Model Medical Marijuana Bill

Click here for a PDF version of the model medical marijuana bill.

Be it enacted by the people of the state of _____:

 

Section 1. Title.

Sections 1 through 25 of this chapter shall be known as the _____ Medical Cannabis Act.

 

Section 2. Findings.

(a) Cannabis’ recorded use as a medicine goes back nearly 5,000 years. Modern medical research has confirmed the beneficial uses for cannabis —which is also called marijuana — in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, and HIV/AIDS, as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in March 1999.

(b) Studies published since the 1999 Institute of Medicine report continue to show the therapeutic value of cannabis in treating a wide array of debilitating medical conditions. These include relief of the neuropathic pain caused by multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, and other illnesses and injuries that often fails to respond to conventional treatments and relief of nausea, vomiting, and other side effects of drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, increasing the chances of patients continuing on life-saving treatment regimens.

(c) Cannabis has many currently accepted medical uses in the United States, having been recommended by thousands of licensed physicians to more than one million patients in states with medical cannabis laws. A wide range of medical and public health organizations, including the American Academy of HIV Medicine, the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Epilepsy Foundation, and many others, have recognized cannabis’ medical utility.

(d) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 cannabis arrests in the U.S. are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill patients who have a medical need to use cannabis.

(e) Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington state, and the District of Columbia have removed state-level criminal penalties from the medical use and cultivation of cannabis. _____ joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.

(f) States are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. Therefore, compliance with this act does not put the state of _____ in violation of federal law.

(g) State law should make a distinction between the medical and non-medical uses of cannabis. Hence, the purpose of this act is to protect patients with debilitating medical conditions, as well as their practitioners and providers, from arrest and prosecution, criminal and other penalties, and property forfeiture, if such patients engage in the medical use of cannabis.

 

Section 3. Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Allowable amount of marijuana” means:

(1) With respect to a qualifying patient, 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana, and if the qualifying patient’s registry identification card states that the qualifying patient is authorized to cultivate marijuana:

(A) 12 marijuana plants contained in an enclosed, locked facility, except the plants are not required to be in an enclosed, locked facility if the plants are being transported because the qualifying patient is moving; and

(B) marijuana that is produced from allowable plants that is on the premises where the plants were grown.

(2) With respect to a designated caregiver, for each patient assisted by the designated caregiver:

(A) 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana; and

(B) if the designated caregiver’s registry identification card provides that the designated caregiver is authorized to cultivate marijuana:

(C) 12 marijuana plants contained in an enclosed, locked facility, except the plants are not required to be in an enclosed, locked facility if the plants are being transported because the designated caregiver is moving; and

(D) marijuana that is produced from allowable plants that is on the premises where the pants were grown.

(b)  “Bona fide practitioner-patient relationship” means:

(1) A practitioner and patient have a treatment or consulting relationship, during the course of which the physician has completed an assessment of the patient's medical history and current medical condition, including an appropriate in-person physical examination;

(2) The practitioner has consulted with the patient with respect to the patient's debilitating medical condition; and

(3) The physician is available to or offers to provide follow-up care and treatment to the patient, including, but not limited to, patient examinations.

(c) "Cardholder" means a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver who has been issued and possesses a valid registry identification card.

(d) “Cultivation center” means an entity registered pursuant to section 14 that cultivates, manufactures, possesses, prepares, packs, stores, delivers, transfers, transports, sells, supplies, or dispenses cannabis, paraphernalia, or related supplies and educational materials to other cultivation centers and dispensaries.

(e) "Debilitating medical condition" means:

(1) cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, or the treatment of these conditions;

(2) a chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment that produces one or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe, debilitating pain; severe nausea; seizures; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited, to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis; or

(3) any other medical condition or its treatment added by the department, as provided for in section 7.

(f) "Department" means the _____ Department of Health or its successor agency.

(g) "Designated caregiver" means a person who:

(1) is at least 21 years of age;

(2) has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of cannabis;

(3) has not been convicted of a disqualifying felony offense; and

(4) assists no more than five qualifying patients with their medical use of cannabis.

(h) “Dispensary” means an entity registered pursuant to section 14 that cultivates, acquires, manufactures, possesses, prepares, packs, stores, delivers, transfers, transports, sells, supplies, or dispenses cannabis, paraphernalia, or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients, registered designated caregivers, and other dispensaries.

(i) "Disqualifying felony offense" means:

(1) a violent crime defined in section ____ that was classified as a felony in the jurisdiction where the person was convicted; or

(2) a violation of a state or federal controlled substances law that was classified as a felony in the jurisdiction where the person was convicted, not including:

(A) an offense for which the sentence, including any term of probation, incarceration, or supervised release, was completed 10 or more years earlier; or

(B) an offense that consisted of conduct for which this chapter would likely have prevented a conviction, but the conduct either occurred prior to the enactment of this chapter or was prosecuted by an authority other than the state of ________ .

(j) "Enclosed, locked facility" means a closet, room, greenhouse, building, or other enclosed area that is equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by the cardholder allowed to cultivate the plants or, in the case of a medical cannabis organization, the employees and agents working for the medical cannabis organization. Two or more registered qualifying patients and/or registered designated caregivers who reside in the same dwelling and have registry identification cards that remove state penalties for cannabis cultivation may share one enclosed, locked facility for cultivation.

