Heads Up: Two More Rules Packages on the Way!
Plus: Leafly is Sponsoring our Happy Hour, a review of The Hemp Witch pre-rolls and New Jobs Galore!
Welcome to Montana Cannabis Weekly— a newsletter about the people and plants that power the Montana cannabis industry. You can read all about it here, and earn yourself some Instant Karma by subscribing below!
Ahoy, Team Montana Cannabis. The first day of legal sales is now only two months away, and the developments are coming in hot!
Here’s the big news: the Department of Revenue just finalized two more rules packages on top of the package of fifteen rules we saw earlier this month. Buckle up, there’s gonna be a lot to dig through!
In this week’s newsletter, the Dept. of Revenue’s Kristan Barbour and Courtney Cosgrove drop by to give us a taste of what’s in the new rules, and debrief on providers’ remaining concerns after the Zoom forum they hosted last week. Plus, we review the superb Go the Funk to Sleep CBD + herbal pre-roll from The Hemp Witch, and we’ve got a ton of new job postings!
We’re throwing a happy hour party! November 4th. 5-8PM at Draught Works in Missoula. Beverages provided by our sponsors, Leafly and Montana Cannabis Wholesale!
Get there early to snag a Leafly t-shirt!
DOR Gives us a Taste of What’s in the New Rules, and Debriefs on Last Week’s Forum
Earlier this week, DOR filed two additional rules packages with the Secretary of State’s office. Final versions will be available in the next week or so.
As of this writing, details are scarce, but yesterday I caught up with Kristan Barbour, Administrator for the department’s Cannabis Control Division (CCD), and Courtney Cosgrove, the CCD’s Attorney, to get some insights into those new rules. Afterwards, they dug into a handful of takeaways from Zoom forum they hosted for industry folks last week about the first rules package, including complications around hoop houses, license fees, testing regulations and more.
This conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Thanks for taking the time to chat! What can you tell readers about what’s in these new rules packages?
Courtney Cosgrove: I think what will be of readers’ greatest interest is the department’s enforcement mechanisms: suspensions, revocations, other disciplinary actions; there are a handful of rules around that. The rest are miscellaneous.
The other package is a clean up and repeal of existing rules from DPHHS.
Kristan Barbour: There’s nothing super controversial in that rules package, but there will be a lot of rules.
Were there any surprises for you during the listening session?
KB: We’re still trying to get our arms around the parts of HB701 that deal with changes in hoop houses, greenhouses and outdoor grows.
We were getting questions and reading the statute and thinking that you could interpret it a couple of different ways.
CC: HB 701 says that if you had outdoor cultivation before November 2020, you can continue [but that no new outdoor cultivation will be permitted]. One proposed rule limits that outdoor cultivation to your existing tier size. We’re encouraging public comments [around that rule].
With respect to hoop houses, it gets nuanced. There were questions focused on what happens if you have outdoor cultivation and a hoop house; in October 2023 when a hoop house is no longer defined as indoor cultivation, it becomes outdoor cultivation. Does that mean you have to phase it out? If you only have a hoop house, where does that leave you? That’s why were taking a closer look at it now.
I heard participants express concerns about the license fees listed in the recent rule package. How did you arrive at those specific fees?
KB: Most of the major fees were already identified in HB701.
We tried to do extensive research in terms of what other states are offering. In Illinois, it’s like three to four times more expensive.
Certain folks currently paying $100,000 in fees for five stores will only pay $5,000 per license; a drastic reduction.
I think the one that caught people is the [$10,000] transporter license. We wanted to clarify it lasts for two years.
It felt like it was in line with other fees that exist.
If you hear from lots of folks about these fees during the public comment period, could they change?
KB: Obviously the ones from HB701 are set in stone, but the department is open to feedback. If people mention something that’s not on our radar, we’re certainly open to listening and making any changes.
People are making assumptions, and we’re doing the same, that the market is going to change [in rec]. People are going to be making a lot more money because of adult-use, and that has to translate into the program paying for itself. Our hands are somewhat tied, in that we have to remain solvent. That’s part of the gig.
Lastly, what did you think about the gentleman from New Jersey who was arguing that our testing standards are too lax?
I’d honestly guess [that he] has some product or protocol [that he would] like to engage with the state of Montana on. It felt like there was a bit of a sales pitch in there.
I think DPHHS has done a great job of creating standards for labs. We worked very closely with Kathy Palmer over there. She feels really confident that Montana is doing robust testing.
Need to ‘Go The Funk to Sleep?’ These CBD Pre-Rolls are a Dream Come True
The other night, I felt like total crap: stressed, anxious and emotionally exhausted. Personally, when I feel down, THC-dominant cannabis rarely serves as a remedy; it can often make things worse.
But CBD is something else entirely, and the aptly-named “Go the Funk to Sleep” pre-roll from The Hemp Witch saved the day. A mix of the CBD-dominant strain Sour Suver Haze (less than 0.3% THC) and herbs like Passionflower, Marshmallow Leaf (!) and locally cultivated lavender, it was nothing short of a balm for the body and soul alike. And yes, it put me right the funk to sleep.
Tons of New Jobs!
Wow, this is the biggest week of job postings we’ve seen yet! Have at ‘em!
Collective Elevation is seeking full-time trimmers to work Monday-Friday 9-5 in Bozeman. Compensation is $16-20 / hr DOE. Send resumes to email@example.com.
Lionheart Cannabis is seeking full-time and part-time employees in sales and distribution in Bozeman and Billings. $300 hiring bonus after 30 days of employment. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Broadwater Market, a new dispensary opening next month in Helena, is seeking a combined Manager / Budtender / Kitchen Manager. Pay is DOE. Send resumes to email@example.com.
406 Farmacy in Whitefish is seeking a trimmer. Pay is DOE. Drop off resumes in person.
406 Farmacy in Whitefish is seeking Cultivation Technicians (FT/PT). Pay is $13-15 / hr DOE. Drop off resumes in person.
406 Farmacy in Whitefish is seeking Budtenders (PT/FT). $14-16 / hr DOE. Drop off resumes in person.
Silverleaf Bozeman is hiring Trimmers, Packagers, Growers and Budtenders. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s a wrap for today, folks. Thanks again for reading, and please feel free to share the newsletter with your fellow connoisseurs and job seekers!
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