About Mickey

A seasoned business professional with vast experience in bringing new products to market, service development, and community building. A leader in solutions.

An Overview of the City of Oakland’s Medical Cannabis Permit Application Process

Excitement is buzzing for Oakland as applications for Medical Cannabis permits are expected to be released in late August ’16. The city will take applications on a continuous basis, and process them first come first serve. All documents must be completed and turned in before the application can move forward in the licensing application process.

Electronic applications will be available on the Special Activity Permits website, and paper applications will be available in City Administrator’s Special Activity Permits Division Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm, on the 11th floor of City Hall at 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612.

Nonrefundable fees are required for the Initial Application and annually for regulation on gross sales. Application fees are designed to pay for the time and resources invested in processing each applicant’s request. Some applications may take considerably less effort and time to process than others, so the City of Oakland may refigure the fee in the future after data has been collected on the accuracy of labor involved.

All actions that are within Oakland will require individual permits. Aside from the brick and mortar dispensaries that are limited to no more than eight new permits per year, there will be no limit to the number of permits that the City of Oakland will grant for all other Medical Cannabis licenses, making this a non-competitive application process. Applicants are permitted to have multiple licenses with no restriction on the number or categories of licenses they or their business may hold. Multiple licensees may operate on the same property.

The Oakland Municipal Code (OMC) Chapter 5.81 applies to all cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, transporters, and testing laboratories; Chapter 5.80 applies to both dispensary and delivery-only dispensaries. A Distributor license should be obtained for a packaging operation and nurseries for clones must obtain a Cultivation license. Quantity determines if substances such as CO2, Alcohol, and Ethanol are considered volatile solvents; likely only concentrate Manufacturers will need volatile solvent permits, excluding most Manufacturers of edibles, since their operations will likely use solvent quantities far below the level considered volatile. The State will be looking at the local level for examples of what works best within that area, and is expected to support that example, if deemed ideal. The City wants to see that applicants are thinking ahead for future planning; being conscientious of the future and positioning themselves to be in compliance with expected State requirements.

The Application Process is broken down chronologically into five steps. First, each applicant will perform a LiveScan. Second, applicants will complete and submit their application. Third, applicants will receive an Inspection Card to be completed with all applicable departments. Fourth, applicants will submit their Inspection Card. Last, the applicant will be issued or denied a license with conditions specified. The City of Oakland aims to align these cannabis business license requirements to those businesses that hold similar operations. Applications will be evaluated by local department experts as relevant to each section.

The application will require the following information and plans:

  1. Address of Proposed Operation
  2. Right to occupy location: Owner, Tenant, Intend to Lease or Purchase

*with supporting documentation

  1. Applicant Information: Name, Corporate Structure, Doing Business As, Partner/Owner/Manager info
  2. Type of License
  3. Projected Annual Receipts
  4. Security: Floor Plan, Security Plan
  5. Business Plan: Describe products and services, First-year budget, Proof of capitalization
  6. Workforce: Worker Compensation Plan, Personnel Policy, Local Hiring Plan
  7. Odor Mitigation Plan
  8. Equity Information: 2-year resident of Beat 26Y, 30X, 30Y, 31Z, 32Y, or 34X or incarcerated for Oak cannabis offense; and Maintain 50% ownership (*with supporting documentation)
  9. Delivery-Only Dispensaries: Vehicle Info, Insurance Info (*with supporting documentation)

For those of you with an active facility that may have unpermitted building construction, your business will first need to be checked for, or relocated to, a location that is within permitted zoning locations and should be positioned in compliance with the requirements of the law. There have been no amendments yet drafted for amnesty for currently active facilities. There is a 90 day grace period for applicants during the application process, whereby they have this timeframe to position their business into compliance, without risk of being raided.  Existing businesses will not be grandfathered in unless the law is amended to so accommodate.

Applicants must disclose all parties who have involvement in the business as soon as applicable. Applications that are not yet complete will wait in the pending pool until all components of the application are received. Before issuing permits, the City of Oakland will need to see that the proposed plans are in place.

The Equity Permit Program requires that at least half of all permits issued under OMC 5.80 and 5.81 go to applicants that have at least one member who must be an Oakland resident, whom has resided in Oakland for least two years prior in Beats 26Y, 30X, 30Y, 31Z, 32Y and 34X; or to an individual who has been previously incarcerated within the past ten years for marijuana-related offenses as a result of a conviction arising out of Oakland. Residing applicants must maintain no less than 50% ownership in the entity. At least 50% of employees must be Oakland residents, and 25% of employees from low-income areas in Oakland. Only those that have been convicted of violence or fraud will be considered ineligible for licensing; however, drug-related charges will not affect an applicant’s eligibility.

Oakland licensing for Medical Cannabis businesses is nearly here, and the City Administrator is seeking to work with the community to prioritize internal growth while developing regulations that will transition well in compliance with future State regulations. Mickey Martin has both the experience and qualifications needed to best support your business or organization in these ventures. Our services include consulting for Governmental Relations, Regulations and Documentation Compliance, and Crisis Management to name a few. Our reputation for quality and commitment to the Medical Cannabis community can assure you that we will remain at the forefront of the local licensing news, and will keep our clients abreast of all changes as this application process develops.

MMC Presents Social Media Services

Are you tired of doing your own social media? Don’t you wish there was a great service where someone would post on and manage all your accounts for you while you worked on your craft and increasing your bottom line? We can do that! Check out our awesome new social media services packages below. To get signed up you can email us at info@mickeymartinconsultng.com or call us at 888-824-6863 xt2. Thanks for your interest.

Social Media Services

With such a wide variety of formats and audiences to network within, MMC would like to offer our clients an individualized social media package that fits to your business’ needs and clientele. Platforms include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, MassRoots, Weedmaps, Leafly, and Social High.

Social High: Connecting cannabis community This platform allows opportunity to build social circles between users that share a passion for cannabis. Users can review strains, discuss medical breakthroughs, share personal experiences, and discover events in their areas.

MassRoots: Cannabis Social Platform. Clients will benefit from connection to more than 775,000 cannabis consumers. Dispensaries, glass shops and cannabis brands can utilize MassRoots’ Business Portal to advertise their goods and services to this rapidly growing user base. User growth is primarily driven by Instagram {366,000 followers), Facebook (233,000 followers), and Twitter (149,000 followers). Public content is indexed onto Google, which drives significant monthly traffic.

Leafly: Learning about strains. Clients will benefit from advertising on Leafly by being exposed to the roughly 6 million monthly visitors. Leafly is connected to and provides Social Media plugins with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. This platform provides updates to followers about your businesses products and services.

Weedmaps: Finding DispensariesClients will benefit from joining this community where cannabis patients find and connect with dispensaries, retail stores, delivery services, and doctors in their area. Weedmaps is connected to and provides Social Media plugins with Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Pinterest, and Instagram. 

Oakland to Consider Changes to Ordinance this Week

On February 9th, Oakland City Staff presented suggestions for amendments to the City’s Public Safety Committee.  The Public Safety Committee had additional concerns that they wanted addressed by staff in the changes. The City Administrator’s office released an updated staff report last week that addresses the concerns expressed at the February meeting, and the issue is set to go in front of the Public Safety Committee again on April 26th where it will hopefully be approved and sent to Oakland City Council to vote on. Clarification on multiple topics relating to cannabis businesses emerging in the community were addressed.  These topics include local hiring requirements, additional buffer restrictions, security at licensed facilities, onsite consumption, industrial tenant improvement program, administrative discretion, proximity to residential uses, and access to banking.

Local hiring, as well as ownership, is important to the City of Oakland.  They want 50% of cannabis employees to be Oakland residents, with a focus on hiring people from lower income areas.  Opening employment to the previously incarcerated could provide dispensary cannabis business with a tax break or fee reductions.  This gives  opportunity to those who may be struggling to find employment due to formerly being incarcerated. Hiring locally will aim to improve the unemployment rate in Oakland.

Although several amendments have been made for the better, there are still proposed matter, such as adding additional buffers, that could hinder the ability of a business to find a compliant location.  In addition to the buffers around youth centers and consideration of churches, parks, playgrounds and other dispensaries that current dispensaries adhere to, City Council members are suggesting a 1,000-foot buffer between al licensed cannabis facilities. This would severely limit the ability of businesses to find facilities and would be counterproductive to the City’s goals of licensing all cannabis businesses. Data shows that there is no need for these types of distance requirements, as dispensaries have drastically reduced crime in areas where they are located. Additionally, cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution businesses do not serve the public, which City staff likens to putting these buffers around a brewery or bottling facilities for alcohol. For that matter, bars do not have these distance requirements, and alcohol is far more likely to cause an issue in the community. It is important that we come out to the Public Safety meeting on April 26th and encourage the committee to reject unnecessary buffers for cannabis businesses.

Cannabis businesses will be required to have a detailed security system.  This means the installation of cameras in and outside of the buildings, and monitored alarm systems.  The added security standards will allow local law enforcement access to security tapes and information to aid in crime reduction.  This not only helps the business to prevent crime and theft, but protects the community as well. Limiting criminal activity and bad behaviors increases public safety, and limits perceived issues related to cannabis. By limiting crime that happens in the cannabis industry we continue to dispel myths about dangers and increase acceptance.

A new on-site consumption permit is being considered, as well for dispensaries.  This would improve business for dispensaries, allowing them to sample products on site before purchasing, as well as giving a safe space for people to consume and take part in social activities. Proof of operating protocols and safety plans to address parking concerns, ventilation issues, and avoidance of drugged-driving will be needed to obtain this special secondary permit.

The City is concerned about driving out the diverse business community currently located in industrial areas and are considering some possible solutions to avoid a cannabis business land grab situation.  They are working on a program to counteract the negative effects of a “cannabis take-over” in the industrial area. This program will be funded by revenues from licensed medical cannabis facilities, and will promote the diversity of industrial activities as well as expand the City’s overall ability to prosper with changing economic conditions. Making this offsetting investment into improving industrial areas and increasing available space means no more worries about cannabis businesses driving out the “diverse industrial community.”

The City would like to give administrative discretion that would allow the City Administrator to reconsider a particular location requirement if the City Administrator determines that the location will not impact the peace, order and welfare of the public. This is a provision currently allowed for dispensaries that they are hoping will also apply to all types of licensing.  Revised OMC 5.80.020 requires confirmation that a proposed cannabis business will not negatively impact nearby residential and other sensitive uses. Dispensaries have proven to be beneficial to the communities they serve, and actually have reduced crime by all findings.  The report details a local dispensary that reduced the amount of police calls for service in the area by 29 percent in one year to prove their point. They also go into how a historic building was preserved, and a dispensary is not doing well in an area that was not initially approved due to the allowance of administrative discretion in the siting process.  This particular dispensary continues to be referred to favorably by neighboring residents.

