Getting a Colorado MED Badge?
First check to get a Colorado marijuana badge is age. If you’re at least 21 and want to legally work for any Colorado business that deals with marijuana products then you need to go through the process of getting badged first, before you can start working. And luckily for you, I just went through the application process, so I can tell you exactly what to expect.
And once you do have your badge, you’re going to be 10 times more appealing to all those dispensaries you’ve been applying to, so go through this process ASAP!
FILL OUT YOUR COLORADO MED BADGET APPLICATION
The first thing you’re going to want to do is fill out THIS APPLICATION, from top to bottom, so that it’s easy to quickly run you through the process, when you arrive at the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) Headquarters. They ask for pretty basic information but, if you have any questions, give the MED office a call (at this number 303-205-8421), and they will gladly help you out. Most people have questions about what needs to be listed on their arrest record, since you’re about to go through an extensive background check, and you don’t want to get caught withholding any information. Trust me; honesty is the best policy here, and having an old arrest on your record isn’t going to keep you from being badged. They just want ensure that everyone who has one of these badges around their neck is someone with good morals, and a liar just isn’t going to cut it.
WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
You’ll also want to make sure that you have a photo ID on you, so that you can prove you are who you say you are, on paper. And, while this may be obvious to many, you have to be a Colorado resident in order to get your badge, so hopefully the ID you’re toting around is a Colorado driver’s license. Why? Because that will not only identify who you are, but it will also serve as your proof of residency. Otherwise you’re going to want to also bring in a pay stub or housing paperwork that lists your name and Colorado address, to prove your residency, since banking statements won’t be accepted.
GIMME THE LOOT
OK, so you have your filled-out application and ID/proof of residency in your pocket, but let’s not forget the application fee of $150! So, head to the ATM or write out a check or money order, because you need EXACT CHANGE to make this work. Sure, you can ask other people in the waiting room for change, but that just slows down the process even more. Now, if you opt to skip the cash route, just be sure to make your check or money order out to Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR).
HEAD TO DENVER (Or Give the Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, or Longmont Office a Call)
Now, you’re going to want to grab your filled-out application, ID, proof of residency and money, and get yourself to the Marijuana Enforcement Division at 455 Sherman Street, Suite 390, Denver, CO 80203. Their hours are 8 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Now, the building does offer a free parking garage for visitors, but you’ll have to move your car every 2 hours and may have a hard time parking in the garage, since it has such tight quarters. But regardless of where you park, you’re going to want to get there around 8 AM and sign in as soon as they’ll let you, because people are served on a first-come, first-served basis, based on that sign in sheet. And luckily for you, the days of the whole “lottery” deal and stamps are long gone, but you have to get here early enough to ensure you are seen, because you have a bit of waiting ahead of you. And it looks like now you can call one of the following offices and set up an appointment at these numbers: (719) 570-5622 for Colorado Springs, (970) 248-7181 for Grand Junction, or (303) 866-2274 for the Longmont office. Things are getting better; you don’t have to drive as far and you’ll be seen quicker!
HAVE A SEAT
And now you wait… Once you’re signed in, all you do is have a seat in one of their waiting rooms (or out in the hallway) and wait for them to call your name. I actually arrived around 8:45 AM on a Monday (seems like one of the busier days) and didn’t have my name called until 11:15 AM, so plan on waiting a while. In fact, plan on this process taking up most of your day, just so you don’t have to leave for some prior engagement before you’re finished. And once you get out of your car, you’re going to want to make a mental note as to when you need to move your car, in order to avoid a pesky ticket. I moved my car twice, to be safe, and there always seems to be at least one spot open on that block, or in the parking garage. In fact, I moved my car once before I actually got to hand in my paperwork, so pay attention to the time.
HAND IN YOUR PAPERWORK
Once your name is called, you’ll head to the front desk and hand them your application, money and identification. They will look over your application and have you fill in any information you left out, let you know if you have everything you need, and then they’ll start copying your information and get it into the system. Like I mentioned above, it’s best to call ahead of time to be sure that you have everything, because I saw quite a few people who had to leave and get other paperwork, before they could be processed.
IS THIS SEAT TAKEN?
