A couple of years ago the General Assembly passed a law that would allow licenses for six growers of medical cannabis. The bill was not without controversy for a host of reasons, but also because a lot of people believed that the number of growers allowed were simply too few.
Once the commission the law created was up and running it started the work of selecting applicants to give the licenses to. The process involved submitting a detailed response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) that proved to be expensive to create and extraordinarily time consuming. We are told that some companies spent upwards of $7 million in an effort to get one of these precious licenses.
Once the licenses were awarded, those who lost out began suing because they alleged the process was flawed, unfair, and subjective. So efforts were made to bring legislation this year to expand the number of licenses. Only no one could agree on how many should be allowed.
Enter House Bill 1425, which essentially resets the clock on the original law and tells the commission to cancel the RFP and start over, essentially leaving the current license holders without anything at all.
Here are the talking points of the bill:
- Directs the Commission to immediately cancel the RFP
- Directs the Commission to immediately take steps to procure or obtain, no later than August 1, 2022, low THC oil in amounts necessary to meet the needs of all the patients in the registry
- Directs the Commission to immediately take steps to provide for dispensing low THC oil to patients, no later than August 15, 2022
- Directs the Commission to issue a new RFP after the above items are complete, but no later than December 31, 2022
- Requires monthly updates to the Medical Cannabis Commission Oversight Committee of the above items through 2023
- Requires new RFP to be: (1) managed by DOAS, and (2) evaluated by an independent third party
- Provides that RFP is subject to state purchasing laws and open records laws (which still provides for trade secrets to be
- Provides for additional Class 1 and 2 licenses every time the registry increases by 50,000 patients
- Provides for transparency throughout
- Revises dates for minority study
- Provides increased immunity for commission and designated universities for transport, etc.
- Adds ulcerative colitis to eligible conditions (HB 117)
- Reduces distance from 3,000 feet to 2,000 feet for a licensee from a school, church, synagogue, etc
It is interesting to note that this bill is directing the commission to violate federal law by obtaining the oil from other states. This has severe implications, including putting the licenses of the producers of the outlets from those in jeopardy. We will continue to monitor the progress of this bill as it continues its journey through the Legislsture.