The report also goes into concerns about banking. Banking in the cannabis community remains limited due to federal prohibition of cannabis, and banks’ reliance on the Federal Reserve. The City Administrator is trying to find other methods that reduce reliance on cash transactions.  Their idea is that less cash in the register, means less worrying about robberies and theft. They are looking for possible solutions, including detailed cash handling and tracking protocols for cannabis businesses.

There were also some major adjustments in the fee schedule, such as a Dispensary Application reduced from $8,800 to $3,644 and the yearly Dispensary Renewal fee is now based on gross annual sales instead of a flat $60,000 a year. The proposed rates are far more reasonable. The On-Site Consumption application fee is $2,813/$500 per year.

The City Administrator did another good job in their report, and we are hopeful that the Public Safety Committee will accept these changes and put it to the City Council for a vote in May. Oakland has been a leader in licensing medical cannabis businesses since their historic ordinance in 2004-2005. It is exciting to see them moving forward with licensing for the rest of the industry. We are hopeful that cultivators and manufacturing businesses will have a place to call home and realize the same protections afforded to dispensaries through licensing.

But this is far from a done deal. We need YOU to come out on Tuesday, April 26th to the Public Safety meeting and speak in support of the City Administrator’s report. The meeting starts at 6:30 pm at Oakland City Hall. Public comment will be allowed. We hope you will join us, and encourage progress for medical cannabis businesses in Oakland. You can also contact the Council and Committee by email if you cannot make it out. Thanks.

 

Input Regarding Proposed Oakland Cannabis Licensing Program

Attn: Oakland City Council and City Administrators

Re: Input Regarding Proposed Oakland Cannabis Licensing Program

Greetings,

We have developed this report in an effort to provide clarity and insight to some of the concerns raised by members of the City Council and Public Safety Committee regarding the proposed amendments to Oakland’s medical cannabis ordinances detailed in a report presented by the Office of the City Administrators. We are incredibly impressed by the thoughtful and informative report developed by Greg Minor and administrative staff detailing the need to evolve Oakland’s medical cannabis ordinances to align with the new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act passed by the State legislature last year. The new regulatory program set forth by the State is long overdue, and it is encouraging to see Oakland realizing the opportunities the program affords in their effort to bring medical cannabis businesses into compliance. Thank you for the time, energy, and resources dedicated by the City to create a licensing program that encompasses the entire medical cannabis industry from seed to sale. It is certain to be a great economic opportunity for the City and the community at large.

As was stated in the staff report, many medical cannabis businesses currently exist in Oakland and for the most part they are responsible and professional organizations that desire to be compliant and pay their share of taxes. The City is wise to develop plans to allow these businesses to contribute economically and socially to the business landscape of the community through the licensing and regulatory processes. Currently the City and most of the State have only developed methods of regulating the retail dispensing sector of the industry, leaving the cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of cannabis operating in a gray area of the law with little oversight. Cannabis does not magically appear on the shelves of a dispensary. There is a vast network of producers who work hard and employ a great deal of people cultivating and processing cannabis into finished products ready for market. Currently most of these businesses are forced to operate in clandestine fashion to avoid detection because their interests are not clearly protected. After nearly 20 years of medical cannabis being legal in the State, the legislature has finally passed laws that provide a framework for the industry to operate. At the core of the program is the need for local municipalities to develop programs that meet the needs of the community through proper zoning, public safety oversight, and operational review. Oakland has long been a leader in developing sound and effective medical cannabis regulations that have served the City well, and have been a positive model for the State and Nation. By embracing the recommendations of City administrative staff and amending cannabis ordinances to meet the requirements of new State laws, Oakland is sure to realize increased revenues and create thousands of good paying jobs in the community. The City is likely to be on the cutting edge of an amazing economic opportunity reminiscing of Silicon Valley in the 1980’s. What is clear is that the cannabis industry will continue to grow by leaps and bounds in coming years, and Oakland must continue to innovate and lead to ensure their position in this emerging new economy.

The following are informational resources we have put together to address some specific concerns that have been put forth by councilpersons and staff:

Job Creation: The cannabis industry is creating a lot of new job opportunities across the nation. Cannabis cultivation and manufacturing are generally labor intensive processes that require a lot of manpower. The requirements for accurate and detailed tracking of cannabis has also created the need for several additional administrative positions to implement record keeping, inventory control, and quality assurance tasks. A lot of people probably assume that cannabis producers put some plants in dirt and come back three months later to harvest it for money; but cultivating cannabis and processing it into finished product is actually a lot of hard work that requires skilled and competent people to do well. Growing and processing cannabis requires attention to detail by skilled workers capable of maintaining a productive work schedule and following a rigid set of standard operating procedures. Cultivating cannabis has become a highly sought after skillset and those with these skills are being paid well for their knowledge and experience. The entire cannabis continuum, from seed to sale, is an intricate web of unique job roles that make up the cannabis workforce. Oakland is wise to embrace this growth industry, and create thousands of good paying jobs in the City.

After hearing some concerns put forth by Oakland officials questioning if allowing for hundreds of new businesses to be licensed under the new State program might create an opportunity cost in the inability for other manufacturing type businesses to locate here, I decided to do some research. According Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. manufacturing establishments are smaller than most people think, and growing smaller as automation becomes a reality and demand for products made in the U.S. continue to shrink. Over the past years the average manufacturing business has declined in size from 41.2 employees on average in 2001 to just 35.3 employees in 2012. Another reality is that manufacturing makes up a small part of the Oakland economic picture, with only 3.8% of businesses being in the manufacturing sector. No manufacturing company in Oakland is one of the top 20 employers either. So while there will be a heavy demand on industrial properties that fit within the proposed designated zones, it is unlikely that other businesses who employ more people in the manufacturing industrial sector who would use these types of facilities would be displaced. Chances are a lot of these facilities are already being used for cannabis cultivation and manufacturing businesses who now fly under the radar, and do not pay business fees or local taxes. This is why it would be smart business for the City to adopt the administrator’s recommendations and bring these businesses into compliance through proper licensing in line with new State laws. Here are some charts showing these trends:


I also took a look at the average size of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing positions in the industry, and found out that on average cannabis businesses employ more workers than the average manufacturing establishment and also pay them better wages. I contacted three of the largest producers of cannabis and finished products in the State of Colorado. What I found is that on average it takes one employee per 250 sq. ft. of garden canopy. So a licensee with a 10,000 sq. ft. garden canopy would require approximately 40 employees. Looking at the data on 20 different Oakland specific manufacturing businesses, the industries located here currently average about 15.8 jobs per firm, and there are just not a lot of major manufacturing businesses in the City anymore. So it is safe to say that cannabis cultivation and manufacturing businesses would likely employ substantially more people than the current types of manufacturing businesses located in the City. Here is a look at the table of businesses we reviewed:

Name of Business # of Employees per Manta.com Median
ABI Industries 20-49 34
Western Colloid 5-9 7
Artisan Manufacturing 6 6
Protex Wax 1-4 2
Digicom 20-49 34
Pacific Panels, Inc. 10-19 15
Horspool and Romine, Inc 10-19 15
McNeill Manufacturing 5-9 7
An-Fo Manufacturing 20-49 34
AdvancedManufacturing 5-9 7
Forem Metal 5-9 7
Window Hardware 2-4 3
Shape Products 10-19 15
Upholstery WorkRoom, Inc 2-4 3
T&P Machineworks 5-9 7
Rowe Machines 2 2
Diamond Tool & Die 20-49 34
Forecasters Tech 1-4 2
NorCal Metal 50-99 75
BCH Manufacturing 5-9 7
    Average = 15.8 emp/business

 

Cannabis cultivation is often done indoors, as controlled environments create more desirable cannabis for the end user. In our discussion with many retailers of cannabis across the State indoor cannabis makes up approximately 50% of the raw cannabis flowers sold, with greenhouse making up 25% and outdoor making up another 25%. Cannabis produced in industrial grow facilities continue to dominate the market, and as noted previously there are already likely hundreds of these operations located within the City that provide good jobs. In addition to cultivation, processing cannabis from raw material into finished products such as concentrates and edibles is also a growing part of the industry; and these firms also employ more people on average than a non-cannabis business of similar type. As regulation continues to be implemented and the requirement for more intense tracking of plants and materials, as well as expanded record-keeping requirements are implemented, the need for staff will increase in all cannabis businesses creating even more jobs in the industry. Also,  cannabis retailers employ far more people per square foot of store space than an average retailer. The bottom line is that concerns that cannabis-based businesses would push out other businesses that provide more jobs are just unfounded by the reality that we see in other States that have had strictly regulated markets, as well as what we know about the current California landscape. If anything, cannabis businesses will employ several more people than traditional manufacturing businesses that would occupy these facilities, and they would be jobs that paid competitive wages with benefits. The new MMRSA laws also require businesses with more than 25 employees to enter into a labor peace agreement with their staff.

Oakland has a great opportunity to continue to lead and innovate in the area of medical cannabis by adopting the updates to medical cannabis ordinances as put forth by the City Administrator’s Office. The current policy of hiring Oakland residents that dispensaries in the City adhere to has worked relatively well. The only issue we have come to understand is a lack of qualified employees in the City. It may be beneficial to start a cannabis jobs training service in the City that could be funded through fees that are paid by cannabis business license holders to help ensure they have a qualified pool of applicants for these positions to meet the 70% resident hiring threshold.

Oakland Residency Requirements: It is not a sound strategy to make selection, or give advantages to, applicants based on their residency in Oakland. I cannot think of another business model where this is considered, or of relevance, for obtaining a business license or conditional use permit. Even a lot of the Oakland Police Department do not live in Oakland, but because a person operates a medical cannabis business they should? It seems like an odd way to select the best operators for these licenses. Where a person sleeps at night does not necessarily make them a good candidate to operate a medical cannabis dispensary, manufacturing, cultivation, or distribution company. This is a highly specialized business that requires a certain level of specialization and experience, including a solid network of other cannabis businesses and operators. If the main objective is to find successful operators that provide good jobs, increased revenues, community benefits, and public safety then where a person resides has very little to do with their ability to be successful.

Also, requiring that a large percentage of employees be hired be from Oakland can also result in the need for businesses to hire people who may be less talented or qualified to meet an arbitrary quota. As mentioned, it would be wise to develop a training program for Oakland residents to increase the pool of qualified applicants and make it easier to hire good local people. I understand the desire for having a large percentage of these positions filled by Oakland residents, but it is also desirable for these businesses to have the best candidates filling roles to provide the highest quality products and services, which in turn increases overall revenues and brings more people into the City… especially when you get into the cultivation and manufacturing aspects of the industry, where it is imperative to have good people who know what they are doing to assure quality and safety in the process. People who are talented and cultivating and extracting cannabis can be hard to come by, and it could be counterproductive for the City to require a certain level of residency, and miss out on some really talented people who could craft cannabis and finished products that are superior. As these businesses grow from local and state businesses into national and international providers in coming years having the most talented people working at these businesses will ensure their success and viability for decades to come. The reputation of what will eventually become household names like Budweiser or Bayer are being developed now, and Oakland should not put barriers in place that could stunt that development because a decision was made to require Oakland residents be hired on at certain levels, and non-Oakland residents with amazing talents went elsewhere. Food for thought.

