On December 23, 2018, the Division of Public Well being will transfer oversight of the Massachusetts Healthcare Marijuana System to the Cannabis Handle Commission, the agencies not too long ago announced, providing the CCC oversight of each recreational and healthcare marijuana applications. (The Adult-Use Act mandated that the transition take place by the finish of the year.)
The DPH has run the Healthcare Use of Marijuana System considering that its inception in 2014. To date, there are 47 registered marijuana dispensaries that have been authorized for sales across Massachusetts these RMDs serve additional than 57,000 sufferers and more than 7,000 private caregivers. DPH and CCC officials have assured the public that sufferers in the healthcare system will not see any substantial modifications as a outcome of the transfer.
In a statement issued final week, Public Well being Commissioner Monica Bharel stated:
We want to assure healthcare marijuana sufferers in the Commonwealth that we have worked closely with the CCC and our constituents more than the previous quite a few months to help a smooth transition of the system and to guarantee that patient access is not impacted by this adjust.
Echoing Commissioner Bharel’s assurance, CCC Chairman Steven J. Hoffman publicly noted “the considerable collaboration in between DPH and the CCC.” To effectuate the transition, the 22-individual employees employed by DPH’s Healthcare Marijuana System will grow to be workers of the CCC, which had currently begun taking measures to guarantee that sufferers have sufficient provide of healthcare marijuana, as some RMDs commence promoting to the recreational market place. For instance, companies promoting each healthcare and adult-use items are essential to set aside a percentage of their inventory for healthcare sufferers, and in co-positioned retail shops, healthcare sufferers have separate lines.
Nonetheless, numerous stakeholders in the Healthcare Marijuana System had anticipated to see quite a few modifications created to existing regulations as element of the program’s transfer to the CCC. Advocates and companies alike have named for electronic patient registration, waiver of the annual patient registration charge, and an raise to the patient-per-caregiver limit, amongst other items. 1 group, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, stated that it was “extremely disappointed” that the Commission did not implement what it claims are uncontroversial modifications to the system. Having said that, Commissioner Hoffman has indicated that each budgetary realities and the Dec. 31st transition deadline will most likely preclude modifications from becoming created till early 2019.
A Note on IRC Section 280E
As we have previously discussed, Section 280E prohibits companies engaged in the trafficking of Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substances in contravention of state or federal law from deducting standard enterprise costs from gross revenue. Final week, U.S. Tax Court issued its choice in the years-lengthy Harborside case. Applying IRC 280E, the court ruled that Harborside Well being Center of Oakland need to repay enterprise deductions taken in between 2007 and 2012, considering that cannabis remains a Schedule I drug beneath the CSA. Regardless of altering political winds, Section 280E continues to burden cannabis companies operating in state-legal markets.