30 Jun Blazing Fertile Green Trails with CBE
Ah, I’m finally free to do what I have always enjoyed most — hitting the road again to meet with the owners and operators of Producers, Processors, and Retailers to visit their sites ,learn more about the local regs and issues that they face as business owners, and to share their best practices.
Thanks to our new web partner, Blaine Glynn, @hgmediamarketing.com, CBE launched Version 3 of www.cannabisbusinessexecutive.com with a new, more contemporary theme, look, and feel, as well as an easier navigation system to help you find all you need to know about the industry.
We also have just recently published the 26th issue of our weekly newsletter, CBE Week. By my count, we are delivering as much or more original content than any other publisher in the B-to-B cannabis media space with our roster of top notch contributors and yours truly!
Enjoy our new column, Blazing Fertile Green Trails with CBE, which chronicles my travels to regulated cannabis states and operators, as well as to trade shows and conferences, to promote and share best practices and information about industry leaders. And as usual, let me know what we can provide to help you maximize your own cannabis investment!
So, here are some of the details on my recent travels:
Trip # 1 — Southern Maine to central New Jersey, June 14-18, 2015
Day 1 (June 15) of my 1,500 mile trek from my Washington, D.C.-area base of operations found me in one of my favorite towns, Portland, Maine, and I had the privilege of visiting with Patricia Rosi, CEO and Becky DeKeuster Director of Community Education, of Wellness Connection of Maine. We got together for a cup of coffee and a tour of their Portland HQ medical marijuana dispensary. The facility is located near downtown Portland and is discreetly located in the back of a classic brick-faced storefront that houses a restaurant in the front.
I also was fortunate enough to visit the operations of Canuvo, a Biddeford-area dispensary south of Portland. Glen Peterson and his family operations hosted me for a tour of their unique grow and processing facility which is comprised of six long haul trailers, all custom fitted with climate control and lighting systems to grow their product mix.
Glen also took me to see the 110,000 sf warehouse facility that Canuvo is in the process of leasing (and possibly purchasing) to consolidate their entire grow and processing operation under one roof in Bridgeville, To me, relatively cheap real estate definitely makes a difference to the bottom-line in this not for profit model state and provides an excellent opportunity for expansion if Maine adds and passes a recreational use ballot initiative in the future.
My day ended with a visit to their Biddeford retail outlet which is run by Glenn’s full-time partner and wife, Sage Peterson. It was great to see the structure and the private kiosk-like offices they stock daily for individual client consultations.
Maine Medical Marijuana Regulation Summary
On Nov. 2, 1999, voters approved removing state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess an oral or written “professional opinion” from their physician. The law took effect on Dec. 22, 1999.
Amended: Signed into law on April 9, 2010, Maine authorized the creation of up to eight (8) non-profit medical cannabis dispensaries – one for each of the state’s public health districts. Under the measure, dispensaries may legally “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, sell, supply or dispense marijuana or related supplies and educational materials” to state-authorized medical marijuana patients. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services will oversee the licensing of these facilities.
PPR’s: Maine has issued eight (8) vertically integrated licenses to serve patients.
Caregivers are allowed to provide marijuana to registered patients.
Home cultivation: Patients (or their primary caregivers) may possess no more than six (6) mature marijuana plants.
Reciprocity: Maine authorizes visiting qualifying patients with a valid registry identification card (or its equivalent), to engage in conduct authorized for the registered patient (the medical use of marijuana) for 30 days after entering the State, and without having to obtain a Maine registry identification card.
Day 2 (June 16): I left Maine Monday evening in a driving rainstorm, and after a three-hour drive through Massachusetts (Salem would be the first location to open for medical marijuana patients the following week), arrived in Providence, Rhode Island in an attempt to visit the largest operation in the state, Thomas Slater Center, run by CEO Gerry McGraw, a fellow NCIA member.
I had tried to arrange an appointment and tour with McGraw for two weeks, and after leaving numerous messages, wasn’t able to get in. After one last call to their location before hitting the road, I finally got a call back from Chris Reilly saying they wouldn’t be available for a tour and meet and greet.
I had reserved a room at the Days Inn off the highway since I was determined to stop by and see the facility from the outside the following morning. And, I wanted a good Italian meal in Providence!
Below is a link to their site and a promotional video…
… and I promise that I will continue my pursuit of their management team to share their best practices and story.
Rhode Island Medical Marijuana Regulation Summary
On Jan. 3, 2006, Rhode Island passed The Edward O. Hawkins and Thomas C. Slater Medical Marijuana Act and it took effect immediately upon passage. The Act removed all state-level criminal penalties for the possession, use and cultivation of marijuana by qualified medical marijuana Patients who possess “written certification” from their physicians stating “In the practitioner’s professional opinion, the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the qualifying patient.”
Amended: In 2009, Rhode Island lawmakers enacted additional legislation authorizing the establishment of state-licensed, not-for-profit “compassion centers” which may “acquire, possess, cultivate, manufacture, deliver, transfer, transport, supply or dispense marijuana, or related supplies and educational materials, to registered qualifying patients and their registered primary caregivers.” The Rhode Island Department of Health oversees licensing and regulating of these compassion center facilities.
PPR’s: Rhode Island has issued three (3) vertically integrated licenses to serve patients.
