The Department of Health had been working for three months on regulations in case the initiative passed and swiftly released draft emergency regulations. MPP and many other advocates and patients submitted comments raising concerns, flagging several regulations that included onerous restrictions inconsistent with SQ 788.
Unfortunately, yesterday the Board of Health met to consider those regulations and approved almost all of the regulations we expressed concern about. They also added new restrictions — such as prohibiting the sale of smokeable cannabis.
• Prohibit cannabis from being sold with more than 12% THC in infused products and prohibit plants from exceeding 20% THC.
• Prohibit dispensaries from selling smokeable, flower cannabis, and edible cannabis.
• Require each dispensary to have a pharmacist on staff.
• Require physicians to register before making recommendations, complete medical cannabis-specific training, and screen patients for substance abuse, mental health issues, and whether the patient presents a risk for diversion.
• Require physicians to perform a pregnancy test on “females of childbearing years” before recommending cannabis.
These restrictions will deprive some patients of the medicine that works best for them, while driving up costs and driving down doctor participation.
Advocates are considering next steps, including possible litigation. Stay tuned for updates. Also, we want to express our hearty congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to pass SQ 788!
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Author: Kate Zawidzki