(k) "Cannabis" has the meaning given that term in _____.

(l) "Medical use" includes the acquisition, administration, cultivation, manufacture, delivery, harvest, possession, preparation, transfer, transportation, or use of cannabis or paraphernalia relating to the administration of cannabis to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the patient's debilitating medical condition. It does not include cultivation by a visiting qualifying patient or cultivation by a registered designated caregiver or registered qualifying patient who is not designated as being allowed to cultivate.

(m) “Medical cannabis organization” means a cultivation center, dispensary, or testing facility.

(n) "Practitioner" means a person who is licensed with authority to prescribe drugs to humans under section _____ except as otherwise provided in this subsection. If the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition is post-traumatic stress disorder, the practitioner must be a licensed psychiatrist. In relation to a visiting qualifying patient, “practitioner” means a person who is licensed with authority to prescribe drugs to humans in the state of the patient’s residence.

(o) "Qualifying patient" means a person who has been diagnosed by a practitioner as having a debilitating medical condition.

(p) "Registry identification card" means a document issued by the department that identifies a person as a registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver.

(q) "Testing facility" means an entity registered under section 14 by the department to test cannabis produced for medical use, including for potency and contaminants.

(r) "Usable cannabis" means the flowers or leaves of the cannabis plant, the resin extracted from any part of the plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof. It does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant. It does not include the weight of any non-cannabis ingredients combined with cannabis to prepare topical or oral administrations, food, drink, or other product.

(s) "Visiting qualifying patient" means a person who:

(1)  has been diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition;

(2) possesses a valid registry identification card, or its equivalent, that was issued pursuant to the laws of another state, district, territory, commonwealth, insular possession of the United States, or country recognized by the United States that allows the person to use cannabis for medical purposes in the jurisdiction of issuance; and

(3) is not a resident of ____ or who has been a resident of _____ for less than 30 days.

(t) "Written certification" means a document dated and signed by a practitioner, stating that in the practitioner's professional opinion the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of cannabis to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition. A written certification shall affirm that it is made in the course of a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship and shall specify the qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition.

 

Section 4. Protections for the Medical Use of Cannabis.

(a) A registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver who possesses a valid registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denial of any right or privilege, including any civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau for:

(1) The registered qualifying patient’s medical use of cannabis pursuant to this chapter, if the registered qualifying patient does not possess more than the allowable amount of cannabis;

(2) The registered designated caregiver assisting a registered qualifying patient to whom he is connected through the commissioner’s registration process with the registered qualifying patient’s medical use of cannabis pursuant to this chapter, if the registered designated caregiver does not possess more than the allowable amount of cannabis;

(3) Reimbursement by a registered qualifying patient to the patient’s registered designated caregiver for direct costs incurred by the registered designated caregiver for assisting with the registered qualifying patient’s medical use of cannabis;

(4) Transferring cannabis to a testing facility for testing;

(5) Compensating a dispensary or a testing facility for goods or services provided;

(6) Selling, transferring, or delivering cannabis seeds produced by the cardholder to a cultivation center or dispensary; or

(7) Offering or providing cannabis to a registered qualifying patient, to a registered designated caregiver for a registered qualifying patient’s medical use, to a visiting qualifying patient, or to a dispensary if nothing of value is transferred in return and the person giving the cannabis does not knowingly cause the recipient to possess more than the allowable amount of cannabis.

(b) A person who demonstrates that he or she is a visiting qualifying patient shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or entity, for the medical use of cannabis pursuant to this chapter if the visiting qualifying patient does not possess more than 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis.

(c) There is a presumption that a qualifying patient or designated caregiver is engaged in the medical use of cannabis pursuant to this chapter if the qualifying patient or designated caregiver:

(1) is in possession of a registry identification card; and

(2) is in possession of an amount of cannabis that does not exceed the allowable amount of cannabis.

(3) The presumption may be rebutted by evidence that conduct related to cannabis was not for the purpose of treating or alleviating a qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition pursuant to this chapter.

(d) A practitioner shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including, but not limited to, civil penalty or disciplinary action by the ______ Medical Board or by any other occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, solely for providing written certifications or for otherwise stating that, in the practitioner's professional opinion, a patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of cannabis to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the serious or debilitating medical condition, provided that nothing in this chapter shall prevent a practitioner from being sanctioned for:

(1) issuing a written certification to a patient with whom the practitioner does not have a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship; or

(2) failing to properly evaluate a patient's medical condition.

(e) An attorney may not be subject to disciplinary action by the state bar association or other professional licensing association for providing legal assistance to prospective or registered medical cannabis organizations or others related to activity that is no longer subject to criminal penalties under state law pursuant to this chapter.

(f) No person may be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including any civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for:

(1) Providing or selling cannabis paraphernalia to a cardholder or to a medical cannabis organization upon presentation of a valid registry identification card or registration certificate;

(2) Being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of cannabis authorized under this chapter; or

(3) Assisting a registered qualifying patient with the act of using or administering cannabis.

