As the marijuana industry matures, policy changes are still the norm. But what happens when policy and technology intersect? What does it mean for the marijuana industry overall?
As with all things in business and in life, there are good things and bad things that happen when laws and technology collide. In the marijuana industry, the collision has been mostly positive with technological innovations debuting to help marijuana businesses comply with state regulations around marijuana growing, distribution, processing, and sales.
For example, lawmakers in Ohio are actively developing the state’s medical marijuana program. Proposed regulations would limit the amount of marijuana patients can buy and possess to six ounces of plant material or marijuana products that contain the equivalent amount of THC per 90-days.
Why is this interesting? The answer is because it deviates from what all other states that have legalized medical marijuana require in their regulations (you can see state-by-state marijuana possession limits in Cannabiz Media’s Little Green Book). Specifically, Ohio’s proposed laws would limit the amount of marijuana patients can purchase based on THC levels.
Considering this is how most pharmaceutical drugs are prescribed to treat medical conditions (i.e., patients need to get a predetermined dosage of the drug’s active ingredient), Ohio lawmakers aren’t making a big leap to develop the state’s marijuana program in this manner.
Where things get confusing is what and how much patients can actually purchase and possess. According to the proposed regulations, patients would be able to purchase a variety of products as long as they stay below the 90-day supply limits. The maximum amount they can possess of each type of marijuana product makes things even more confusing for patients:
- Plant material with THC levels below 23%: 6 ounces
- Plant material with THC levels above 23% and up to a 35% maximum: 4 ounces
- Vaping oils: 5 grams of THC (220 mg per day)
- Transdermal patches:8 grams of THC (450 mg per day)
- Edibles, oils, and tinctures taken orally: 9 grams (100 mg per day)
If Ohio is developing marijuana purchasing and possession limits based on the amount of THC patients can have in a 90-day period, then it can be assumed that lawmakers believe higher doses can cause more harm than good. In fact, Ohio’s pharmacy board officials reported that the THC limits being proposed were determined by reviewing other state’s policies, available clinical research, and data about adverse effects.
So what do we know so far? We know that Ohio lawmakers believe there is reason to limit the amount of THC medical marijuana patients use each day, so they’ve proposed regulations that would limit purchasing and possession limits. However, these laws don’t limit the amount of marijuana that patients could actually use on a daily basis. That’s where technology comes into the story.
What if there was a device that took the guess work out of how much is too much? It turns out that this equipment already exists in Israel, and now, it’s coming to the United States. Israel-based pharmaceutical company Panaxia Ltd. is partnering with the largest medical marijuana business in New Mexico, Ultra Health, to manufacture products that will provide better dosage delivery systems.
In a joint press release, the companies explain, “Panaxia will be providing smokeless proprietary cannabinoid dosage and treatment protocols not readily available in the U.S. in order to manufactures state-of-the-art products to treat a number of illnesses.” The new smokeless marijuana products will be highly beneficial to patients who need ongoing dosing (e.g., patients with chronic pain, cancer, PTSD, epilepsy, and more).
Ultra Health CEO and president, Duke Rodriguez, explains, “The new smokeless-designed cannabis products are providing better delivery systems for patients and physicians by delivery of a fully potent, targeted dosage specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.” In other words, if more states follow Ohio’s lead and develop purchasing and possession limits based on THC levels and dosages, the market for technological and operational innovations, like the one developed by Panaxia, will grow significantly.
As Cannabiz Media identified in its Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide: 2017 Edition, this is just one more example of the opportunities picks and shovels businesses will have in the growing marijuana market. It’s no longer a matter of if new technology will debut in the marijuana industry but when that new technology will arrive.