Proximity Buffer Zones: Oakland is a dense urban area with a lot of great areas for businesses. The State has set a mandatory 600 ft. proximity buffer around schools, which they define as “any public or private school providing instruction in kindergarten or grades 1 to 12, inclusive, but does not include any private school in which education is primarily conducted in private homes.” That is a fair distance that more than ensures safety. Some members of the Public Safety Commission and Council have suggested distances of 1,000 ft. or even expanding the definition of school to include a community college. Both of those ideas are unnecessary and eliminate great areas of potential commerce for the City. Regulatory requirements for medical cannabis businesses, including retail dispensaries, have many assurances built in to them that limit access to the areas of operation and discourage school aged children from coming in or around them. Proper security measures are far more effective than an arbitrary limitation of distance. The difference between 600 ft. and 1,000 ft. is not going to do any more to eliminate the risk of kids being exposed to cannabis. What it will do is severely limit the areas where these businesses can locate, and possibly force businesses into locations that are less than ideal.

Businesses being excessively limited and unable to find suitable facilities will result in them possibly having less options, and result in the City having less good businesses to pay taxes, hire people, and contribute to the community. Oakland would be wise to adhere to the suggested proximities of the City Administrator and the State. In addition to proximity buffers from perceived sensitive uses, having security requirements and ensuring operations are discreet in the administrative guidelines will yield more positive results, while still giving businesses more options to find a great location that meets their needs and increase the bottom line for the City.

Adding community colleges to the definition of schools because there may be high school aged students who attend certain specialty classes there is overkill. The location of say a cultivation facility or delivery service nearby a campus like Laney College will not encourage use or provide any more or less access to this handful of students attending AP courses. The required access restrictions in place are more than adequate to keep cannabis away from young people, and further limiting viable areas in the City to solve problems that do not really exist would be a bad idea. Tobacco and liquor are far more dangerous and accessible than cannabis is, but can you imagine how many restaurants or convenience stores would not be able to exist and add to the City’s economy and services if these same type of restrictions existed? Adding community colleges will not solve any real problems, but could certainly result in less businesses being able to operate, as well as those who do operate from possibly operating in a better location that enables them to do more business and provide more jobs and revenues.

On-Site Consumption: The City would be very wise to allow for dispensaries to have on-site consumption areas. These facilities would serve a number of needs and make Oakland an incredible destination point for patients and providers. Allowing people to consume cannabis in a safe and clean facility gives those patients who may not be able to consume at home for one reason or another a place to consume their medicine. Some patients live in shared living environments, or in public housing, and do not have a good place where they can consume cannabis. Allowing for a comfortable place to consume cannabis will take those people off of the street or out of their vehicle, where they may now be relegated to consuming. This increases public safety and limits complaints for people consuming in public. Allowing for consumption could also allow for patients to sample a medicine before making a purchase to ensure it was effective for their needs. Dispensaries could offer patients the ability to try a product they may not be familiar with before spending substantial money on it, thus increasing satisfaction and encouraging more patients to come to Oakland dispensaries over other cities in the area that also have dispensaries. One of the real benefits to allowing on-site consumption is also the psycho-social therapy it can provide by allowing patients to share different types of cannabis and information on how different strains or methods of ingestion may work for specific conditions or symptoms. This type of experience is invaluable to many who do not have the opportunity to get out often and socialize with other patients. It provides a great place for patients to interact and understand medical cannabis more deeply. That is an incredible service that will increase business for the dispensaries and revenues for the City.

Cash Management: Banking and cash management is one of the most frustrating aspects of the cannabis industry. Currently banks will not serve cannabis related businesses due to the differences in Federal and State laws. They consider it too large of a risk to undertake, and have been adamant about it. They will not even accept an account for businesses who do not actually deal in cannabis, but just have the word cannabis in their company name. Most businesses currently have to bank under non-descript business names that are more difficult for banks to detect. They must creatively explain their business avoiding the terms cannabis or marijuana, as well as collective, cooperative, compassion and other industry buzzwords that have become red flags for banks. Because most of these businesses cannot get merchant accounts either most of the transactions are cash, this creating obvious safety issues. It is great that the City is looking for viable alternatives to this situation. Could it be possible for the City to develop a credit union for cannabis businesses? It is uncertain. There have been efforts made in other states that have had some difficult challenges to overcome. There is a bank in Oregon that is working with cannabis businesses. They have a list of requirements for these businesses, including an annual site inspection and signing of a non-disclosure agreement, so it may be possible to find a local bank willing to implement a similar program here. Currently cannabis businesses handle a great deal of cash and do so with little or no issue every day. With proper management and security, handling cash is safe; and inventory tracking and PoS systems have helped verify transactions and increase transparency. While this is an area of the industry that is in great need of reform, this has been the way cannabis businesses have been forced to operate and there has not been a lot of major issues to report. Intense security protocols have mitigated the risks quite well.

Crime Trends: Medical cannabis businesses have proven to be extremely safe. Former Oakland City Administrator Barbara Killey who oversaw the medical cannabis program in the City from 2004-2009 had the following to say about their benefits: “The areas around the dispensaries may be some of the safest areas of Oakland now because of the level of security, surveillance, etc…since the ordinance passed.” This is certainly true and has been the norm across the State and in other major cities where cannabis businesses are located. What does attract crime and affects public safety is not regulating cannabis businesses. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cannabis businesses operating in Oakland currently that cultivate or manufacture finished products. These businesses currently are unlicensed or regulated and are forced to operate in a clandestine manner to avoid detection, as their legal status is questionable under the current ordinances. They may avoid some more overt security features that protect other licensed cannabis businesses, including on-site security guards, lighting, and highly visible cameras. They also may not have adequate alarms, as to not alert neighbors or police of a break in. They are also less likely to report a crime if it does happen because they have very little legal protection. By licensing these businesses, the City would decrease the likelihood of crime and encourage these business owners to be more directly involved in community safety groups and programs. Licensing can also require that these businesses maintain adequate levels of security technologies to discourage bad behaviors and further limit crime.

Permitting Existing Facilities: If the City truly wants cannabis cultivators and manufacturing companies to get licensed and become contributing business models, they will need to find a way to permit existing businesses. Most growers and those who make cannabis products depend on their business for their current income. Not many people are going to cut down their garden so that they can get licensed. They will continue to operate in the shadows, and will offer their products on the illicit market rather than within the licensed program if they are forced to cease operations for a long period to accommodate the licensing process. Another major issue is that many businesses have likely made unpermitted upgrades to their facilities to meet the requirements for cultivating and processing cannabis, including building structures and upgraded power sources. The vast majority of the building improvements are likely up to code, but were unpermitted to avoid having City officials inspect their operations and possibly report their activities. The City must find a way to provide an amnesty program for these businesses, in which they can disclose their unpermitted building upgrades and meet the necessary requirements without risking enforcement or hefty fines. It will require for City Council to instruct the building and planning departments to devise a method to bring these facilities into compliance. It is not a difficult process, but one that requires the will to think outside of the box. Finding a successful way to implement this amnesty for a limited time will vastly improve the chances of the City licensing businesses that until now have had to hide in fear of prosecution. It would greatly benefit the City and vastly expand the amount of people willing to participate in the program, which should be the ultimate goal.

Conclusion

We appreciate your time and consideration on this matter. We hope this report is helpful and informative to assist in creating beneficial ordinances that accomplish the objectives of increasing public safety, generating revenues, and developing innovative solutions for the emerging cannabis industry. Should you have any further questions or concerns that we may be able to help with do not hesitate to reach out. We appreciate being a part of the process and the open communication that the City has put forth to take in as much information as possible. I represent dozens of medical cannabis patients and communicate regularly with thousands of cannabis consumers, and I can assure you that many of the suggestions made here are representative of a large part of the local cannabis community. Thank you for the hard work and effort shown by City staff on this very important matter.

Regards…. Mickey Martin

So What About Oakland? Summary of the City’s plans to license cannabis businesses.

The City of Oakland is by far the most progressive municipality working to embrace the new regulations for cannabis businesses. Their plans to amend their ordinances to accommodate for more dispensaries, cultivation, delivery, distribution, and transport will hopefully set the tone for other cities and counties to also regulate. What is certain is that there will be a lot of interest in Oakland permits and we will be extremely busy working to get our clients licensed. I have a great relationship with Oakland City staff and have had success in getting a permit there. Magnolia Wellness was our client the last time the City opened licensing, and after a long application process that was clouded by the Federal crackdown we succeeded in getting a permit for them and developing the business from the ground up. We can also help you get going. The time to begin working on all of the plans is now, so please contact us if you are interested in operating in Oakland. We can begin positioning your organization now for licensing as soon as they become available. The application process goes quick and we are sure to have dozens of interested clients. Contact us to set up an appointment today. We look forward to it.

The following is a Summary of the City’s current plans:

Summary Document

Topic:    Oakland City Administrator Report to the Public Safety Committee

Dated:   December 21, 2015 Discussed at meeting, January 12, 2016

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Important to understand this is NOT a recommendation, rather an information only report from the City Administrator synopsizing the proposed legislation the City Administrator will put forth in the future – date not yet defined.

Members of the Oakland Public Safety Committee:

D1 – Dan Kalb; D2 – Abel Gullen; D5 – Noel Gallo; D6 – Desley Brooks (Chairperson)

Proposed Sections to be Amended

OMC 5.81 Medical Cannabis Cultivation, Manufacturing and Other Facility Permits

  • Proposed legislation respects and aligns with MMRSA licensing schematic
  • Not looking to restrict the number of facilities and encourage current operations to ‘come into the light’
  • Must meet – building and fire code, have security plans, active odor mitigation measures and will report quarterly to the city to assure compliance with MMRSA

OMC 5.80 Medical Cannabis Dispensary Permits

  • Language distinguishes between delivery (as newly introduced in AB1575 from Bonta – now called “Virtual Dispensary”
  • Creates unique permitting process for Virtual Dispensaries
  • Seeking to permit non-flower smoke at clubs – namely, vapping and edible consumption.
  • Removes restrictions on proximity of dispensaries to each other – almost suggesting that getting dispensaries closer together moves new facilities closer to transit depots and centralizes vigilance for public safety issues
  • Discusses increasing number of dispensary licenses:

*a compromise to a general large increase of dispensary licenses is to set a low number of licenses in the first year, allow to establish and then increase as deemed appropriate by the City Administrator’s office on an annual basis thereafter.