(g) A dispensary or a dispensary agent is not subject to prosecution, search, or inspection, except by the commissioner pursuant to section 16, seizure, or penalty in any manner, and may not be denied any right or privilege, including civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or business licensing board or entity, for acting pursuant to this chapter and rules authorized by this chapter to:

(1) Possess, plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, produce, process, manufacture, compound, convert, prepare, pack, repack, or store cannabis;

(2) Deliver, transfer, or transport cannabis, cannabis paraphernalia, or related supplies and educational materials to or from other medical cannabis organizations;

(3) Compensate a testing facility for services or goods provided;

(4) Accept cannabis offered by a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver if nothing of value is transferred in return;

(5) Purchase or otherwise acquire cannabis from cultivation centers or dispensaries; or

(6) Dispense, supply, or sell cannabis or related supplies and educational materials to registered qualifying patients, to registered designated caregivers on behalf of registered qualifying patients, or to other medical cannabis dispensaries.

(h) A cultivation center or a cultivation center agent is not subject to prosecution, search, or inspection, except by the commissioner pursuant to section 16, seizure, or penalty in any manner, and may not be denied any right or privilege, including civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or business licensing board or entity, for acting pursuant to this chapter and rules authorized by this chapter to:

(1) Possess, plant, propagate, cultivate, grow, harvest, produce, process, manufacture, compound, convert, prepare, pack, repack, or store cannabis;

(2) Deliver, transfer, or transport cannabis, cannabis paraphernalia, or related supplies and educational materials to or from other medical cannabis organizations;

(3) Compensate a testing facility for services or goods provided;

(4) Accept cannabis offered by a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver if nothing of value is transferred in return;

(5) Purchase or otherwise acquire cannabis from another cultivation center; or

(6) Dispense, supply, or sell cannabis or related supplies and educational materials to other cultivation centers or dispensaries.

(i) A testing facility or testing facility agent is not subject to prosecution, search, or inspection, except by the commissioner pursuant to section 16, seizure, or penalty in any manner, and may not be denied any right or privilege, including civil penalty or disciplinary action by a court or business licensing board or entity, for acting pursuant to this chapter and rules authorized by this chapter to provide the following services:

(1) Acquiring, possessing, or transporting cannabis obtained from registry identification cardholders or medical cannabis organizations;

(2) Returning the cannabis to the registry identification cardholder or medical cannabis organization from whom it was obtained;

(3) Producing or selling educational materials related to medical cannabis;

(4) Producing, possessing, selling, or transporting cannabis paraphernalia and equipment or materials other than cannabis to medical cannabis organizations or to cardholders, including lab equipment and packaging materials;

(5) Testing cannabis, including for potency, pesticides, mold, or contaminants; or

(6) Receiving compensation for services or goods other than cannabis provided under this chapter.

(j) Any cannabis, cannabis paraphernalia, or other interest in or right to property that is possessed, owned, or used in connection with the medical use of cannabis as allowed under this chapter, or acts incidental to such use, shall not be seized or forfeited. This chapter shall not prevent the seizure or forfeiture of cannabis exceeding the amounts allowed under this chapter, nor shall it prevent seizure or forfeiture if the basis for the action is unrelated to the cannabis that is possessed, manufactured, transferred, or used pursuant to this chapter.

(k) Possession of, or application for, a registry identification card does not constitute probable cause or reasonable suspicion, nor shall it be used to support a search of the person or property of the person possessing or applying for the registry identification card, or otherwise subject the person or property of the person to inspection by any governmental agency.

(l) For the purposes of ______ state law, the medical use of cannabis by a cardholder or medical cannabis organization shall be considered lawful as long as it is in accordance with this chapter.

(m) No law enforcement officer employed by an agency which receives state or local government funds shall expend any state or local resources, including the officer’s time, to effect any arrest or seizure of cannabis, or conduct any investigation, on the sole basis of activity the officer believes to constitute a violation of the federal Controlled Substances Act if the officer has reason to believe that such activity is in compliance with state medical cannabis laws, nor shall any such officer expend any state or local resources, including the officer’s time, to provide any information or logistical support related to such activity to any federal law enforcement authority or prosecuting entity.

(n) It is the public policy of the state of _____ that contracts related to medical cannabis should be enforceable and no contract entered into by a cardholder, a medical cannabis organization, or a medical cannabis organization’s agents as permitted pursuant to a valid registration issued by the department, or by those who allow property to be used by a cardholder, a medical cannabis organization, or a medical cannabis organization’s agents as permitted pursuant to a valid registration issued by the department, shall be unenforceable on the basis that activities related to cannabis are prohibited by federal law.

 

Section 5. Limitations.                                                       

(a) This chapter does not authorize any person to engage in, and does not prevent the imposition of any civil, criminal, or other penalties for engaging in, the following conduct:

(1) Undertaking any task under the influence of cannabis, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice.

(2) Possessing cannabis, or otherwise engaging in the medical use of cannabis:

(A) in a school bus;

(B) on the grounds of any preschool or primary or secondary school; or

(C) in any correctional facility.

(3) Smoking cannabis:

(A) on any form of public transportation; or

(B) in any public place.