But soon after that step is taken care of, you will be instructed to go wash your hands down the hallway, and then have a seat and wait for your name to be called again. And, if you’re heading to the bathroom to wash your hands, the door you want to attempt to open doesn’t have a door knob. Quite a few of us (myself included) attempted to turn the knob of a locked door and then ended up waiting in the hallway for a while, because we thought someone was in there. The bathroom signage is a little confusing so, if you run into this issue, go ahead and push the door without the knob and you’re in! From what I overheard in the office, they are conducting some kind of lower-level background check on all the information you entered on your application, which is why it will be about an hour before they call your name the second time. They just want to ensure that all the information you provided them with on paper is legit, and that you’re eligible to be badged, before they put you through the finals steps.
But don’t show up at the office between noon to one, because all the employees leave for lunch and there’s no one there to process your application. I actually had to wait until after the MED’s lunch break before my name was called the second time, but luckily I met a couple cool people who smoked me up at their apartment, while were waiting for the employees to return. And oddly enough, someone had pizza delivered directly to the waiting room while we were there. Now, that’s a stereotypical stoner move, which was kind of funny, but you’ll be asked to eat it outside the office building if you go this route.
FINGERPRINTS AND A PICTURE
And once everyone comes back from lunch, and your name is called a second time, you’ll be taken into a side room, with one of the happiest employees in the office. At this point, I believe your initial background check came back with good results, and it’s time for you to have a seat in front of a camera. While sitting, you’ll be informed that in two years, when you need to renew your badge, you’ll be mailed an information packet that you need to fill out and mail back, instead of having to go through this process again every two years, which is why you’re asked to tell them when you move. Then the employee will try their best to get you to smile big for your picture, and then hand you your green Marijuana Enforcement Division Licensee lanyard, while your name and picture are being printed onto your badge. And once you approve the spelling of your name on your badge, you’ll move over to the digital fingerprinting machine. All of your fingerprints will be taken in order for them to put you through one last background check, to ensure that you didn’t steal anyone’s identity.
But as soon as your fingerprints are taken, you will be lead into the waiting room in the back, where you will sign your name on a piece of paper and write your address on an envelope, to finalize the process. And if you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice that the envelope you’re filling out already contains your badge and acceptance letter. You just fill out the address for them to avoid it being sent to the wrong place, and then they only mail it to you if you pass the background checks. Now, you won’t get your badge right away, because you still have to pass the fingerprint-based background check, but you should have it mailed to you within a week (it took 5 days for me), as long as there are no issues with your background check. But they will send you home with a payment receipt, which includes your future license number, so it should be easy for them to check the status for you, if it’s taking too long.
THE NIGHTMARE IS OVER
And that’s it… you’re done… head home!
I’m happy to announce that you no longer have to show up at the MED office 4 to 6 times before you’ll make it through the application process. There are no longer any lotteries or stamps given out; they must have streamlined the process for you! And as long as you get there first thing in the morning and your paperwork is filled out correctly, you can be sure that you’ll get through the process in one day. Like I said, I got there at 8:45 AM, I was called to hand in my application by 11:15 AM, and then I finished the whole process by 1:20 PM, and that was on a busy Monday. Just be sure that you DO NOT show up to the MED office after 2:30 PM, because that’s their cutoff point, when they no longer start new applicants through the process. There are probably already quite a few people ahead of you, and the employees need to get all those applicants through the process before 5 PM, so they can go home.
And regardless of what the employees tell you in person or on the phone, they DO still make appointments in Denver, for special cases. I was told that they don’t, but about 7 people came in at once, with an appointment, and were able to skip in front of everyone else. But, if you live pretty far from Denver, I’d just call one of the other offices listed above and skip the waiting in line crap. Otherwise, you’ll just want to set aside half a day for this and get there early.
I hope this helps lessen your fears of getting badged, and perhaps the next Wookwok Wakening will contain stories of my first day on the job, as a legal courier of marijuana products. Until then! 😉
Cannabis and the 2020 Election
Next month, five states will be voting on seven ballot measures to legalize cannabis. A variety of proposals, including constitutional amendments, statutory initiatives, and alternative measures, could establish new medical cannabis markets in two states and expand legalization to include adult use legalization in four states. Three of these proposals would enshrine cannabis possession and consumption within state constitutions.
This article will explore the proposals themselves as well as the short-term implications of legalization on existing license holders and the industry.
Arizona voters have another opportunity to legalize cannabis next month, after narrowly defeating adult use legislation four years ago. In recent years, the Copper State’s medical cannabis market has seen significant MSO expansion, and new mandatory testing requirements launch at the beginning of November.
There are roughly 150 medical cannabis licenses in the state currently — all of which would receive priority status in the application process for adult use licensing. Additionally, diversity applicants and applicants in areas currently lacking cannabis retail access would be fast-tracked applicants.
