medical cannabis

  • Hille Farms posted an article
    Compromise backed by MoCannTrade protects consumers and children, safeguards industry. see more

    Compromise backed by MoCannTrade protects consumers and children, safeguards industry

    JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ A new state law took effect Friday August 28th ensures that edible, marijuana-infused products sold to Missouri medical cannabis patients won’t be in the shape of animals, fruit or cartoon characters, which could appeal to minors.

    While the measure prohibits the sale of marijuana edibles in those shapes, it specifically allows edibles in geometric shapes, including circles, squares and rectangles. Additionally, edibles packaged in Missouri must be stamped with a diamond containing the letters ‘THC’ (signifying the drug’s primary psychoactive ingredient), the  letter ‘M’ to indicate it’s a medicinal product, and the number of milligrams of THC contained in the product. The mark must be prominently placed on the front of the package. 

    Some state lawmakers initially sought a more extensive ban on edible forms of marijuana — an excessive restriction that would have prevented patient access by those for whom this is a safer, more desirable consumption method than smoking. The compromise language was among a series of legislative revisions successfully sought by MoCannTrade (Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association) and endorsed by legislators.

    “More and more doctors are recommending that patients using medical marijuana consider trying edibles or other smokeless forms of the medicine, which is why we fought so hard against legislation that would have largely banned this choice,” said Andrew Mullins, MoCannTrade executive director. “This new law taking effect is an important compromise that provides patient access to medical marijuana edibles, gives the cannabis industry certainty of what products they can offer, while helping keep this medicine out of the hands of minors. Our membership-based trade association is thankful for the work of lawmakers to ensure that the necessary safeguards are in place to protect public safety while also fulfilling the will of the nearly two-thirds of Missouri voters who endorsed this state constitutional amendment.”

     The proposed ban on edibles is one of several unsuccessful recent attempts by Missouri lawmakers to restrict the nascent industry as more than 60,000 patients await the start of retail sales this fall.

    Those efforts, each of which were successfully opposed by MoCannTrade, include a measure that would have prevented state-certified physicians from certifying marijuana patients using telemedicine services. Instead, lawmakers added a clause to the state’s telehealth statute that specifically authorizes physician certifications of medical cannabis, enabling doctors to virtually interview patients, collect or review medical history and perform examinations. 

    Another ill-advised legislative proposal would have allowed employers to fire medical marijuana patients solely for having state certification, or for failing a drug test – even if the patient wasn’t impaired at work. 

    The new state law that takes effect Friday also prohibits any state agency or employee from disclosing the names of Missouri medical marijuana patients to the federal government or any unauthorized third party

  • Staff Member posted an article
    If you prefer a dowloadable version of this document, please click below. see more

    CASHLESS ATMS BECOMING AN ATTRACTIVE ALTERNATIVE TO CASH FOR MEDICAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES: 

    By Jim Regna - CEO Triad Bank

    They say cash is king. But when it comes to Missouri’s soon-to-open marijuana businesses, cash can also be a giant headache. The federal laws that push many marijuana-related businesses into cash transactions have never been ideal. But now, with the emergence of COVID-19, there is renewed urgency from both customers and businesses to look for alternatives to cash payments.

    One alternative found in other states (including neighboring Illinois) is the use of cashless ATMs, which allow customers to purchase medical marijuana at dispensaries using a debit card, with the purchases rounded up to the nearest $5 or $10 denomination. For example, if a dispensary purchase totaled $87, the customer’s debit card would be charged $90, with the customer receiving $3 in change. This system, while not as ideal as simply accepting credit cards, is far better than customers having to pay cash, a practice that is now not only a public health danger but which remains a security risk for businesses that must face the added concerns that accompany keeping large amounts of cash on hand. “Taking the cash out of cannabis is both safer and more profitable. Offering cashless ATM boosts average transaction sizes by 25% among our cannabis business customers,” said Brian Bauer, chief strategy officer at Abaca, a company that offers safe, compliant financial services to the cannabis industry. Abaca operates in seven states and has helped marijuana licensees bank over $100 million in cannabis deposits.

    Financial institutions are subject to various federal Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering requirements, and the use of cashless ATMs provide some unique challenges. Before working with dispensaries that provide cashless ATM solutions to their customers, financial institutions should work with marijuana-related customers and vendors to determine how the financial institution can adhere to these requirements. Key in this determination is open communication between the bank, its dispensary customer and the cashless ATM vendor. Banks need to understand and vet the cashless ATM provider’s services and technology. Some cashless solutions have run into problems in other states and have been forced to shut down, primarily because they run afoul of the Visa, MasterCard, and other card processors’ terms of service. It is important for a dispensary to partner with a vendor offering a solution that does not touch the card processors’ systems.

