Medical Marijuana Licensing Panel’s Experience Questioned

According to a recent news article from the New York Times, questions have arisen regarding the level of expertise of a medical marijuana “panel of experts” in charge of vetting dispensary applicants.  The commission was established New York decided to legalize medical marijuana in 2014.  Like other states, the process has moved slowly and is facing several seemingly self-inflicted obstacles standing in the way of patients getting their much-needed medical cannabis.

questionmarkThe panel is supposed to be composed of experts in a variety of related fields. However, their identities remain shrouded in secrecy.  This alleged lack of transparency has only served to fuel criticism of the actions of the medical marijuana panel.  In summer 2015, the panel gave licenses to five companies that will be legally allowed to grow medical marijuana and sell it to patients. This is a very valuable award, as there are more than 20 million residents in the state, and that means there will likely be a lot of business for the companies who are able to serve all of them.

As our Los Angeles medical marijuana attorneys have seen in instances all over the country, there is a lot of money to be made in the medical cannabis industry, and there are a lot of politics in some jurisdictions regarding who gets the very valuable licenses.  One of the reasons this is possible is because of federal prohibitions on the sale or distribution of marijuana.  Unlike produce, for example, which may be grown in one state and then sold all over the country, you cannot cross states lines (including flying over them) with cannabis products.  This means that any medical cannabis sold in California must be made in California.  This is not only an expensive process, but it also causes the value of a few production licenses to skyrocket.  This can lead to political influence in the selection process, which has been alleged throughout the country.

Now that these licenses are in place, the five companies can continue to set up their grow operations.  Because we are dealing with large-scale indoor production, these centers cost millions of dollars to make and equip.  They must also use high-tech solutions to keep the smell emanating from thousands of pounds of marijuana growth from affecting the surrounding areas.  This indoor grow operations are also going to be close to population centers, unlike with traditional farming, to meet patient demand.

One major operation is expected to be located inside New York City in the Borough of Queens.  There will also be a large grow operation and distribution center outside of the city where the Kodak factories used to be.  The area has fallen on somewhat hard economic times, and this is expected to bring some of those jobs back to the area. The old Kodak business factory and industrial park is a huge building larger than 200,000 square feet, and this new operation is expected to require several hundred workers.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:
State’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Panel Found to Have Little Expertise, May 3, 2017, By Jesse McKinley, New York Times

More Blog Entries:
Marijuana Sobriety Tests Still Elusive, Feb. 28, 2017, Marijuana Attorney Blog