Areas of Concern:

Limited provisions for ‘grandfathering’ of existing cultivation business currently in practice during the application process. (i.e., if a cultivator has been in practice successfully to this point, has a canopy that meets and said cultivator is pursuing achieving a cultivator permit, can inspectors review their operation while in conduct? OR must cultivator destroy all existent product prior to engaging the application process even if established?)

Great Opportunity for Dispensaries- Management Agreement

Greetings,

I am reaching out to you to let you know about a great opportunity. I currently represent one of the most successful dispensing organizations in the State of California, and we would like to discuss a potential partnership with you that we believe will be an exciting and rewarding venture. Our group is extremely experienced in operating high-volume dispensaries that are proven successes. Their program is extremely desirable by patients, and the quality of the medicine they provide is second to none. My clients would hope to discuss the possibility of teaming up with your group to provide operational and management support for your dispensary. As the commercial market for cannabis continues to evolve, we are aware of the many challenges faced by dispensary operators. We believe we can help you to realize increased revenues, while limiting your liability and financial commitment going forward.

With the new State laws taking shape it is only natural for dispensary operators to be somewhat weary of increased regulatory costs and responsibilities. It will take a great deal of effort to continue to provide the same level of high quality goods and services as competition increases, and more taxes, fees, and operational costs continue to add up. The burden of added licensing fees, facility improvements, compliance costs, testing and distribution fees, and legal fees will be challenging for most to overcome in coming months. Through shared responsibilities and increased revenues, we can provide your organization with the administrative and management support needed to overcome these challenges; and through shared financial responsibilities with our other dispensing operations we can limit the burden of the costs that the inevitable changes to State and local medical cannabis programs will create.

What we are offering is the opportunity for you to take a step back from the day-to-day grind of operating the dispensary, and to realize the same financial benefits you do now without the hassles of managing the ongoing operations and expanded responsibilities. Let us manage the dispensary on your behalf through a fair and mutually beneficial Management Agreement. We have a proven track record of success in multiple markets in the State. We have developed a winning program that has made us a leader in the industry, and which continues to see consistent growth and increased market share year after year. Our partnership can help you find similar success, while limiting your personal obligation.

If you could retain the same title, salary, and income that you do now without having to worry about managing the daily operations and making ends meet all the time, wouldn’t you? If this kind of deal is of interest you then let’s arrange a time to sit down and discuss it in more detail. We are confident that you will like what you hear. Feel free to call me at (510) 377-1990 at your convenience to set up a meeting. I look forward to it. Thanks for your time and consideration.                                                                           

Kind Regards,

Mickey Martin

Why it is a Good Deal

The cannabis industry continues to be extremely challenging for a lot of operators. From dealing with banking issues, to increasing fees and taxes, to added regulatory requirements from both State and local authorities, what is clear is that the road ahead will be a difficult one to go at alone. Our organization realizes that these frustrations are common in an unstable environment; and we believe that our proven management and administration programs will yield positive results for both of our organization through shared opportunity and responsibility. We are already heavily invested in the development of these programs, and are experienced in helping organizations realize their potential while avoiding opportunity costs.  By accepting us as partners through a fair Management Agreement we will take on the responsibility of operating the dispensary and ensuring it has the required investment funding and administrative expertise that is needed to not just make it through the licensing process, but to thrive through it. You do not need to stress out about how you will afford the increased costs or how you will be able to comply with all of the new regulatory requirements. We will manage all of that for you, while you still maintain ownership rights, your salary, and you have more freedoms. Allowing us to implement our successful programs will immediately increase the value of your investment, and the income of your dispensary. We are good at what we do and can help your business grow rapidly to meet the needs of the ever-changing cannabis landscape. It is a no-brainer really- Less stress for more money.

 

California Medical Marijuana Safety and Regulation Act Breakdown

The three bills signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October to oversee the medical cannabis industry in the State are comprehensive and will transform how we do cannabis business in the State. The following are simple breakdowns of what the laws do and the new licensing categories they create. I would encourage you to look them over and understand the components of these new laws, and what they are attempting to do to cannabis in California.

If you need help understanding how the new laws will affect your business and cannabis operations, and are interested in getting signed up on the MMC Consulting program so we can help you develop your business model and compliance modules to meet the demands of this new market, please contact me directly by email at: mickey@mickeymartinconsulting.com; or you can give us a call at 888-824-6863. We would love to work with you to make this transition as painless as possible. More info on that program can be found HERE.

AB 266 BREAKDOWN:

Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

AB266, proposed by Bonta, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Formally establishes Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, seats bureau within Department of Consumer Affairs, Establishes Transport and Tracking authority, Directs taxation, fines and penalties for non-compliance

Summary: This law does the following:

Licensing

Establishes that Licensed Professionals in Medical Marijuana (Cultivators, Manufacturers, Transporters, Distributors, Dispensaries) will be published.

Creates additional license categories to those cultivator licenses addressed in AB243. (See table on reverse).

States that a licensee can have more than one classification of license with certain limitations:

  • Cultivators which want to be manufacturer also can only hold a small crop license or smaller.
  • A 10A General Dispensary (less than 3 locations) can also get a manufacturer’s license, and in rare circumstances can also hold a cultivator license. This provision will expire in 2026.
  • Distributors MUST apply for a Transport license. A Transport license holder MAY apply for a Distributor license.

Empowers Enforcement of BMMR

Sets forth the procedural administration guidelines for the BMMR, and authorizes it to create an advisory committee to advise licensing and regulatory development for the Medical Marijuana program.

Creates rules for due process when enforcing any regulations established, licensing procedures and civil conduct of the BMMR, including partnerships between local jurisdictions in working with the state to enforce the codes.

Provides protections for landowners renting to cultivators and medical marijuana businesses providing they acted in good faith, shielding them from prosecution.

Establishes a record keeping process for compliance with holding a license and sets a penalty for improper or incorrect record keeping at a $30,000 fine.

Directs CalOSHA to review facility operations and design, if needed, industry specific regulations.

Sets Term for Grandfathered Collaboratives / Cooperatives Protections

In adding language to the Health and Safety Code via 11362.775, this legislation establishes a clock of one year for collectives and/or collaboratives in operations from the date they begin issuing licenses. An exception to this is the protections for a single caregiver who can raise for up to 5 patients for whom they are the designated caregiver.

License Type Table:

SB 643 BREAKDOWN:

Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

SB643, proposed by McGuire, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Formally establishes Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, seats bureau within Department of Consumer Affairs, Establishes Transport and Tracking authority, Directs taxation, fines and penalties for non-compliance

Summary:

This legislation does the following:

Physician Recommendations

Directs the Medical Board of California to raise the priority and resource dedication to monitoring the physician recommendation process.

Sets restrictions, and penalties, for infraction of any doctor who:

  • negligently or frivolously provides recommendations
  • does not conduct a thorough physical in-person examination of a patient before recommending medical cannabis, holds a financial interest in an adjoining dispensary or service
  • advertises direct to consumer carelessly or offering incentive

Licensing Rules

Establishes rules for licensing requirements to include:

  • Both county and state licenses have to be approved before any growing begins, and both must be maintained in good standing at all times
  • Submit to Department of Justice fingerprint review for record of federal convictions at applicant’s cost
  • For dispensaries – must have valid current “Seller’s Permit”

Track and Trace Program

Establishes a unique identifier program through the BMMR

Charges the Department of Food and Agriculture to manage the record keeping of transport/movement of medical cannabis in the state of California.

Requires shipping manifest (including the unique identifiers of each plant, or plant product being moved) by Transporters for the movement of all medical cannabis throughout the state

Any shipment and the corresponding documentation is subject to inspection and verification by any licensing authority and state and local agencies

Taxation

Enables any city, county, or city and county, to impose taxes on licensed cultivators, dispensers, manufacturers, transporters or distributors.

Counties and cities may NOT impose a special sales tax subverting the state sales tax collected on the seller’s permit.

AB 243 BREAKDOWN:

Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act

AB243, proposed by Wood, relating to medical marijuana regulation. Signed by Governor Brown.

Topic: Cultivation management, regulation and licensure

Summary:

This legislation coordinates the efforts of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, Chief to pull together the following state agencies:

  • Department of Consumer Affairs
  • Department of Food and Agriculture
  • Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • State Department of Public Health
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • State Water Resources Control Board

In a coordinated fashion, the BMMR will develop regulations pertaining to cultivation practices and standards throughout the state. Only where lesser (city, county or city and county) jurisdictions make declarations of sovereignty by March 30, 2015 will the outcomes of state regulations not hold firm and defer to the lesser jurisdiction.

BMMR will develop regulations to address:

  • Water resource usage, management and measurement
  • Power utilization and permitting
  • Environmental Impact of cultivation practices
  • Standards for weight and measure application
  • Pesticide usage, management and testing

Further, this legislation formally classifies medical cannabis as an agricultural product, subject to all regulations which govern agricultural cultivation.

The law does acknowledge the ability of lesser jurisdictions to create a licensing schema to enact locally. In do so, it mandates that cultivators have both permits in good standing and establishes communication between jurisdictions to assure that cultivators are in compliance with both sets of regulations once established.

The legislation provides using the expertise of the above mentioned departments to create a ten tier licensing matrix for cannabis cultivation in the state of California:

For further breakdown of the MMRSA legislation:

AB243: http://www.mickeymartinconsulting.com/index.php/2015/10/10/ab-243-breakdown-and-analysis-what-is-it-all-about/

AB266: http://www.mickeymartinconsulting.com/index.php/2015/10/10/ab-266-analysis-and-breakdown-what-is-this-all-about/

SB643: http://www.mickeymartinconsulting.com/index.php/2015/10/10/sb-643-analysis-and-breakdown-what-does-it-do/

California Regulatory Compliance and Licensing Program

A New Era of Cannabis Business in California

On October 11, 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed into law three new bills that establish comprehensive regulations for the cannabis industry. These laws establish licensing for every aspect of the industry, and create the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) to oversee the program. These new laws dramatically shift the landscape for an industry that has lacked definition for many years. It will require individuals and organizations to realize regulatory requirements like never before. While the new program is certain to be complex, it is by no means unworkable, and hopefully will provide lasting protection from Federal interference. We can help you navigate the system to ensure your business complies with the program, and is positioned to be licensed in good standing when licenses become available.

Because of the way that the program is designed, it is important to begin working on your plans sooner than later. The deadlines established in AB266/SB643/AB243 are rapidly approaching, so being prepared is imperative. We can help design the needed plans and documentation for your project, and keep your organization on track throughout the process. Let us manage the details for you so you can continue to focus on what you do best. The new era of cannabis business in California is here, and the time is now to begin preparing for tomorrow’s industry. Through innovative strategic planning and business development management, we can assure that your business succeeds in whatever system evolves to regulate medical cannabis commercial activity.