Caregivers are allowed to provide marijuana to registered patients.
Home Cultivation: Yes, up to 12 plants and 12 seedlings. Must be stored in an indoor facility.
Reciprocity: RI authorizes visiting qualifying patients with a valid registry identification card (or its equivalent), to engage in conduct authorized for the registered patient (the medical use of marijuana)
Day 2 (June 16) afternoon
I’m on the road again and off to see Curaleaf and meet their Founder and COO April Arrasate for a tour and a get to know one another session. Connecticut has an interesting set-up; six (6) dispensaries were licensed and can only sell medical marijuana and processed goods and must be run by pharmacists. There are only four (4) producers licensed to grow and process medical marijuana products in the state, Curaleaf holds one of the licenses, and has a 30,000 sf, highly secured facility in Simsbury, CT. I wasn’t able to photograph the outside of the building and was only allowed limited access to photos inside because of ,security restrictions but I do have a couple of photos to share.
The state of the art facility reminded me of two things. One, the secure perimeter, complete with 10-12 feet chain metal fences with security cameras covering the perimeter, reminded me of a minimum security prison. Second, the offices appeared like any other modern office building, but once the tour began, the interior had that clean room environment feel that I had experienced in the 1990’s while visiting one of Intel’s microprocessor manufacturing facilities. After we chatted for a bit with April’s infant son napping in her office, I was escorted to the men’s locker room to dress in sterile garb. My bald head came in handy — at least I didn’t have to wear a hair cover.
April walked me through their processing operation and lab where they extract cannabis oil on site , and then through their kitchen where her sister was busy making a batch of cookies while trimmers manually cleaned and bottled flowers next door for resell. I also got a look at their clone room, their drying operation, and witnessed the cleaning of one of their grow rooms.
As the tour came to a close, one of April’s employee’s made sure I didn’t leave empty handed; he gave me a couple of Curealeaf tee-shirts to take home for me and my wife. After agreeing to share the Curealeaf story at a later date, I hit the road again and headed south through New York City to my New Jersey base of operations at a good friend’s home in Fairhaven to prepare to visit the Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, NJ the following morning.
Connecticut Medical Marijuana Regulation Summary
Signed into law in 2012, the Connecticut legislature approved PA 12-55—HB 5389
AN ACT CONCERNING THE PALLIATIVE USE OF MARIJUANA
SUMMARY: This act allows a licensed physician to certify an adult patient’s use of marijuana after determining that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and could potentially benefit from the palliative use of marijuana, among other requirements. The act lists certain conditions that qualify as debilitating (e. g. , cancer, AIDS or HIV, and Parkinson’s disease) and also allows the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) commissioner to approve additional conditions.
Among other requirements, patients seeking to use marijuana for palliative purposes must have a written certification by a physician and register with DCP. The act allows qualifying patients and their primary caregivers to possess a combined one-month marijuana supply.
The act sets conditions on who can be primary caregivers and requires them to register with DCP. The act authorizes DCP to impose a $25 registration fee on patients and caregivers and requires the commissioner to establish additional fees for patients to offset the costs of administering the palliative use of marijuana.
The act also creates licensing requirements for pharmacists (termed “dispensaries”) to supply the marijuana and for producers to grow it. DCP must limit the number of dispensaries and producers (the number of producers must be at least three but no more than 10), set dispensary and producer fees, and set financial requirements for producers that may include maintaining a $2 million escrow account.
PPR’s: Connecticut has issued six (6) Dispensary licenses to serve patients and four (4) licenses to Producers and Processors.
Caregivers: A qualifying patient shall have not more than one primary caregiver at any time.
Home Cultivation: No
Day 3 (June 17): Woodbridge, New Jersey
I hopped into the car curious to see the largest operation in the state of New Jersey, which happens to be located a hop, skip and a jump away from Edison, NJ, where I lived until I was a teenager, and again when I took my first New York-based job with Gannett back in the mid 1980’s. Located on US Route 1, a mile or so north of the Woodbridge Center Mall, my plan was to photograph the dispensary and knock on the door to introduce myself. To my suprise, their head of security waved me into the facility and arranged for me to meet with Craig Silver, Director of Operations.
Craig was in the middle of a busy day but shared some interesting news. Under my radar previously, the Garden State Dispensary is owned by father/son team Michael and David Weisser. The Weisser’s also own a chain of eight (8) Rocky Mountain High Colorado dispensaries and grows and have submitted an application to win one of the 5 New York licenses (with 4 locations). They have also aggressively pursued licenses in Illinois, Massachusetts and Florida where Michael is based.
CBE is anxious to learn more about the national play the Weissers seem to be making and is actively pursuing the opportunity to tell their story.
Stay tuned and happy trails!
New Jersey Medical Marijuana Regulations Summary
PPR’s: No more than 6 vertically integrated operations.
Caregivers: A primary caregiver is a person who has agreed to assist with a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana. A primary caregiver cannot be the patient’s physician. Primary caregivers must be a resident of New Jersey. The primary caregiver can never have been convicted of a felony drug offense. The caregiver must be 18 years of age or older. The caregiver may only have one qualifying patient at any one time.
Home Cultivation: No
Source of summaries: NORML