(4) Operating, navigating, or being in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, train, or motorboat while under the influence of cannabis, except that a registered qualifying patient or visiting qualifying patient shall not be considered to be under the influence of cannabis solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of cannabis that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.

 

Section 6. Discrimination Prohibited.

(a) No school or landlord may refuse to enroll or lease to and may not otherwise penalize a person solely for the person's status as a cardholder, unless failing to do so would violate federal law or regulations or cause the school or landlord to lose a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.

(b) For the purposes of medical care, including organ and tissue transplants, a registered qualifying patient's use of cannabis according to this chapter is considered the equivalent of the authorized use of any other medication used at the discretion of a physician and does not constitute the use of an illicit substance or otherwise disqualify a qualifying patient from needed medical care.

(c) A person shall not be denied custody of or visitation rights or parenting time with a minor solely for the person's status as a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver, and there shall be no presumption of neglect or child endangerment for conduct allowed under this chapter, unless the person's behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the safety of the minor as established by clear and convincing evidence.

(d) Except as provided in this chapter, a registered qualifying patient who uses cannabis for medical purposes shall be afforded all the same rights under state and local law, including those guaranteed under  ______ [the state’s disability rights law], as the individual would be afforded if he or she were solely prescribed pharmaceutical medications, as it pertains to:

(1) any interaction with a person's employer;

(2) drug testing by a person's employer; or

(3) drug testing required by any state or local law, agency, or government official.

(e) (1) The rights provided by this section do not apply to the extent that they conflict with an employer’s obligations under federal law or regulations or to the extent that they would disqualify an employer from a monetary or licensing-related benefit under federal law or regulations.

(2) No employer is required to allow the ingestion of cannabis in any workplace or to allow any employee to work while under the influence of cannabis. A registered qualifying patient shall not be considered to be under the influence of cannabis solely because of the presence of metabolites or components of cannabis that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment.

(f) No school, landlord, or employer may be penalized or denied any benefit under state law for enrolling, leasing to, or employing a cardholder.

 

Section 7. Addition of Debilitating Medical Conditions.

Any resident of  _________[the state] may petition the department to add conditions or treatments to the list of debilitating medical conditions listed in section 3(d). The department shall consider petitions in the manner required by department regulation, including public notice and hearing. The department shall approve or deny a petition within 180 days of its submission. The approval or denial of any petition is a final decision of the department, subject to judicial review. Jurisdiction and venue are vested in the _____ Court.

 

Section 8. Acts Not Required, Acts Not Prohibited.

(a) Nothing in this chapter requires:

(1) a government medical assistance program or private insurer to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of cannabis; or

(2) any person or establishment in lawful possession of property to allow a guest, client, customer, or other visitor to smoke cannabis on or in that property.

(b) Nothing in this chapter prohibits an employer from disciplining an employee for ingesting cannabis in the workplace or for working while under the influence of cannabis.

 

Section 9. Issuance and Denial of Registry Identification Cards.

(a) The department shall issue registry identification cards to qualifying patients who submit the following, in accordance with the department's regulations:

(1) a written certification issued by a practitioner within 90 days immediately preceding the date of an application;

(2) the application or renewal fee;

(3) the name, address, and date of birth of the qualifying patient, except that if the applicant is homeless, no address is required;

(4) the name, address, and telephone number of the qualifying patient's practitioner;

(5) the name, address, and date of birth of the designated caregiver, if any, chosen by the qualifying patient;

(6) the name of no more than two dispensaries that the qualifying patient designates, if any;  and

(7) if the qualifying patient designates a designated caregiver, a designation as to whether the qualifying patient or designated caregiver will be allowed under state law to possess and cultivate cannabis plants for the qualifying patient's medical use.

(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), the department shall:

(1) verify the information contained in an application or renewal submitted pursuant to this chapter and approve or deny an application or renewal within 15 days of receiving a completed application or renewal application;

(2) issue registry identification cards to a qualifying patient and his or her designated caregiver, if any, within five days of approving the application or renewal. A designated caregiver must have a registry identification card for each of his qualifying patients; and

(3) enter the registry identification number of the dispensary or dispensaries the patient designates into the verification system.

(c) The department may conduct a background check of the prospective designated caregiver in order to carry out this provision.

(d) The department shall not issue a registry identification card to a qualifying patient who is younger than 18 years of age unless:

(1) the qualifying patient's practitioner has explained the potential risks and benefits of the medical use of cannabis to the custodial parent or legal guardian with responsibility for health care decisions for the qualifying patient; and

(2) the custodial parent or legal guardian with responsibility for health care decisions for the qualifying patient consents in writing to:

(A) allow the qualifying patient's medical use of cannabis;

(B) serve as the qualifying patient's designated caregiver; and

(C) control the acquisition of the cannabis, the dosage, and the frequency of the medical use of cannabis by the qualifying patient.

(e) The department may deny an application or renewal of a qualifying patient’s registry identification card only if the applicant:

(1) did not provide the required information, fee, or materials;

(2) previously had a registry identification card revoked; or

(3) provided false information.

(f) The department may deny an application or renewal for a designated caregiver chosen by a qualifying patient whose registry identification card was granted only if:

(1) the designated caregiver does not meet the requirements of section 3(g);

(2) the applicant did not provide the information required;

(3) the designated caregiver previously had a registry identification card revoked; or

(4) the applicant or the designated caregiver provided false information.