Our main goal is for you to succeed. We want you to succeed as much or more than you do. We will do what it takes to make sure that your business is prepared, organized, and ready to be licensed.

There is also the reality that in addition to the new medical laws taking shape, there will likely also be a new adult use cannabis law on the ballot in November of 2016. While there is a barrage of initiatives filed with the State, there are really only a couple of options that look like they will have the funding necessary to pull it off. We will be assessing the different laws and working closely with the eventual campaign that develops around the language that ends up qualifying. Our clients will get exclusive communications regarding these developments, and we will be there to help you understand the law in its entirety. We can ensure that no matter what makes the ballot that your business is well-prepared to hit the ground running when it passes

While there is a lot to comprehend and take in, we can help simplify the process and give you the knowledge and resources you need to overcome these challenges. We are excited to be working with some of the greatest businesses in the industry, and we look forward to further developing our California network of professional providers of cannabis to work together in order to achieve mutual objectives. Mickey Martin Consulting only works with innovative companies that understand and respect the rich history of cannabis in California. Our clients operate with integrity and professionalism.  They care about the social responsibility expected of those who provide cannabis in today’s quasi-legal environment. The world is changing rapidly where cannabis is concerned, and we can help you to meet the increasing demands of the new era of cannabis business.

Timeline for Success

In many respects the clock has already begun ticking. The State has begun the hiring process for the Chief of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. I anticipate this position being filled around the beginning of the year. After the Chief is appointed, they will create an advisory committee to help establish best practices and licensing regulations for the industry. The advisory committee members may include, but not be limited to, representatives of the medical marijuana industry, representatives of medical marijuana cultivators, appropriate local and state agencies, appropriate local and state law enforcement, physicians, environmental and public health experts, and medical marijuana patient advocates. It is likely the committee will convene early next year, and make their recommendations sometime next summer. The Bureau will present the findings of the advisory committee to the appropriate licensing authorities, who will in turn develop licenses for the areas of the industry under their control.

More immediate is the action of local municipalities to decide how they are going to license, or not license, medical cannabis businesses within their borders. For cultivation, municipalities have until March 1, 2016 to either create land use regulations either allowing for or banning cultivation in their jurisdiction, otherwise “the division shall be the sole licensing authority for medical marijuana cultivation applicants in that city, county, or city and county.”

“In issuing licenses, the licensing authority shall prioritize any facility or entity that can demonstrate to the authority’s satisfaction that it was in operation and in good standing with the local jurisdiction by January 1, 2016.” So businesses that have a license in their municipality will have priority for licensing in that area. While there are many dispensary licenses across the State, there are very few cultivation, manufacturing, transport, laboratory, and/or distribution permits or licenses. There will be a lot of pressure for cities to develop licenses or ban cannabis, and these situations can often move pretty quickly. We can help you approach your local City Council or Board of Supervisors to encourage them to license your business model, if they do not already. We can help with drafting sample language, direct communications with public officials, and represent you at local stakeholder meetings. We can also help you develop and organize an initiative campaign to let the voters decide on licensing, if necessary. You will need local approval to be licensed by the State, so it will be important to be proactive at the local level immediately to get your community on board with the new State program.

Right now most businesses exist under the collective or cooperative designations created in SB 420. Once the Bureau officially creates licensing for the industry, the collective and cooperative section of SB 420 will cease to exist one year from the date licensing is posted on the Bureau’s website. So if the Chief and advisory committee make recommendations around summer time, I would anticipate the Department of Food and Agriculture, the Department of Public Health, and the Department of Consumer Affairs developing their licensing programs before the end of 2016. This will ensure that collectives and cooperatives sunset before January 1, 2018…the date that all commercial cannabis activity will be required to be between licensed businesses only.

In addition, there will likely be an initiative in November 2016 that will further the program, and which will have additional requirements for compliance. It is undoubtedly time to get to work.

Getting Started

Once you have decided that you would like to retain our services to assist you in preparing for the new regulatory program and licensing applications, we will immediately start working on your project. You will be required to complete our Organizational Information Worksheet, which will tell us about your business and current operations. We will arrange to meet with your team and create a plan of execution tailored to your specific needs and goals. At this point, we will assess your needs and create a schedule of tasks for your organization. Our team will begin developing your program immediately to address your most pressing needs. We will be available to answer any questions you may have.

Program Services

Each organization will have different needs and desires. We will design your individual program to reflect your short-term and long-term goals. The following are some of the services we can provide to help your organization:

  • Business Plan- We will create a detailed business plan for your organization that will provide structure and understanding of the organization, its mission, your team, products/services, the market, and strategies for success. This plan is a valuable resource for presenting to your team, public officials, investors, landlords, and other stakeholders interested in your organization. It is a working document that will create the framework for your operations and business.
  • Standard Operating Procedures- Our team will work with you to create Standard Operating Procedures that frame the processes, duties, and policies of your organization. It will create a step-by-step guide for the activities that comprise your regular work schedule. Your SOP/Operations Manual will address facilities, maintenance, equipment, methods, communications, work area requirements, formulations, handling, packaging, labeling, waste management, training, hygiene, and more. Developing good standard operating procedures ensures your team is all on the same page as to what is expected of them, and will serve as a critical part of the licensing process. We will develop your unique operations manual to represent company policies and procedures for all activities.
  • Facilities Review/Assessment/Plan- Our facilities experts will review your current facilities for compliance and functionality. We will create a report detailing areas of concern and suggested improvements  to prepare your facility for the licensing process. We will review all systems, security, zoning, signage, and efficiency aspects of your facilities, and create a task list to help you move toward expected compliance. We can also put you in touch with trusted licensed contractors to facilitate any necessary improvements.
  • Business Filings/Bylaws- We will review your current business filings, and assure that you are in compliance. We can also help transition your business from a not-for-profit entity to a for profit organization, as is allowed under the new laws. We will ensure your current bylaws are up to standards, and adjust or create new bylaws where necessary. We will review all necessary State filings to assure that statement of information and tax obligations are current, and assist you in becoming compliant where you are currently deficient.
  •  Strategic Plan- After assessing your business and operations we will create a comprehensive Strategic Plan to help guide you forward. We will develop a blueprint for achieving success for your organization, including a complete Strengths/Weaknesses/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) Analysis. We will make suggestions on methods of improving communications, operations, outreach, management, and systems to be more effective in your business dealings. We will give an honest assessment of your business, and provide the necessary resources to help you continue to grow as an organization. The Strategic Plan is a document aimed at helping you understand where you are, and the best methods to get to where you need to be to evolve.
  • Compliance Documentation and Report- We can create documentation and plans that you can use to ensure compliance at all levels of your operation. We will create a binder for you to keep at your facilities that spells out clearly how your business is compliant in all areas, including legal, facilities, zoning, inventory control, operations, record keeping, quality assurance, staffing, security, product development, transportation, and secure storage. This documentation of your compliance is not only helpful for your team to review and conform to, it is also a great resource for interacting with public officials and law enforcement. The many aspects of this report will create the foundation for eventual State and local licensing programs.
  • Investor Ready Plans- We can help you to create investor ready plans to be presented to potential investors in your business. As the industry and your organization expand, it may be necessary to find some new avenues of investment to overcome financial challenges that will be created by licensing fees, facility upgrades, and unexpected operational costs associated with the new regulations. By creating a plan to present directly to investors, you can increase the likelihood of securing the capital needed to ensure your success. We can create a plan that will impress any investor, and help them to understand why your business is a good bet for their funding.
  • Marketing Plans- One thing is certain: the market for cannabis is changing rapidly. We can create a plan to assist you in making wise marketing investments that promote your company, services, and/or products. The objective of marketing is to communicate to your target market why your products and services are of the highest quality, best value, and are a good choice for the consumer. By having a sound marketing plan, you can examine the different methods of advertising and marketing your goods or services that meet your budget and accomplish organizational objectives.
  • Government Relations- A big part of the licensing process will be getting local approval; this will require a great deal of government relations work to accomplish in most areas. We have a lot of experience in approaching public officials and developing strategies to get them on board with allowing for medical cannabis businesses. From developing new language for cities and counties to adapt, to encouraging them to restructure their current ordinances to meet the requirements of the new program, we can help you approach your municipality in a professional manner that gets results. We will attend local public meetings on your behalf, and represent your organizational needs to the necessary City Council or Board of Supervisors. We are also experienced in lobbying State lawmakers to make adjustments to the program where needed.
  • Initiative Campaigns- There will be municipalities in the State where local government officials will refuse to allow for medical cannabis businesses like yours to exist. We have experience in developing initiative campaigns where we develop language, submit the initiative,0 and gather signatures in an effort to allow for the voters to make that decision. We can develop the right language and help you manage a campaign to create licensing opportunities in the absence of local regulations.
  • Employee Documentation- It is important to have documentation that ensures your staff is aware of all company policies and agrees to comply with them. We can create detailed employee handbooks that spell out what is expected of employees and the policies, procedures, benefits, and working conditions of the organization. Developing job roles and descriptions can help your staff to understand what their respective positions entail and your objectives for their roles. Let us help you define your human resources activities to protect your organization legally, and to recruit and keep quality staff to achieve you company’s goals.
  • Educational Materials- It is important to educate people about your company, products, and/or services. We can create materials, such as handbooks, brochures, and training manuals that you can use to educate your staff, clients, and the patients you serve. Proper education helps patients to have a good experience in using medical cannabis products, and can help those who are dispensing your products understand how to inform patients of the benefits and best methods for using them. Developing educational materials for your organization creates customer satisfaction, and can increase your bottom line.
  • Packaging and Labeling- The new California regulations include requirements for packaging and labeling of medical cannabis products. Let us help you to create packaging and labeling that conform to the regulations, while still maintaining the unique and innovative brand that consumers have come to know and love. We can help you ensure that your products are fully compliant, and help you to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Product Development- Our team has a lot of experience in developing successful medical cannabis products lines. We can help you to develop your products and bring them to market. Let us make your great idea into a successful business model. The medical cannabis market is becoming more competitive by the day, so it is imperative to develop products that are desirable and in demand. We understand the market and can work with you to create products that patients love and ask for by name.
  • Training Manuals- We can create manuals to assist in the training of your staff. Having manuals that can be used to train employees on your operations, safety protocols, best practices, and cannabis products can help you to develop knowledgeable and well-trained staff that performs at a higher level. This will help your organization to realize safety, quality, and consistency in everything you do.
  • Application Development- We have a long track record of developing and submitting winning applications for our clients. When the time comes to apply for licensing or permitting locally and with the State, we will help you create an application that gives your organization a competitive advantage in the process. Our team is highly skilled at creating applications that exceed all standards and position your business to get approved for licensing. All cannabis businesses will need to be licensed by the State, and our team can make sure your application is outstanding.
  • Ongoing Support- By signing up for our consulting program, you will have access to ongoing support from our team of professionals to guide you through the program. We will provide timely and accurate responses to all of your questions, no matter how big or small, and will do our best to make sure that you have the resources you need to achieve your objectives. We are available to answer your questions by email, phone, and messaging at all hours of the day. All support needs will be addressed within 24 hours of being received.
  • Medical vs. Adult Use- While the current system of regulations is geared toward medical cannabis, there is a very real possibility that adult use legalization will be on the ballot for 2016. We will direct the work we do for you toward both models, and ensure that your plans and operations are reflective of both aspects moving forward if your goal is to be involved in both medical and adult use cannabis. We are well-versed on the laws being proposed, and create our programs to consider both the current medical laws, as well as the programs that will come about through adult use legalization.
  • Networking- We have a vast network of clients and professional partners that you will have access to when signing on as our client. We will help you to find resources in the community that can help you to better achieve your goals, and will connect you with other organizations who share similar objectives. It will take a village to compete with the growing business interest flooding the community, and we will use our amazing network of cannabis industry pros to help you succeed.
  • Best Practices- In order to achieve excellence, adhering to common industry best practices will help your organization be prepared for the future. We will develop best practices for your organizational operations that ensure you have a solid foundation to build for tomorrow. All of our clients share the common bond of working to provide great products and services to the community. Our best practices create a common bond among our clients that provides the structure needed for the changing cannabis landscape.
  • Creative Design- All of the documents, plans, reports, and materials that we create for your organization will maintain design elements that are unique to your company and brand. We will use your artistic styles, fonts, and images in everything we create for you so that they are representative of your organization’s innovative style. We have a great team of designers who can help you create logos, web designs, promotional materials, and marketing tools that reflect your company’s desired image and outreach objectives.
  • Media Relations- We are capable of managing media relations for your organization. Our team can create press releases to generate media interest in your organization or to create awareness about issues you are facing. We can field media inquiries on your behalf, and develop responses that are professional and representative of your mission and vision.
  • Communications- We will assist you in developing needed communications in the process, including creating communications to landlords, public officials, and community stakeholders. It is inevitable that you will need a letter written to help better understand your plans, and we can assist you in making all communications effective and professional.
  • Systems Development- Our team will work with you to develop systems that increase the effectiveness of your organization, including inventory control and record keeping systems.

