Medical cannabis laws and regulations are changing in these Western states

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Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

From raging wildfires to record-breaking heat waves and dry spells, outdoor cannabis cultivators across the American West have been forced to deal with numerous setbacks this year.

Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that the market price of cannabis has taken a significant hit in a number of Western US states. Examples include California and Nevada. 

For some other Western U.S. states, medical cannabis laws and regulations are evolving — some that simplify consumer access and others that limit access.

On Monday, November 8, new regulations were effectuated for medical cannabis businesses in Oklahoma. Based on the rules, dispensary owners can now legally package and sell pre-rolled joints weighing up to one gram.

Over in Colorado, harsher medical cannabis purchasing rules will go into effect from January 1. Debate has ensued over the past few months regarding the state’s existing rules that make it fairly easy for young people to access and, in many cases abuse, THC-rich products.

About the updated medical cannabis laws in Oklahoma

Aside from giving Oklahoma medical cannabis businesses the green light to package and sell pre-rolls up to one gram in weight, the updated rules also feature a number of other important elements.

Based on The Norman Transcript, the emergency regulations outlined in House Bill 2646, HB 2904 and Senate Bill 1033 will do the following:

  • Enable the OMMA to employ 76 new people as a means of enhancing compliance;
  • Fortify the partnership maintained between Oklahoma’s Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs and the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMAA);
  • Forbid cannabis testing labs to operate if they possess financial stakes in and/or ownership of a dispensary or cultivation facility;
  • Prohibit dispensaries from publicly displaying medical cannabis samples that weigh “no more than three grams” in display cases; so long as the samples are not for sale.

About the updated medical cannabis laws in Colorado 

The soon-to-be-implemented rule changes for Colorado’s medical cannabis industry which has been active since 2000 were announced by executive director of the state’s Department of Revenue, Mark Ferrandino. The former speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives confirmed the rules on the evening of November 9.

As per the updated medical cannabis rules in Colorado, the state will restrict daily purchases to just two ounces of cannabis flower and eight grams of concentrated cannabis products, including shatter and wax; regardless of a patient’s qualifying conditions or prescription info. 

Younger patients who are aged 18-20 will only be allowed to procure two grams of medical cannabis concentrates. Prior to the rule update, patients of all ages were able to acquire 40 grams of medical cannabis concentrates.

Dispensaries will be required to enforce daily purchase limits. This process will be accomplished by inputting the patient identification (ID) numbers that are printed on medical cannabis cards. Licensed medical cannabis stores in Colorado will also be allowed to turn away potential customers who have exceeded their purchase limit.