(g) The commissioner shall give written notice to the qualifying patient of the reason for denying a registry identification card to the qualifying patient or to the qualifying patient’s designated caregiver.

(h) Denial of an application or renewal is considered a final department action, subject to judicial review. Jurisdiction and venue for judicial review are vested in the _____ Court.

 

Section 10. Contents of Registry Identification Cards.

(a) Registry identification cards must contain all of the following:

(1) The name of the cardholder;

(2) A designation of whether the cardholder is a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver;

(3) The date of issuance and expiration date of the registry identification card;

(4) A random 10-digit alphanumeric identification number, containing at least four numbers and at least four letters, that is unique to the cardholder;

(5) If the cardholder is a designated caregiver, the random identification number of the qualifying patient the designated caregiver will assist;

(6) A clear indication of whether the cardholder has been designated to cultivate cannabis plants for the qualifying patient’s medical use;

(7) A photograph of the cardholder, if the department’s regulations require one; and

(8) The phone number or web address where the card can be verified.

(b) (1) Except as provided in this subsection, the expiration date shall be one year after the date of issuance.

(2) If the practitioner stated in the written certification that the qualifying patient would benefit from cannabis until a specified earlier date, then the registry identification card shall expire on that date.

 

Section 11. Verification System.

(a) The department shall maintain a confidential list of the persons to whom the department has issued registry identification cards and their addresses, phone numbers, and registry identification numbers. This confidential list shall not be combined or linked in any manner with any other list or database, nor shall it be used for any purpose not provided for in this chapter.

(b) Within 120 days of the effective date of this chapter, the commissioner shall establish a secure phone or web-based verification system. The verification system must allow law enforcement personnel and registered medical cannabis organizations to enter a registry identification number and determine whether or not the number corresponds with a current, valid registry identification card. The system may disclose only whether the identification card is valid, the name of the cardholder, whether the cardholder is a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver, whether the cardholder is permitted to cultivate cannabis plants, and the registry identification number of any affiliated registered qualifying patient.

 

Section 12. Notifications to Department and Responses; Civil Penalty.

(a) The following notifications and department responses are required:

(1) A registered qualifying patient shall notify the department of any change in his or her name or address, or if the registered qualifying patient ceases to have his or her debilitating medical condition, within 10 days of the change.

(2) A registered designated caregiver shall notify the department of any change in his or her name or address, or if the designated caregiver becomes aware the qualifying patient passed away, within 10 days of the change.

(3) Before a registered qualifying patient changes his or her designated caregiver, the qualifying patient must notify the department.

(4) When a registered qualifying patient changes his or her preference as to who may cultivate cannabis for the qualifying patient, the qualifying patient must notify the department.

(5) If a cardholder loses his or her registry identification card, he or she shall notify the department within 10 days of becoming aware the card has been lost.

(6) Before a registered qualifying patient changes his or her designated dispensary or dispensaries, the qualifying patient must notify the department.

(b) When a cardholder notifies the department of items listed in subsection (a), but remains eligible under this chapter, the department shall issue the cardholder a new registry identification card with a new random 10-digit alphanumeric identification number within 10 days of receiving the updated information and a $20 fee. If the person notifying the department is a registered qualifying patient, the department shall also issue his or her registered designated caregiver, if any, a new registry identification card within 10 days of receiving the updated information.

(c) If the registered qualifying patient's certifying practitioner notifies the department in writing that either the registered qualifying patient has ceased to suffer from a debilitating medical condition or that the practitioner no longer believes the patient would receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of cannabis, the card shall become null and void. However, the registered qualifying patient shall have 15 days to dispose of or give away his or her cannabis.

(d) A medical cannabis organization shall notify the commissioner within one business day of any theft or significant loss of cannabis.

 

Section 13. Affirmative Defense and Dismissal for Medical Cannabis.

(a) Except as provided in section 5 and this section, a person may assert the medical purpose for using cannabis as a defense to any prosecution involving cannabis, and such defense shall be presumed valid where the evidence shows that:

(1) A practitioner has stated that, in the practitioner's professional opinion, after having completed a full assessment of the person's medical history and current medical condition made in the course of a bona fide practitioner-patient relationship, the patient has a debilitating medical condition and the potential benefits of using cannabis for medical purposes would likely outweigh the health risks for the person;

(2) the person was in possession of no more than 2.5 ounces of usable cannabis, 12 cannabis plants, and the marijuana produced by those 12 plants;

(3) the person was engaged in the acquisition, possession, use, manufacture, cultivation, or transportation of cannabis, paraphernalia, or both, relating to the administration of cannabis to treat or alleviate the individual's debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the individual's debilitating medical condition; and

(4) any cultivation of cannabis and storage of more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis occurred in an enclosed, locked area that only the person asserting the defense could access.

(b) The defense and motion to dismiss shall not prevail if the prosecution proves that:

(1) the person had a registry identification card revoked for misconduct; or

(2) the purposes for the possession or cultivation of cannabis were not solely for palliative or therapeutic use by the individual with a serious or debilitating medical condition who raised the defense. 

(c) An individual is not required to possess a registry identification card to raise the affirmative defense set forth in this section.