Costs of Services

Every individual or company we work with will have different needs and require different services. To get started we require a deposit of $5,000. We anticipate that the licensing process, from panning through licensure, will cost approximately $25,000 to $50,000 depending on how rigorous getting local approval is in your area. We will provide regular accounting of the services we provide, and additional payments of $5,000 will be due quarterly. Companies that sign up and put their deposit down before 04/20/16 will receive their organizational plan free of charge. Our fees do not include administrative expenses, external fees, travel expenses, or other costs not directly related to consulting. The accounting provided for services will include detailed expense reports for any additional costs incurred, and all expenses will be approved by you prior to being executed. Should services exceed your deposit prior to quarterly billing, you will be notified and asked to cover direct costs associated with your project as they arise. All invoices are expected to be paid within 10 days of being received.

Our Commitment to You

We are incredibly selective in the clients we choose to represent. Our goal is to help you succeed. We want you to succeed as much as you do, and will do everything in our power to make that happen. We are committed to working hard and giving your organization our very best. Your success is our success, and we take that responsibility very seriously. Our costs for services are incredibly reasonable compared to other consulting businesses serving the industry, and we guarantee total transparency in our work. We believe in a high standard of ethics in everything we do, and guarantee satisfaction. There is a reason that all of the clients we represent come back to us for all their consulting needs. We are fair, honest, and truly excited to help you achieve your objectives. We provide a personal relationship to all of our clients that is unmatched in the industry. Most of our clients also become our good friends and colleagues because we care about their businesses, and work hard to ensure they have the necessary resources to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.  We are committed to providing you the best service at an incredible value that will enable you to continue to grow and prosper. We look forward to representing you and helping you find real and meaningful success throughout our relationship.

NOW HIRING: Administrative Manager

Mickey Martin Consulting is in need of an administrative manager to assist in our rapidly expanding medical cannabis consulting business. The State of California recently passed sweeping changes to the medical cannabis program that will require cannabis businesses to be heavily regulated at both the State and local levels. Our consulting firm works with the best and brightest companies in the cannabis industry to help them achieve compliance and expand their business model in a rapidly changing environment.

Candidates for the Administrative Manager position will be responsible for maintaining good relationships with our clients and assisting in every aspect of the process. The position requires a high level of client service skill combined with the organizational skills and task management ability to achieve company objectives accurately and efficiently. Experience with the workings of the medical cannabis industry is desirable, but not necessary for the right candidate.

To apply, please send a detailed resume and cover letter explaining your experience and why you think you would be a good fit for the position to mickey@mickeymartinconsulting.com.

EXPECTED PERFORMANCE AND DUTIES
• Managing communications with clients by phone, email, and social media
• Editing and writing proposals and documentation
• Maintaining an organized and clean office space
• Scheduling meetings and events
• Attending City Council or Board of Supervisors meetings throughout the State
• Making presentations to clients and stakeholders
• Managing social media accounts on behalf of the firm and its clients
• Research and development of plans and ordinances related to medical cannabis business operations
• Oversight of all prepared documents for the firm, assuring accuracy and competency
• Outreach development and marketing assistance
• Professional interactions with clients, public officials, and community stakeholders
• Ability to accomplish tasks efficiently and effectively
• Positive attitude and communications

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED
• Proficiency in an array of computer programs and modules, including MS Office, Adobe programs, WordPress, and more
• Administrative task management skills
• Office management experience, including basic finance management
• Medical cannabis knowledge and experience preferred, but not required

For more information on the services we provide visit www.mickeymartinconsulting.com

AB 243 BREAKDOWN AND ANALYSIS. WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

So here we have the third and final law being passed broken down and analyzed for your convenience. AB 243 is focused primarily on cultivation and how growing weed effects the environment. It is full of a lot of regulatory schemes aimed at ensuring growers are compliant and not negatively impacting wildlife habitats and water resources. It also further establishes and defines the tracking program and the new powers granted to the Department of Food and Agriculture to regulate cultivation.

This is the third law I have broken down. The other two are SB 643 and AB 266, which are linked. All three of the laws together will make up the program that will govern our lives for years to come, so get to know them.

Here is the AB 243 breakdown…. Enjoy.

AB 243

SECTION 1. Article 6 (commencing with Section 19331) is added to Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:

Article  6. Licensed Cultivation Sites

  • Grows….

19331. The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(a) The United States Environmental Protection Agency has not established appropriate pesticide tolerances for, or permitted the registration and lawful use of, pesticides on cannabis crops intended for human consumption pursuant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (7 U.S.C. 136 et seq.).

  • There are no standards for pesticide use on cannabis….

(b) The use of pesticides is not adequately regulated due to the omissions in federal law, and cannabis cultivated in California for California patients can and often does contain pesticide residues.

  • There are no real regulations for pesticides, so cannabis often has pesticides on it…

(c) Lawful California medical cannabis growers and caregivers urge the Department of Pesticide Regulation to provide guidance, in absence of federal guidance, on whether the pesticides currently used at most cannabis cultivation sites are actually safe for use on cannabis intended for human consumption.

  • Since the feds won’t do anything, people want the State to come up with standards for what is safe and what is not safe for human consumption…

19332. (a) The Department of Food and Agriculture shall promulgate regulations governing the licensing of indoor and outdoor cultivation sites.

  • THE DFA is regulating cultivation….

(b) The Department of Pesticide Regulation, in consultation with the Department of Food and Agriculture, shall develop standards for the use of pesticides in cultivation, and maximum tolerances for pesticides and other foreign object residue in harvested cannabis.

  • These departments ae charged with developing standards for using pesticides, and tolerancs for impurities in medical cannabis…

(c) The State Department of Public Health shall develop standards for the production and labeling of all edible medical cannabis products.

  • The DPH will develop standards for labeling EDIBLE medical cannabis products…

(d) The Department of Food and Agriculture, in consultation with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the State Water Resources Control Board, shall ensure that individual and cumulative effects of water diversion and discharge associated with cultivation do not affect the instream flows needed for fish spawning, migration, and rearing, and the flows needed to maintain natural flow variability.

  • These departments will make sure cannabis cultivation is not screwing up water supplies…

(e) The Department of Food and Agriculture shall have the authority necessary for the implementation of the regulations it adopts pursuant to this chapter. The regulations shall do all of the following:

  • The Department of Food and Ag will have the authority to do the following:

(1) Provide that weighing or measuring devices used in connection with the sale or distribution of medical cannabis are required to meet standards equivalent to Division 5 (commencing with Section 12001).

  • Control weights and measures, like they do at the grocery store and gas station…

(2) Require that cannabis cultivation by licensees is conducted in accordance with state and local laws related to land conversion, grading, electricity usage, water usage, agricultural discharges, and similar matters. Nothing in this chapter, and no regulation adopted by the department, shall be construed to supersede or limit the authority of the State Water Resources Control Board, regional water quality control boards, or the Department of Fish and Wildlife to implement and enforce their statutory obligations or to adopt regulations to protect water quality, water supply, and natural resources.

  • Make sure growers are following all environmental regulations for agriculture, power usage, and water usage. Their authority does not supersede other agencies authorities though…

(3) Establish procedures for the issuance and revocation of unique identifiers for activities associated with a cannabis cultivation license, pursuant to Article 8 (commencing with Section 19337). All cannabis shall be labeled with the unique identifier issued by the Department of Food and Agriculture.

  • To develop seed to sale identification systems to track weed throughout the continuum…

(4) Prescribe standards, in consultation with the bureau, for the reporting of information as necessary related to unique identifiers, pursuant to Article 8 (commencing with Section 19337).

  • Make standards for reporting the seed to sale trcking system to the appropriate departments and authorities…

(f) The Department of Pesticide Regulation, in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board, shall promulgate regulations that require that the application of pesticides or other pest control in connection with the indoor or outdoor cultivation of medical cannabis meets standards equivalent to Division 6 (commencing with Section 11401) of the Food and Agricultural Code and its implementing regulations.

  • These departments will develop regulations for cannabis cultivation that limit pesticide use and pest control methods that are similar to current regulations for crops…

(g) State cultivator license types issued by the Department of Food and Agriculture include:

  • Cultivation license types…. These were broke down in my previous articles.

(1) Type 1, or “specialty outdoor,” for outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting of less than or equal to 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises, or up to 50 mature plants on noncontiguous plots.

(2) Type 1A, or “specialty indoor,” for indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting of less than or equal to 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises.

(3) Type 1B, or “specialty mixed-light,” for cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority, of less than or equal to 5,000 square feet of total canopy size on one premises.

(4) Type 2, or “small outdoor,” for outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.

