MMC and the “grow your own” requirement

Although I have previously discussed this issue, I need to address the concept of a MMC growing its own medicine. Here are the basic rules:

1. The MMC must grow up to 70% of its own MMJ.
2. The MMC can only purchase up to 30% of the MMJ from another, licensed MMC.
3. The MMC cannot buy MMJ from a caregiver or patient. Simply put, there is nothing legal a caregiver or patient can do with “excess” MMJ.
4. The effective date for the MMC to grow its own MMJ is 7/1/10. The 9/1/10 certification date is merely the date you tell the state that you are and have been growing your own MMJ.
5. You cannot contract with a grower to produce MMJ – you must grow your own.

Next, what is 70%? This is one of the more cryptic answers in this area of law. First, you must look to CRS 12-43.3-901, the unlawful acts section. At Sec. (e), it states that it is unlawful (i.e., illegal) for the MMC to possess more than 2 ounces and grow more than 6 plants for each patient that assigns the MMC as their “primary center.” Accordingly, the total amount of MMJ a MMC can possess is 2 ounces multiplied by the number of patients who have designated the MMC as their primary center. Using simple math, a MMC with 50 patients who have assigned the MMC as the primary center can possess no more than 100 ounces of MMJ. A MMC with 100 patients can possess 200 ounces and so on. Accordingly, a MMC with 50 patients must produce 70% of 100 ounces, which is 70 ounces. Again, the MMC can possess up to 100 ounces and no more. The practical result is that, in most cases, the production of the grow far outstrips the legal possession of MMJ by the MMC. Also, since you can only sell 30% of the total inventory to another MMC, in the 50 patient example, you can only sell 30 ounces to another MMC. Understand that the MMC is likely to produce “excess” MMJ, but cannot legally sell it. The key is to acquire more patients who assign the MMC as their primary center until your retail and cultivation capacity are equal. Otherwise, unlawful and illegal activities will have dire consequences.

Medical Marijuana Center and 70/30 rule

HB1284 requires that a Medical Marijuana Center cultivate its own medicine. The concept is that one business, the MMC, will operate both a retail and cultivation operation. Many people believe that a grower can merely contract with a MMC and continue wholesale sales of MMJ to MMCs. This is not the case.

Only the MMC can apply for the optional grow premises license and only MMCs can sell MMJ, including to each other.

The state requires that MMCs established (a lease, payment of local and state sales tax and/or applied for local approval at both locations must certify that the MMC is growing at least 70% of its own medicine by 9/1/10.

The MMC can sell or purchase 30% of the medicine from another MMC (not a grower). The concept is that lag time between harvest and acquisition of unique strains can be facilitated between MMCs.

The question arises as to how the MMC will account for 70% cultivation of its own medicine. Here it is: the MMC can only possess 2 ounces and cultivate 6 plants for each patient that assigns the center as their “primary center.” Be reminded that the MMC can work with any patient (no more “temporary” caregiving) and a patient can go to any MMC. As such, “primary center” means favorite or main center and is not exclusive. This means that the 100% inventory is based on the number of patients who assigned the MMC as their primary center, multiplied by 2 ounces.

Be wary. The state may not be very good at this at first, but it will not be long before it is very experienced with MMJ cultivation. Do not take chances and keep good records in the event of a dispute. You do not want to lose your investment over a few ounces!

There is no 1 year state moratorium

There is a myth going around that there is a one-year, state moratorium on new MMJ businesses. This is incorrect.

It is true that the HB1284 summary contained such a statement, but the summary is from a prior version of the draft regulation and is a summary intended to give voting legislatures a summary of the bill. However, the bill itself, which is the actual regulation, does not contain any state moratorium language.

Accordingly, any state resident can apply to the state once local approval of their proposed MMJ business is obtained. Remember, the MMJ business must be locally approved for both cultivation and retail sale of MMJ. This usually requires approval of two separate locations. Once local approval is obtained, you may apply to the state for the Medical Marijuana Center/Optional Cultivation license(s) or Infused product manufacturers license. Be reminded that you may not engage in cultivation or sale of MMJ until both state and local approval are received.