(d) If an individual demonstrates the individual's medical purpose for using cannabis pursuant to this section, except as provided in section 5, the individual shall not be subject to the following for the individual's use of cannabis for medical purposes:

(1) disciplinary action by an occupational or professional licensing board or bureau; or

(2) forfeiture of any interest in or right to any property other than cannabis.

 

Section 14. Registration of Medical Cannabis Organizations.

(a) Not later than 90 days after receiving an application for a medical cannabis organization, the commissioner shall register the prospective medical cannabis organization and issue a registration certificate and a random 10-digit alphanumeric identification number if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(1) The prospective medical cannabis organization has submitted all of the following: 

(A) The application fee.

(B) An application, including:

            (i) The legal name of the prospective medical cannabis organization;

            (ii) The physical address of the prospective medical cannabis organization that is not within 1,000 feet of a public or private school existing before the date of the medical cannabis  organization application;

            (iii) The name and date of birth of each principal officer and board member of the proposed medical cannabis organization; and

            (iv) Any additional information requested by the commissioner.

(C) Operating procedures consistent with rules for oversight of the proposed medical cannabis organization, including procedures to ensure accurate record keeping and adequate security measures.

(D) If the city or county where the proposed medical cannabis organization would be located has enacted zoning restrictions, a sworn statement certifying that the proposed medical cannabis organization is in compliance with the restrictions.

(2) None of the principal officers or board members has served as a principal officer or board member for a medical cannabis organization that has had its registration certificate revoked.

(3) None of the principal officers or board members is under 21 years of age.

(4) At least one principal officer is a resident of [state].

(5) Except as provided in subsection (c), if the proposed medical cannabis organization is a dispensary applicant, it is located in a county with more than 20,000 permanent residents, and:

(A) The county does not already contain one dispensary if it has a population of 200,000 or fewer.

(B) The county does not already contain two medical cannabis dispensaries if the county has a population of at least 200,000 and fewer than 500,000.

(C) The county does not already contain three medical cannabis dispensaries if the county has a population of at least 500,000.

(6) If the proposed medical cannabis organization is a cultivation center applicant, the applicant must not cause the number of cultivation centers to exceed the number set by the department pursuant to subsection (b).

(b) The department may limit the total number of cultivation center registrations to be issued in the state, provided that the number is no fewer than 20. If the number of cultivation center registrations that are issued is not sufficient to maintain an adequate supply to patients throughout the state, the department shall issue additional registrations.

(c) The commissioner may register additional medical cannabis dispensaries at its discretion.

(d) When competing applications are submitted for a proposed dispensary within a single county, the commissioner shall use an impartial and numerically scored merit-based selection process to determine which application or applications among those competing will be approved in the county. The commissioner may conduct a background check of the principal officers and board members of the prospective dispensary to carry out this provision.

(e) When competing applications are submitted for a proposed cultivation center, the commissioner shall use an impartial and numerically scored competitive bidding process to determine which application or applications among those competing will be approved. The commissioner may conduct a background check of the principal officers and board members of the prospective center to carry out this provision.

(f) The commissioner shall issue a renewal registration certificate within 10 days of receipt of the prescribed renewal application and renewal fee from a medical cannabis organization if its registration certificate is not under suspension and has not been revoked.

 

Section 15. Local Ordinances.

Local governments may enact reasonable zoning rules that limit the use of land for medical cannabis organizations to specified areas and that regulate the time, place, and manner of medical cannabis organization operations, provided that no local government may prohibit medical cannabis organizations, either expressly or through the enactment of ordinances or regulations which make their operation impracticable in the jurisdiction.

 

Section 16. Requirements, Prohibitions, Penalties.

(a) Medical cannabis organizations shall conduct a background check into the criminal history of every person seeking to become a principal officer, board member, agent, volunteer, or employee before the person begins working at the medical cannabis organization.

(b) A medical cannabis organization may not employ any person who:

(1) was convicted of a disqualifying felony offense; or

(2) is under 21 years of age.

(c) The operating documents of a medical cannabis organization must include procedures for the oversight of the medical cannabis organization and procedures to ensure accurate recordkeeping.

(d) A medical cannabis organization shall implement appropriate security measures designed to deter and prevent the theft of cannabis and unauthorized entrance into areas containing cannabis.

(e) All cultivation, harvesting, manufacture, and packaging of cannabis must take place in an enclosed, locked facility at a physical address provided to the commissioner during the registration process. The enclosed, locked facility may only be accessed by agents of the medical cannabis organization, emergency personnel, and adults who are 21 years and older and who are accompanied by medical cannabis organization agents.

(f) A dispensary may acquire usable cannabis or cannabis plants from a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver only if the registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver receives no compensation for the cannabis.

(g) A medical cannabis organization shall not share office space with or refer patients to a practitioner.

(h) A medical cannabis organization may not permit any person to consume cannabis on the property of a medical cannabis organization.

(i) Medical cannabis organizations are subject to reasonable inspection by the commissioner. The commissioner shall give reasonable notice of an inspection.

