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