(5) Type 2A, or “small indoor,” for indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.

(6) Type 2B, or “small mixed-light,” for cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority, between 5,001 and 10,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises.

(7) Type 3, or “outdoor,” for outdoor cultivation using no artificial lighting from 10,001 square feet to one acre, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises. The Department of Food and Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.

(8) Type 3A, or “indoor,” for indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises. The Department of Food and Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.

(9) Type 3B, or “mixed-light,” for cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority, between 10,001 and 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premises. The Department of Food and Agriculture shall limit the number of licenses allowed of this type.

(10) Type 4, or “nursery,” for cultivation of medical cannabis solely as a nursery. Type 4 licensees may transport live plants.

19333. An employee engaged in commercial cannabis cultivation activity shall be subject to Wage Order 4-2001 of the Industrial Welfare Commission.

  • Cultivation staff are subject to the wage order for Professional, Technical, Clerical, Mechanical and Similar Occupations…

SEC. 2. Article 13 (commencing with Section 19350) is added to Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:

Article  13. Funding

  • Show me the money…

19350. Each licensing authority shall establish a scale of application, licensing, and renewal fees, based upon the cost of enforcing this chapter, as follows:

  • The Department of Consumer Affairs, the Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Department of Public Health will decide how much money to charge you based on whatever costs they can come up with to include in the equation…

(a) Each licensing authority shall charge each licensee a licensure and renewal fee, as applicable. The licensure and renewal fee shall be calculated to cover the costs of administering this chapter. The licensure fee may vary depending upon the varying costs associated with administering the various regulatory requirements of this chapter as they relate to the nature and scope of the different licensure activities, including, but not limited to, the track and trace program required pursuant to Section 19335, but shall not exceed the reasonable regulatory costs to the licensing authority.

  • Each of the departments will charge licensing and renewal fees to cover the costs of their programs. Their fees will vary depending on how much stuff they come up with to charge for, including your fancy seed to sale tracking program…

(b) The total fees assessed pursuant to this chapter shall be set at an amount that will fairly and proportionately generate sufficient total revenue to fully cover the total costs of administering this chapter.

  • The fees charged will be large enough to ensure they cover the costs of the programs…

(c) All license fees shall be set on a scaled basis by the licensing authority, dependent on the size of the business.

  • Fees will be based on how big your business is… so a large grower will pay more than a small grower.

(d) The licensing authority shall deposit all fees collected in a fee account specific to that licensing authority, to be established in the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund. Moneys in the licensing authority fee accounts shall be used, upon appropriation of the Legislature, by the designated licensing authority for the administration of this chapter.

  • Each department will have their own bank account for their fees to go into to cover their costs…

19351. (a) The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund is hereby established within the State Treasury. Moneys in the fund shall be available upon appropriation by the Legislature. Notwithstanding Section 16305.7 of the Government Code, the fund shall include any interest and dividends earned on the moneys in the fund.

  • There is a weed fund in the State Treasury and can be spent by the Legislature as they see fit, including any interest and dividends earned…

(b) (1) Funds for the establishment and support of the regulatory activities pursuant to this chapter shall be advanced as a General Fund or special fund loan, and shall be repaid by the initial proceeds from fees collected pursuant to this chapter or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter, by January 1, 2022. Should the initial proceeds from fees not be sufficient to repay the loan, moneys from the Medical Cannabis Fines and Penalties Account shall be made available to the bureau, by appropriation of the Legislature, to repay the loan.

  • The State will provide the money to start the program up, but will be paid back by 2022. If start up fees are not enough to cover the loan, the loan will be paid back by fines and penalties money collected…

(2) Funds advanced pursuant to this subdivision shall be appropriated to the bureau, which shall distribute the moneys to the appropriate licensing authorities, as necessary to implement the provisions of this chapter.

  • The Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation gets the money and decides which of the other departments get how much of it…

(3) The Director of Finance may provide an initial operating loan from the General Fund to the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund that does not exceed ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

  • They get up to $10 million dollars for the startup loan…

(c) Except as otherwise provided, all moneys collected pursuant to this chapter as a result of fines or penalties imposed under this chapter shall be deposited directly into the Medical Marijuana Fines and Penalties Account, which is hereby established within the fund, and shall be available, upon appropriation by the Legislature to the bureau, for the purposes of funding the enforcement grant program pursuant to subdivision (d).

  • The money from fines and penalties goes into its own account, and the Legislature must approve the Bureau’s use of the funds for enforcement programs as follows…

(d) (1) The bureau shall establish a grant program to allocate moneys from the Medical Cannabis Fines and Penalties Account to state and local entities for the following purposes:

  • All the money they collect from fines and penalties(Is it just me or does it seem like they expect to collect a lot of money from unlicensed growers and people who screw up?) will be used for the following:

(A) To assist with medical cannabis regulation and the enforcement of this chapter and other state and local laws applicable to cannabis activities.

  • Money to enforce the program and other local laws for cannabis…

(B) For allocation to state and local agencies and law enforcement to remedy the environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation.

  • To clean up environmental impacts of cannabis cultivation and manufacturing…

(2) The costs of the grant program under this subdivision shall, upon appropriation by the Legislature, be paid for with moneys in the Medical Cannabis Fines and Penalties Account.

  • This money will come from the Penalties and Fines account…

(3) The grant program established by this subdivision shall only be implemented after the loan specified in this section is repaid.

  • The State gets its loan money back first before anything is spent on any of this stuff…

19352. The sum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000) is hereby appropriated from the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act Fund to the Department of Consumer Affairs to begin the activities of the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation. Funds appropriated pursuant to this section shall not include moneys received from fines or penalties.

  • Here is $10,000,000 to get started… This money does not include fines and penalty money.

SEC. 3. Article 17 (commencing with Section 19360) is added to Chapter 3.5 of Division 8 of the Business and Professions Code, to read:

 

Article  17. Penalties and Violations

19360. (a) A person engaging in cannabis activity without a license and associated unique identifiers required by this chapter shall be subject to civil penalties of up to twice the amount of the license fee for each violation, and the department, state or local authority, or court may order the destruction of medical cannabis associated with that violation. Each day of operation shall constitute a separate violation of this section. All civil penalties imposed and collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited into the Marijuana Production and Environment Mitigation Fund established pursuant to Section 31013 of the Revenue and Taxation Code.

  • If you don’t have a license and tracking information for your weed  you can be fined up to twice the amount a license costs for EACH violation (Does this mean each plant?).
  • They can destroy your weed if you are out of compliance.
  • Every day you continue is another violation.
  • They have a fund for your money set up…

(b) If an action for civil penalties is brought against a licensee pursuant to this chapter by the Attorney General, the penalty collected shall be deposited into the General Fund. If the action is brought by a district attorney or county counsel, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment was entered. If the action is brought by a city attorney or city prosecutor, the penalty collected shall be paid to the treasurer of the city or city and county in which the judgment was entered. If the action is brought by a city attorney and is adjudicated in a superior court located in the unincorporated area or another city in the same county, the penalty shall be paid one-half to the treasurer of the city in which the complaining attorney has jurisdiction and one-half to the treasurer of the county in which the judgment is entered.

  • Whoever busts you gets the money….

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), criminal penalties shall continue to apply to an unlicensed person or entity engaging in cannabis activity in violation of this chapter, including, but not limited to, those individuals covered under Section 11362.7 of the Health and Safety Code.

  • In addition to the civil fines imposed they can still take your dumb ass to jail for growing weed like they have in the past; but now you do not even have the defense of being a “collective.” Good luck out there….

SEC. 4. Section 12029 is added to the Fish and Game Code, to read:

12029. (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

  • We declare the following based on loose fact and little evidence:

(1) The environmental impacts associated with marijuana cultivation have increased, and unlawful water diversions for marijuana irrigation have a detrimental effect on fish and wildlife and their habitat, which are held in trust by the state for the benefit of the people of the state.

  • Weed growers are ruining the environment, and are killing fish and stuff. These potheads are screwing everything up for everyone with their weed farms

(2) The remediation of existing marijuana cultivation sites is often complex and the permitting of these sites requires greater department staff time and personnel expenditures. The potential for marijuana cultivation sites to significantly impact the state’s fish and wildlife resources requires immediate action on the part of the department’s lake and streambed alteration permitting staff.

  • It costs us a lot of time and money to clean up all of the damage done by the weedheads. You must give us money immediately to make sure that weed does not destroy the planet…

(b) In order to address unlawful water diversions and other violations of the Fish and Game Code associated with marijuana cultivation, the department shall establish the watershed enforcement program to facilitate the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of these offenses.

  • In order to get to the bottom of this we will establish another expensive program to make sure weed farms are not screwing everything up for everyone…

(c) The department, in coordination with the State Water Resources Control Board, shall establish a permanent multiagency task force to address the environmental impacts of marijuana cultivation. The multiagency task force, to the extent feasible and subject to available Resources, shall expand its enforcement efforts on a statewide level to ensure the reduction of adverse impacts of marijuana cultivation on fish and wildlife and their habitats throughout the state.

  • We will combine forces with other enforcement agencies to create a task force to make sure weed farms are not screwing things up. Our task force will need more money to increase our enforcement on these stoners…

(d) In order to facilitate the remediation and permitting of marijuana cultivation sites, the department shall adopt regulations to enhance the fees on any entity subject to Section 1602 for marijuana cultivation sites that require remediation. The fee schedule established pursuant to this subdivision shall not exceed the fee limits in Section 1609.

  • If your grow site requires clean up or restoration they can increase your fees…

SEC. 5. Section 11362.769 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11362.769. Indoor and outdoor medical marijuana cultivation shall be conducted in accordance with state and local laws related to land conversion, grading, electricity usage, water usage, water quality, woodland and riparian habitat protection, agricultural discharges, and similar matters. State agencies, including, but not limited to, the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the State Water Resources Control Board, the California regional water quality control boards, and traditional state law enforcement agencies shall address environmental impacts of medical marijuana cultivation and shall coordinate, when appropriate, with cities and counties and their law enforcement agencies in enforcement efforts.

  • Cultivation is subject to all laws and regulations; and will be enforced by the normal law enforcement entities, including local agencies.

SEC. 6. Section 11362.777 is added to the Health and Safety Code, to read:

11362.777. (a) The Department of Food and Agriculture shall establish a Medical Cannabis Cultivation Program to be administered by the secretary, except as specified in subdivision (c), shall administer this section as it pertains to the cultivation of medical marijuana. For purposes of this section and Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 19300) of the Business and Professions Code, medical cannabis is an agricultural product.

  • The DFA will have medical marijuana program, and shall administer said program…
  • Weed is now officially an agricultural product…

(b) (1) A person or entity shall not cultivate medical marijuana without first obtaining both of the following:

  • You cannot gow weed unless you do the following:

(A) A license, permit, or other entitlement, specifically permitting cultivation pursuant to these provisions, from the city, county, or city and county in which the cultivation will occur.