(j) Before cannabis may be dispensed to a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver, a dispensary agent must:

(1) make a diligent effort to verify that the registry identification card presented to the dispensary is valid;

(2) make a diligent effort to verify that the person presenting the card is the person identified on the registry identification card presented to the dispensary agent;

(3) not believe that the amount dispensed would cause the cardholder to possess more than the allowable amount of cannabis; and

(4) make a diligent effort to verify that the dispensary is the current dispensary that was designated by the qualifying patient.

(k) A dispensary may not dispense more than 2.5 ounces of cannabis to a registered qualifying patient, directly or via a designated caregiver, in any 14-day period. Dispensaries shall ensure compliance with this limitation by maintaining internal, confidential records that include records specifying how much cannabis is being dispensed to the registered qualifying patient and whether it was dispensed directly to the registered qualifying patient or to the designated caregiver.

 

Section 17. Department to Issue Regulations.

(a) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this chapter, the department shall promulgate regulations:

(1) governing the manner in which the department shall consider petitions from the public to add debilitating medical conditions or treatments to the list of debilitating medical conditions set forth in section 3(e) of this chapter, including public notice of and an opportunity to comment in public hearings on the petitions;

(2) establishing the form and content of registration and renewal applications submitted under this chapter;

(3) establishing a system to numerically score competing medical cannabis organization applicants that must include analysis of:

(A) In the case of dispensaries, the suitability of the proposed location and   its accessibility for patients;

(B) The character, veracity, background, and relevant experience of principal officers and board members; and

(C) The business plan proposed by the applicant, which in the case of cultivation centers and dispensaries shall include the ability to maintain an adequate supply of cannabis, plans to ensure safety and security of patrons and the community, procedures to be used to prevent diversion, and any plan for making cannabis available to low-income registered qualifying patients.

(4) governing the manner in which it shall consider applications for and renewals of registry identification cards, which may include creating a standardized written certification form;

(5) governing medical cannabis organizations to prevent diversion and theft without imposing an undue burden or compromising the confidentiality of cardholders, including:

(A) oversight requirements;

(B) recordkeeping requirements;

(C) security requirements, including requirements for protection of each location by a fully operational security alarm system;

(D) safety requirements;

(E) restrictions on the advertising, signs, and display of medical cannabis; and

(F) requirements and procedures for the safe and accurate packaging and labeling of medical cannabis;

(6) establishing procedures for suspending or terminating the registration certificates or registry identification cards of cardholders and medical cannabis organizations that commit multiple or serious violations of the provisions of this chapter or the regulations promulgated pursuant to this section;

(7) establishing labeling requirements for cannabis and cannabis products sold by dispensaries.

(8) establishing application and renewal fees for registry identification cards and registration certificates, according to the following:

(i) the total fees collected must generate revenues sufficient to offset all expenses of implementing and administering this chapter, except that fee revenue may be offset or supplemented by private donations;

(ii) the department may establish a sliding scale of patient application and renewal fees based upon a qualifying patient's household income; and

(iii) the department may accept donations from private sources to reduce application and renewal fees.

 

Section 18. Violations.

(a) A registered qualifying patient, designated caregiver, or medical cannabis organization who willfully fails to provide a notice required by section 12 is guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of no more than $150.

(b) In addition to any other penalty applicable in law, a medical cannabis organization or an agent of a medical cannabis organization who intentionally sells or otherwise transfers cannabis in exchange for anything of value to a person other than a qualifying patient, a designated caregiver, a visiting qualifying patient, or to a medical cannabis organization or its agent is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years or by payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. A person convicted under this subdivision may not continue to be affiliated with the medical cannabis organization and is disqualified from further participation under this chapter.

(c) In addition to any other penalty applicable in law, a qualifying patient or designated caregiver who intentionally sells or otherwise transfers cannabis in exchange for anything of value to a person other than a qualifying patient, a designated caregiver, a visiting qualifying patient, or to a medical cannabis organization or its agent is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than two years or by payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

(d) A person who intentionally makes a false statement to a law enforcement official about any fact or circumstance relating to the medical use of cannabis to avoid arrest or prosecution is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days or by payment of a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties that may apply for making a false statement or for the possession, cultivation, or sale of cannabis not protected by this chapter. If a person convicted of violating this section is a qualifying patient or a designated caregiver, the person is disqualified from further participation under this chapter.

(e) A person who knowingly submits false records or documentation required by the commissioner to certify a medical cannabis organization under this chapter is guilty of a felony and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than two years or by payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both.

(f) A practitioner who knowingly refers patients to a medical cannabis organization or to a designated caregiver, who advertises in a medical cannabis organization, or who issues written certifications while holding a financial interest in a medical cannabis organization shall be fined up to $1,000.

(g) It is a misdemeanor for any person, including the commissioner or another state agency or local government, to breach the confidentiality of information obtained pursuant to this chapter. 

(h) A medical cannabis organization shall be fined up to $1,000 for any violation of this chapter, or the regulations issued pursuant to them where no penalty has been specified. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties applicable in law.

 

Section 19. Suspension and Revocation.

(a) The commissioner may on its own motion or on complaint, after investigation and opportunity for a public hearing at which the medical cannabis organization has been afforded an opportunity to be heard, suspend or revoke a registration certificate for multiple negligent or knowing violations or for a serious and knowing violation by the registrant or any of its agents of this chapter or any rules promulgated pursuant to section 17.