Prop. 207 does include local control and opt-out provisions, and a new 16% tax would direct revenue to a variety of funds, while retail operators would be able to launch delivery services as soon as 2023.
Mississippi could become the 34th state to legalize cannabis for medical use, but two competing measures are creating complications on the ballot. A citizen-driven campaign led to the placement of Initiative 65, while the legislature responded with Alternative Initiative 65A.
Initiative 65 establishes a medical cannabis program similar to the program structure of many other states; with clearly defined qualifying conditions, possession limits, taxes, registration fees, and a regulator — the state health department. The alternative includes no definitions and only allows smokable cannabis products for terminally ill patients, leaving a highly restrictive market requiring enabling legislation.
Previous bills have been proposed, but never brought to a vote — leaving some skeptical that anything at all may come of Initiative 65A.
Montana’s existing medical cannabis program relies on a system of caregivers who cultivate cannabis and make manufactured products, including edibles and concentrates. Additionally, there is a limited number of licensed dispensaries throughout the state. Legalization would be a major evolution for Montana, which has seen multiple ballot initiatives and legislative interventions in recent years.
Two measures have been placed: one constitutional amendment to set the age of 21 as the minimum buying age and a measure to establish a commercial adult use market. While no early sales provisions are included, Montana companies would be the only businesses able to start sales for the first year after legalization.
New Jersey voters may make history, legalizing the adult use of cannabis and triggering a race among Mid-Atlantic states to implement sales first. While all of New Jersey’s neighbors have existing medical cannabis programs, none have taken steps to expand further. In recent years, numerous regional state legislatures have attempted to legalize, and Public Question 1 may tip the scales for an entire region with over 50 million residents.
The text of the amendment is brief, but it establishes a definition for ‘cannabis’ while permitting possession, use, and industry operations for adults ages 21 and up. The existing Cannabis Regulatory Commission would be tasked with regulating the industry, but the state legislature must first come to an agreement and pass enabling legislation.
Currently, New Jersey’s medical market includes roughly fifteen licenses, including cultivation and manufacturing, as well as a limited number of dispensaries. The next phase for cannabis in NJ is uncharted territory for now: it is unclear if existing licenses will be given the first opportunity to serve the general public.
Given licensing delays and a slow rollout in Illinois, lawsuits and delays could be in New Jersey’s future — with some analysts suggesting a four-year timeline from amendment passage to full implementation. This may be good news for MSOs, including Columbia Care, Verano, and Acreage Holdings, among others.
South Dakota has long been unfriendly to cannabis in all forms and has some of the nation’s strictest marijuana possession penalties. While other non-medical states have at least given a nod to low-THC medical hemp programs, the Mount Rushmore state hadn’t established any kind of hemp or cannabis program at all until the legislature passed industrial hemp legalization this past spring.
Now, the state could make history as the first to legalize cannabis for medical and adult use purposes at the same time. Two proposals are on the ballot: an initiated measure to launch a medical cannabis program, and a constitutional amendment to fully legalize cannabis, with provisions including adult use, a medical program, and expanded hemp legalization.
Medical use is enshrined in both proposals, while the constitutional amendment would prevent the legislature from any type of statutory tampering to limit a retail market. The constitutional amendment would establish a commercial market for both adult use and medical purposes. Medical use would include home cultivation. As there is no cannabis market in the state at this time, no businesses would be able to take advantage of “early sales” provisions, as seen in other states.
Previously, medical cannabis programs and commercial licensing schemes predated adult use legalization, and the majority of these proposals came into existence by way of the ballot. In most of the earliest states to fully legalize, this was the case: Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, and Nevada all had some form of voter-approved medical cannabis legislation first.
Implementation of adult-use legalization has, however, varied across the states. In these proposals, Arizona, Montana, and New Jersey have existing medical cannabis infrastructures, but the implementation of adult use will likely lead to program changes.
Some legalization measures have allowed for existing medical dispensaries to launch sales to adults during a period of late-stage rulemaking. These businesses have operated under modified compliance rules, with track-and-trace requirements and varying tax rates until legalization rules are completed.
After Oregon voters approved legalization in 2014, the state’s medical market rapidly expanded with early sales on the horizon. At one point, there were more medical dispensaries in the state than Starbucks or McDonald’s locations. That number later dropped as businesses converted their licenses over.