    Before doing business with a dispensary utilizing a cashless ATM, the bank needs to perform a due diligence review of the cashless ATM provider, and dispensaries should be prepared to help facilitate the bank’s review. For example, ATM provider Activate Payments, which successfully processes over $2 billion annually for 15,000 merchants and has been in business since 2007, is beginning to partner with dispensaries in Missouri. Despite this vendor’s long track record, a financial institution still has to roll up its sleeves and take a good long look under the hood. “We are excited to share our deep expertise in merchant processing by partnering with dispensaries and we have proactively worked with financial institutions in Missouri to provide transparency in how transactions are processed and promote our compliant cashless ATM solution,” said Scott Kabel, Activate Payments President. “Our solution is the industry standard and the adoption of the cashless ATM has accelerated with the recent COVID related operational changes in dispensary transactions.” Even when a vendor like Activate Payments passes this upfront customer due diligence, it doesn’t mean a financial institution’s work is done. The financial institution will need to do ongoing customer due diligence checks, and most importantly monitor transactions for suspicious activity, just as it would for cash transactions.

    Dispensaries utilizing cashless ATMs will need to provide accurate records of transactions to their banking partners and be able to reconcile cashless ATM transactions with seed-to-sale records. To avoid potential money laundering issues, the bank and its marijuana related business customer should agree on a “cash back” limitation when sales are made using the cashless ATM solution. The limitation should be large enough to allow dispensary customers to receive change in cash for their purchase, but not large enough to encourage significant cash back transactions like customers may be used to when using a debit card in a traditional retail setting. Limiting the amount of cash back will make recordkeeping practices much easier for both dispensaries and their banks.

    Will we ever take cash completely out of the cannabis business? Probably not, and that’s OK. But there are solutions such as cashless ATMs that provide cannabis businesses and customers a safe, compliant alternative. But for these to work, cannabis businesses must work closely with their bank, vendors and regulators to establish, implement and review these compliance measures to combat these unique challenges faced by the industry.

     

    Jim Regna is CEO and Founder of Triad Bank, headquartered in St. Louis, as well as a MoCannTrade board member.

  • Andrew Mullins posted an article
    Missouri Department of Revenue has confirmed MO MMJ facilities may qualify for exemptions see more

    A question or potential concern was communicated by a MoCannTrade member and licensee about whether or not medical marijuana facilities could qualify for the manufacturer’s sales and use tax exemptions. To ensure clarity on behalf of that member and the industry as a whole, MoCannTrade met with Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) leadership. MoCannTrade wanted to get clarification on this important tax benefit, because for some facilities this opportunity could realize a one-time or even annualized savings of five to six figures+. 

    Listed below is DOR's response, along with supporting documentation and forms to help facilitate this process for MMJ cultivation or manufacturing facilities in MO. Via DOR Senior Counsel Thom Houdek“There is no prohibition to a marijuana facility to qualify as a manufacturer due to their specific industry or category of product produced. Medical cannabis manufacturing facilities will have to follow the same procedures as any other business claiming a manufacturing exemption and it will be determined on a case by case basis, as it would be for any other business.”

    For our members' purposes, we have highlighted the FAQ directly from the DOR website on this specific matter, along with some important links to the relevant state laws and rules to provide additional guidance and clarity on the process and requirements to qualify. Keep in mind, it is the facility or taxpayer's responsibility to ensure qualification for these benefits and exemptions with DOR making the final determinations.

     

    Does Missouri offer a sales tax exemption for manufacturers?

    Yes. Replacement machinery, equipment, and parts, and the materials and supplies solely required for the installation or construction of such replacement machinery, equipment, and parts, used directly in manufacturing, mining, fabricating or producing a product which is intended to be sold ultimately for final use or consumption are exempt.

    Materials and supplies are also exempt when they are required solely for the operation, installation or construction of the machinery and equipment purchased and used to establish a new, or to replace or expand existing, material recovery processing plants in the state of Missouri.

    Parts, and the materials and supplies are also exempt when they are solely required for the installation or construction of such machinery and equipment purchased and used to establish new or to expand existing manufacturing, mining or fabricating plants in the state of Missouri, if such machinery and equipment is used directly in manufacturing, mining or fabricating a product which is intended to be sold ultimately for final use or consumption.

    Section 144.054 RSMo, exempts purchases of machinery, equipment, materials and chemicals used or consumed in manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing any product or used in research and development related to manufacturing, processing, compounding, mining, or producing any product from state tax and local use tax, but not local sales tax.

    For additional MO exemptions info, please refer to Section 144.030 RSMo which also highlights exemptions for Electrical energy used in the actual primary manufacture, processing, compounding, mining or producing of a product, or electrical energy used in the actual secondary processing or fabricating of the product, or a material recovery processing plant as defined in subdivision (4) of this subsection, in facilities owned or leased by the taxpayer. Keeping in mind, it is the facility or taxpayers responsibility to ensure it qualifies for these benefits. 

     

    Additional rules and FAQ reference on manufacturer’s sales and use tax exemptions: 

     

    Missouri DOR also provided a direct contact number for their General Counsel's office should any facility or reseller have questions about the process or program elgibility: 573-751-0961