(b) The commissioner shall provide notice of suspension, revocation, fine, or other sanction, as well as the required notice of the hearing, by mailing the same in writing to the registered organization at the address on the registration certificate. A suspension shall not be for a longer period than six months.

(c) A dispensary or cultivation center may continue to cultivate and possess cannabis plants during a suspension, but it may not dispense, transfer, or sell cannabis.

(d) The commissioner shall immediately revoke the registry identification card of any cardholder who sells cannabis to a person who is not allowed to possess cannabis for medical purposes under this chapter, and the cardholder is disqualified from further participation under this chapter.

(e) The department may revoke the registry identification card of any registered qualifying patient or registered designated caregiver who knowingly commits multiple unintentional violations or a serious knowing violation of this chapter.

(f) Revocation is a final decision of the commissioner subject to judicial review.

 

Section 20. Confidentiality.

(a) Data in registration applications and supporting data submitted by qualifying patients, designated caregivers, and medical cannabis organizations, including data on designated caregivers and practitioners, are private data on individuals that is confidential and exempt from the ____ Freedom of Information Act.

(b) Data kept or maintained by the commissioner may not be used for any purpose not provided for in this chapter and may not be combined or linked in any manner with any other list or database.

(c) Data kept or maintained by the commissioner may be disclosed as necessary for:

(1) the verification of registration certificates and registry identification cards pursuant to section 11;

(2) submission of the annual report required by section 19;

(3) notification of state or local law enforcement of apparent criminal violations of this chapter;

(4) notification of state and local law enforcement about falsified or fraudulent information submitted for purposes of obtaining or renewing a registry identification card;

(5) notification of the _______ Medical Board if there is reason to believe that a practitioner provided a written certification, if the commissioner has reason to believe the practitioner otherwise violated the standard of care for evaluating medical conditions.

(d) Any information kept or maintained by medical cannabis organizations must identify cardholders by their registry identification numbers and must not contain names or other personally identifying information.

(e) At the cardholder’s request, the commissioner may confirm the cardholder’s status as a registered qualifying patient or a registered designated caregiver to a third party, such as a landlord, school, medical professional, or court.

(f) Any department hard drives or other data-recording media that are no longer in use and that contain cardholder information must be destroyed.

(g) It shall be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for any person, including an employee or official of the department or another state agency or local government, to breach the confidentiality of information obtained pursuant to this chapter.

 

Section 21. Business expenses deductions.

Notwithstanding any federal tax law to the contrary, in computing net income for medical cannabis organizations, there shall be allowed as a deduction from state taxes all the ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred during the taxable year in carrying on a trade or business as a medical marijuana organization, including reasonable allowance for salaries or other compensation for personal services actually rendered.

 

Section 22. Advisory Committee.

(a) The legislature shall appoint a nine-member oversight committee comprised of: one member of the House of Representatives; one representative of the department; one member of the Senate; one physician with experience in medical cannabis issues; one nurse; one board member or principal officer of a cannabis testing facility; one individual with experience in policy development or implementation in the field of medical cannabis; and three registered patients.

(b) The oversight committee shall meet at least two times per year for the purpose of evaluating and making recommendations to the legislature and the department regarding:

(1) The ability of qualifying patients in all areas of the state to obtain timely access to high-quality medical cannabis;

(2) The effectiveness of the dispensaries and cultivation centers, individually and together, in serving the needs of qualifying patients, including the provision of educational and support services by dispensaries, the reasonableness of their prices, whether they are generating any complaints or security problems, and the sufficiency of the number operating to serve the state’s registered qualifying patients;

(3) The effectiveness of the registered cannabis testing facilities, including whether a sufficient number are operating;

(4) The sufficiency of the regulatory and security safeguards contained in this chapter and adopted by the department to ensure that access to and use of cannabis cultivated is provided only to cardholders;

(5) Any recommended additions or revisions to the department regulations or this chapter, including relating to security, safe handling, labeling, and nomenclature; and

(6) Any research studies regarding health effects of medical cannabis for patients.

 

Section 23. Annual Report.

(a) The commissioner shall report annually to the legislature on the findings and recommendations of the advisory committee, the number of applications for registry identification cards received, the number of qualifying patients and designated caregivers approved, the nature of the debilitating medical conditions of the qualifying patients, the number of registry identification cards revoked, the number of practitioners providing written certifications for qualifying patients, and the expenses incurred and revenues generated from the medical cannabis program.

(b) The commissioner must not include identifying information on qualifying patients, designated caregivers, or practitioners in the report.

 

Section 24. Severability.

Any section of this chapter being held invalid as to any person or circumstance shall not affect the application of any other section of this chapter that can be given full effect without the invalid section or application.

 

Section 25. Date of Effect.

This chapter shall take effect upon its approval.

 

[In addition, drafters should consider whether to reschedule cannabis under state law to the lowest schedule. They should also consider whether changes should be made to the provisions of state law with penalties for cannabis offenses.]

[In addition, drafters should consider whether to reschedule cannabis under state law to the lowest schedule. They should also consider whether changes should be made to the provisions of state law with penalties for cannabis offenses.]

 

 

 

 



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