For some of the states with legalization on the ballot this year, the transition out of medical will pose challenges: product shortages, long customer lines, new tax rates, uncertainty over product offerings, and testing requirements on top of an already difficult pandemic business environment.
Overall, legalization measures promise to bring a significant impact to consumers and patients in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. It’s hard to quantify the short-term improvements to consumers and industry operators, as passage of these initiatives will set off a flurry of legislative and regulatory discussion over the holidays and into the spring. Existing licensees and hopeful applicants should keep an eye for new opportunities: public comment periods, application deadlines, and new sales opportunities on the horizon.
Jason Kikel is a Senior Data Analyst at Cannabiz Media, where he researches licenses across the cannabis marketplace and the policies behind them. He brings forth a variety of experience in urban planning, agriculture, and education, as well as enthusiasm for an expanding industry. Jason graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia University and recently completed his Master of Community + Regional Planning at The University of New Mexico. A longtime cannabis policy reform advocate, Jason first jumped into the cannabis economy as a graduate student while completing his master’s thesis, studying the legalization-land use-water policy nexus in Colorado. Jason recently delivered a presentation on this research, “Land Use, Water, and Policy Considerations in Emerging Cannabis Markets: Lessons from the Arid Mountain West” at the inaugural Institute for Cannabis Research conference at Colorado State University-Pueblo.
Cuomo advisor predicts New York will legalize pot in April
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s advisor on marijuana policy said this week the Empire State could legalize weed in April of next year with a bill that would serve as a model for other states looking to allow recreational pot in the United States.
Axel Bernabe, assistant counselor to Governor Cuomo, was a guest on the Under The Canopy series, recently launched by Canopy Growth, where he discussed cannabis legalization efforts in New York. According to Bernabe, a bill to legalize marijuana will be introduced through the state budget in January again, while he expects legalization to take effect by April.
As New Jersey appears ready to legalize marijuana this November, Bernabe said the Cuomo administration has been watching its neighbor “closely.”
“We’re watching New Jersey closely. We’ve always been confident that we’d get to this before New Jersey, so if they pass the referendum they still have to have an agreement between the governor and the Senate over there,” he said.
“If New Jersey can beat us to it, they’ll get a gold star but I still think we’re gonna set the model for this,” Bernabe added, referring to the bill’s social equity provisions, among other things.
During the interview, Bernabe also said that New York has been monitoring how legalization has been unfolding in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, but has also consulted with states on the West Coast, where the legal pot industry is larger and more developed.
Regarding hemp, Cuomo’s advisor said the state will release its guidelines and regulations for CBD consumer products early next year as well.
“Those products are already out there, so there’s no sense in pretending they’re not,” Bernabe explained.
For this reason, the governor and his team have been working on guidelines, which will include maximum dose per serving labeling and warnings about potential THC content in various hemp-derived products. New York has copied a lot of Florida’s hemp regulations while crafting its own policies, Bernabe stated, before telling Canopy Growth’s David Culver that the administration is currently putting the finishing touches to the guidelines.
Although Governor Cuomo promised his state would legalize weed soon, marijuana legalization was left out of the New York state budget for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the state particularly badly earlier this year.
Cuomo previously proposed working in conjunction with the neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania on coordinating a recreational marijuana system for the region.
PURA Concludes Farmersville Meetings – Deal Imminent
Dallas, TX – October 20, 2020 – OTC PR WIRE — Puration, Inc. (OTC PINK: PURA) today announced that CEO Brian Shibley concluded a key meeting yesterday essential to finalizing the acquisition of 72-acre property in Farmersville, Texas central to the company’s recently announced Farmersville Brands strategy. “The acquisition is imminent. Look for an announcement very soon,” said Mr. Shibley.
PURA has scheduled the release of a comprehensive update this Friday, October 23, 2020, to provide the latest information on progress with the Farmersville Brand strategy. The Friday update this Friday will include the latest on the company’s planned dividend of PAO Group, Inc. (OTC PINK: PAOG) stock in conjunction with PURA’s sale of its cannabis cultivation business to PAOG.
For more information on Puration, visit http://www.purationinc.com
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. The statements reflect the Company’s current views with respect to future events that involve risks and uncertainties. Among others, these risks include the expectation that any of the companies mentioned herein will achieve significant sales, the failure to meet schedule or performance requirements of the companies’ contracts, the companies’ liquidity position, the companies’ ability to obtain new contracts, the emergence of competitors with greater financial resources and the impact of competitive pricing. In the light of these uncertainties, the forward-looking events referred to in this release might not occur. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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