  • Get a local license, hippie! Gotta have local approval…

(B) A state license issued by the department pursuant to this section.

  • Get a State license, hippie!

(2) A person or entity shall not submit an application for a state license issued by the department pursuant to this section unless that person or entity has received a license, permit, or other entitlement, specifically permitting cultivation pursuant to these provisions, from the city, county, or city and county in which the cultivation will occur.

  • You can’t even apply with the State until the local city or county has given you approval; so go dig up your money from under the woodpile and try to buy enough city councilpersons to pass some law allowing you to grow before you even bother to call us….

(3) A person or entity shall not submit an application for a state license issued by the department pursuant to this section if the proposed cultivation of marijuana will violate the provisions of any local ordinance or regulation, or if medical marijuana is prohibited by the city, county, or city and county in which the cultivation is proposed to occur, either expressly or otherwise under principles of permissive zoning.

  • Don’t even bother applying unless your grow meets all the requirements of your local jurisdiction…

(c) (1) Except as otherwise specified in this subdivision, and without limiting any other local regulation, a city, county, or city and county, through its current or future land use regulations or ordinance, may issue or deny a permit to cultivate medical marijuana pursuant to this section. A city, county, or city and county may inspect the intended cultivation site for suitability prior to issuing a permit. After the city, county, or city and county has approved a permit, the applicant shall apply for a state medical marijuana cultivation license from the department. A locally issued cultivation permit shall only become active upon licensing by the department and receiving final local approval. A person shall not cultivate medical marijuana prior to obtaining both a permit from the city, county, or city and county and a state medical marijuana cultivation license from the department.

  • Your local city or county can approve or deny your right to grow…
  • They can inspect your spot…
  • If the city or county says you are cool, you need to apply with the state…
  • Your local permit is only valid if you also have a State license…
  • You cannot cultivate weed before you get a permit from the locals, and then getting a license from the State…

(2) A city, county, or city and county that issues or denies conditional licenses to cultivate medical marijuana pursuant to this section shall notify the department in a manner prescribed by the secretary.

  • If your municipality issues growing licenses they need to notify the DFA…

(3) A city, county, or city and county’s locally issued conditional permit requirements must be at least as stringent as the department’s state licensing requirements.

  • Local permits must meet the state minimums for regulations…

(4) If a city, county, or city and county does not have land use regulations or ordinances regulating or prohibiting the cultivation of marijuana, either expressly or otherwise under principles of permissive zoning, or chooses not to administer a conditional permit program pursuant to this section, then commencing March 1, 2016, the division shall be the sole licensing authority for medical marijuana cultivation applicants in that city, county, or city and county.

  • If a city or county does not have regulations or bans, or chooses not to have a program, by March 1, 2016, then the State becomes the licensing authority for applicants in that city or county. THIS IS INTERESTING. So if a place chooses to ignore the program, the state can issue licenses there anyway? Hard to interpret, but it should force most cities and counties to put an ordinance in place for cultivation, either allowing for it or banning it. Unfortunately, I am saying that a lot of places will choose to ban it to begin with at least.

(d) (1) The secretary may prescribe, adopt, and enforce regulations relating to the implementation, administration, and enforcement of this part, including, but not limited to, applicant requirements, collections, reporting, refunds, and appeals.

  • The DFA secretary can create regulations requires to implement the program…

(2) The secretary may prescribe, adopt, and enforce any emergency regulations as necessary to implement this part. Any emergency regulation prescribed, adopted, or enforced pursuant to this section shall be adopted in accordance with Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 11340) of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code, and, for purposes of that chapter, including Section 11349.6 of the Government Code, the adoption of the regulation is an emergency and shall be considered by the Office of Administrative Law as necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety, and general welfare.

  • The DFA secretary may make emergency rules if needed to implement the program, under normal procedures of law for emergency changes to administrative laws…

(3) The secretary may enter into a cooperative agreement with a county agricultural commissioner to carry out the provisions of this chapter, including, but not limited to, administration, investigations, inspections, licensing and assistance pertaining to the cultivation of medical marijuana. Compensation under the cooperative agreement shall be paid from assessments and fees collected and deposited pursuant to this chapter and shall provide reimbursement to the county agricultural commissioner for associated costs.

  • DFA can work with county ag officials to carry out the program… they can pay them for their efforts too.

(e) (1) The department, in consultation with, but not limited to, the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, the State Water Resources Control Board, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, shall implement a unique identification program for medical marijuana. In implementing the program, the department shall consider issues, including, but not limited to, water use and environmental impacts. In implementing the program, the department shall ensure that:

  • These departments will implement a seed to sale tracking program and ensure that:

(A) Individual and cumulative effects of water diversion and discharge associated with cultivation do not affect the instream flows needed for fish spawning, migration, and rearing, and the flows needed to maintain natural flow variability.

  • Weed farms do not screw up water resources…

(B) Cultivation will not negatively impact springs, riparian wetlands, and aquatic habitats.

  • Growing weed will not screw up springs, wetlands, or habitats…

(2) The department shall establish a program for the identification of permitted medical marijuana plants at a cultivation site during the cultivation period. The unique identifier shall be attached at the base of each plant. A unique identifier, such as, but not limited to, a zip tie, shall be issued for each medical marijuana plant.

  • Every plant will have an identification tag od some sort affixed to the plant that tracks it…

(A) Unique identifiers will only be issued to those persons appropriately licensed by this section.

  • You can only get the tags if you are licensed…

(B) Information associated with the assigned unique identifier and licensee shall be included in the trace and track program specified in Section 19335 of the Business and Professions Code.

  • The info from the tags will be part of the tracking database…

(C) The department may charge a fee to cover the reasonable costs of issuing the unique identifier and monitoring, tracking, and inspecting each medical marijuana plant.

  • The tags will cost you money to get…

(D) The department may promulgate regulations to implement this section.

  • There will be extra rules for the tag program…

(3) The department shall take adequate steps to establish protections against fraudulent unique identifiers and limit illegal diversion of unique identifiers to unlicensed persons.

  • They will make sure that the tags are not easy to counterfeit…

(f) (1) A city, county, or city and county that issues or denies licenses to cultivate medical marijuana pursuant to this section shall notify the department in a manner prescribed by the secretary.

  • A city or county must tell the department if they issue or deny licenses on some form the DFA creates for them…

(2) Unique identifiers and associated identifying information administered by a city or county shall adhere to the requirements set by the department and be the equivalent to those administered by the department.

  • If a city of county decides to have a tracking program and tags they must be at least as cool as the ones issued by the state…

(g) This section does not apply to a qualified patient cultivating marijuana pursuant to Section 11362.5 if the area he or she uses to cultivate marijuana does not exceed 100 square feet and he or she cultivates marijuana for his or her personal medical use and does not sell, distribute, donate, or provide marijuana to any other person or entity. This section does not apply to a primary caregiver cultivating marijuana pursuant to Section 11362.5 if the area he or she uses to cultivate marijuana does not exceed 500 square feet and he or she cultivates marijuana exclusively for the personal medical use of no more than five specified qualified patients for whom he or she is the primary caregiver within the meaning of Section 11362.7 and does not receive remuneration for these activities, except for compensation provided in full compliance with subdivision (c) of Section 11362.765. For purposes of this section, the area used to cultivate marijuana shall be measured by the aggregate area of vegetative growth of live marijuana plants on the premises. Exemption from the requirements of this section does not limit or prevent a city, county, or city and county from regulating or banning the cultivation, storage, manufacture, transport, provision, or other activity by the exempt person, or impair the enforcement of that regulation or ban.

  • This program does not include patients who are cultivating in an area under 100 sq ft (10 x 10) that are growing just for themselves, and do not sell, give away, or SHARE their weed with anyone else. Got that? Your personal 10×10 garden does not get regulated as long as you never share a joint with anyone from it. Otherwise you are fucked. Sorry.
  • Caregivers are not regulated by this program if their garden is under 500 sq ft (25 x 20) and they are cultivating for 5 or less patients. You must meet the definition of primary caregiver for those 5 folks which means, “individual designated by the patient… who has consistently assumed responsibility for the housing, health, or safety of that person.” And you can’t get paid… sorry.
  • The square footage is measured by the combination of grow areas used…
  • Cities and counties can still ban or limit growing if they want though…

SEC. 7. Section 13276 is added to the Water Code, to read:

13276. (a) The multiagency task force, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and State Water Resources Control Board pilot project to address the Environmental Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation, assigned to respond to the damages caused by marijuana cultivation on public and private lands in California, shall continue its enforcement efforts on a permanent basis and expand them to a statewide level to ensure the reduction of adverse impacts of marijuana cultivation on water quality and on fish and wildlife throughout the state.

  • The “task force” created to enforce environmental issues on weed farms will expand their efforts to make sure weed farms are not ruining the environment…

(b) Each regional board shall, and the State Water Resources Control Board may, address discharges of waste resulting from medical marijuana cultivation and associated activities, including by adopting a general permit, establishing waste discharge requirements, or taking action pursuant to Section 13269. In addressing these discharges, each regional board shall include conditions to address items that include, but are not limited to, all of the following:

  • Water agencies can add regulation and fees on for the discharge of nutrients and whatnot into the water system. They can do the following:

(1) Site development and maintenance, erosion control, and drainage features.

  • How the site is developed and maintained. How it affects erosion. And what types of expensive fancy filters you need on your drainage systems…

(2) Stream crossing installation and maintenance.

  • Any infrastructure needed for drainage, like culverts and drain pipes…

(3) Riparian and wetland protection and management.

  • River areas and wetlands…

(4) Soil disposal.

  • Getting rid of dirt…

(5) Water storage and use.

  • How much water you can store and use…

(6) Irrigation runoff.

  • The runoff from watering plants…

(7) Fertilizers and soil.

  • Nutrient and soil usage…

(8) Pesticides and herbicides.

  • Pesticide and herbicide use…

(9) Petroleum products and other chemicals.

  • Non-organic additives and other stuff…

(10) Cultivation-related waste.

  • Weed grower garbage disposal…

(11) Refuse and human waste.

  • Garbage and poop…

(12) Cleanup, restoration, and mitigation.

  • Whatever it takes to clean up after you dirty weedheads…

SEC. 8. The provisions of this act are severable. If any provision of this act or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

  • If some of this is illegal the rest of it still stands…

SEC. 9. No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution for certain costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district because, in that regard, this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.

  • We do not have to pay for this stuff if it is in the scope of normal local enforcement activity…

However, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains other costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.

  • If we make the locals do something that they normally would not have to do we will pay for that…

SEC. 10. This measure shall become operative only if both Assembly Bill 266 and Senate Bill 643 of the 2015–16 Regular Session are enacted and become operative.

  • This law only works if the other two laws pass as well…