Green Marijuana PlantOn December 15, 2016, the Board of Pharmacy issued draft regulations placing a limit of 40 dispensary licenses, and providing for rules on obtaining dispensary licenses, operating dispensaries and licensing of employees. The State Medical Board regulations provided steps physicians have to undertake in order to be able to recommend medical marijuana. The Department of Commerce made some increases to cultivator limits.

Board of Pharmacy

The Board of Pharmacy will only issue “up to” 40 provisional dispensary licenses by September 8, 2018, with no licensee being issued more than 5 dispensary licenses at any time. There is a $5,000 non-refundable license application fee and an $80,000 fee to be paid every other year. In order to be eligible, a prospective dispensary owner must have at least $250,000 in liquid assets. Although there is no date yet, the Board of Pharmacy will provide notice of a request for applications to operate a dispensary.

The Board of Pharmacy also issued regulations regarding licensing of employees working for a dispensary, including thorough background checks and maintaining a valid employee identification card. Employees will have to report all purchases to the OARRS controlled substances database within five minutes of purchase.

There are also rules regarding dispensary operation, such as the requirement to hire and maintain a pharmacist, nurse, physician or physician’s assistant as the dispensary clinical director. The clinical director must train employees, develop patient educational materials, and be on the premises at all times or on call at all times.

State Medical Board

The State Medical Board issued rules that only allow physicians to recommend marijuana for medical purposes if they have an active and unrestricted license “to practice medicine and surgery or osteopathic medicine and surgery.” Before they can recommend, physicians must take a two-hour educational course on medical marijuana. Other than that, the process to obtain a certificate to recommend will follow the current licensure structure and require no additional fee and no separate background check. Physicians may only recommend marijuana to treat one of the 21 listed qualifying medical conditions.

Physicians may not have any ownership interest in or compensation agreement with another medical marijuana entity.

Department of Commerce

The Department of Commerce made changes to the original proposed cultivator rules that were issued on November 1, 2016. The major changes included increasing the number of Level II small business licenses from 6 to 12, increasing the maximum cultivation area for Level I licensees from 15,000 square feet to 25,000, and increasing the maximum cultivation area for Level II licensees from 1,600 square feet to 3,000 square feet. Also, beginning on September 9, 2018, upon approval, a Level I cultivator may expand an existing facility to an area not to exceed 50,000 square feet, and a Level II cultivator may expand an existing facility to an area not to exceed 6,000 square feet.

These proposed regulations are nowhere near finalized because final rules are not due until September 8, 2017 for the Board of Pharmacy and State Medical Board, and May 6, 2017 for the Department of Commerce. Also, as was the case with the cultivator regulations, the dispensary and physician regulations are subject to change after public comments.