Cannabis Training for Law Enforcement and Green Lab

With legalization, law enforcement officers will contact more drivers who have used a cannabis product.  By using live, legal cannabis consumers, this course trains officers to better understand and recognize cannabis impairment.

Cannabis Training for Law Enforcement and Green Lab is set for 8:15 am December 13 in St. Peters, Missouri.

Enrollment is now open!

This course is $325 per student and is limited to 20 students.

Missouri officers receive 2 technical, and 4 skill development POST hours.
 
 
WHAT TO EXPECT

Attendees will be in seat for the first two hours of this training reviewing the following topics:

Toxicology, chemical tests, and issues with legislating a number for THC in blood.
Marijuana Impairment Indicators (302 Study)
A brief review of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)

During lunch, students will be released to tour local legal medical marijuana facilities.

This is a unique opportunity for students to engage cannabis facility personnel and ask questions.  

While students tour these facilities, instructors will be monitoring the legal consumption of cannabis by Missouri Medical Marijuana Qualified Patient Volunteers.  Methods of consumption and product type will be documented and reviewed with the students at the completion of the course.
(All Department of Health and Senior Services Rules and Regulations are strictly adhered to)  

During lunch, students will be released to tour local legal medical marijuana facilities.

This is a unique opportunity for students to engage cannabis facility personnel and ask questions.  

While students tour these facilities, instructors will be monitoring the legal consumption of cannabis by Missouri Medical Marijuana Qualified Patient Volunteers.  Methods of consumption and product type will be documented and reviewed with the students at the completion of the course.

(All Department of Health and Senior Services Rules and Regulations are strictly adhered to)  

Once the consumers are transported to the classroom, students will be broken into groups.  Each volunteer will be assigned an instructor.  Students are able to interact with the volunteer consumers and will administer sobriety tests.  Each time a student administers tests, the results will be recorded and reviewed at the end of the course.

All observations during these tests are documented, kept on record, and used in future training.  (Hence the importance of administering tests correctly).  After the first session (1 hour), the volunteers will be transported back to the consumption location for a second dose.  Students will discuss the first lab session with instructors.

Students will again administer tests on the volunteers, after the second consumption.  All tests and results will once again be documented and reviewed at the end of the course.

Once the second lab is complete, there is a review of how much cannabis each volunteer consumed, how they consumed it, observations of the officers, and if the volunteer was believed to be impaired.  

This is a unique opportunity for Law Enforcement and Cannabis Industry Personnel to interact.  We encourage positive discussions from both.

Missouri Law Enforcement Officers will receive 6 POST hours, 2 technical, and 4 skill development, on completion of this training.

 
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Crash Rates Jump in Wake of Marijuana Legalization

Story by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

More evidence is emerging that crash rates go up when states legalize recreational use and retail sales of marijuana.

Crash rates spiked with the legalization of recreational marijuana use and retail sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and another by the affiliated Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) show.

However, the preliminary results of a separate IIHS study of injured drivers who visited emergency rooms in California, Colorado and Oregon showed that drivers who used marijuana alone were no more likely to be involved in crashes than drivers who hadn’t used the drug. That is consistent with a 2015 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that found that a positive test for marijuana was not associated with increased risk of being involved in a police-reported crash.

“Our latest research makes it clear that legalizing marijuana for recreational use does increase overall crash rates,” says IIHS-HLDI President David Harkey. “That’s obviously something policymakers and safety professionals will need to address as more states move to liberalize their laws — even if the way marijuana affects crash risk for individual drivers remains uncertain.”

More than a third of U.S. states have legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. The hefty tax revenues those states are earning have others exploring similar legislation, and recent polls indicate that 68 percent of American adults favor legalization. Consumption also appears to be expanding rapidly, with self-reports of past-month marijuana use doubling from 6 percent to 12 percent of those surveyed between 2008 and 2019.

That’s a potential concern for those who care about road safety. Driving simulator tests have shown that drivers who are high on marijuana react more slowly, find it harder to pay attention, have more difficulty maintaining their car’s position in the lane and make more errors when something goes wrong than they do when they’re sober. But such tests have also shown marijuana-impaired drivers are likely to drive at slower speeds, make fewer attempts to overtake and keep more distance between their vehicle and the one ahead of them.

To better understand the net impact on safety, researchers at IIHS and HLDI have conducted a series of studies since 2014 examining how legalization has affected crash rates and insurance claims in the first states to legalize recreational use.

The most recent of these studies from IIHS shows that injury and fatal crash rates in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington jumped in the months following the relaxation of marijuana laws in each state.

Combined, the impact of legalization and, subsequently, retail sales in the five states resulted in a 6 percent increase in injury crash rates and a 4 percent increase in fatal crash rates compared with other Western states where recreational marijuana use was illegal during the study period. Only the increase in injury crash rates was statistically significant.

That’s consistent with a 2018 IIHS study of police-reported crashes — most of which did not involve injuries or fatalities — that found that legalization of retail sales in Colorado,  Oregon and Washington was associated with a 5 percent higher crash rate compared with the neighboring control states.

Insurance records show a similar increase in claims under collision coverage, which pays for damage to an at-fault, insured driver’s own vehicle, HLDI’s latest analysis shows. The legalization of retail sales in Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington was associated with a 4 percent increase in collision claim frequency compared with the other Western states over 2012-19. That’s down slightly from the 6 percent increase HLDI identified in a previous study, which covered 2012-18.

Despite those increases in crash rates, studies of whether marijuana itself makes drivers more likely to crash have been inconsistent. The latest one from IIHS — which used data collected from injured drivers in three emergency rooms in Denver, Colorado; Portland, Oregon; and Sacramento, California — showed no increased crash risk associated with the drug, except when combined with alcohol.

Researchers conducted surveys for more than a year, interviewing and drug-testing more than 1,200 patients in total. The results showed that the crash-involved drivers weren’t any more likely to self-report or test positive for marijuana alone than other drivers who weren’t involved in a crash and were at the emergency room for reasons other than an injury.

Just 4 percent of the drivers involved in crashes self-reported marijuana by itself over the previous eight hours, compared with 9 percent of those who weren’t involved in a crash. Similarly, 13 percent of the crash-involved drivers tested positive for marijuana only, compared with 16 percent of the control set.

The reverse was true for the combined use of marijuana and alcohol, with 3 percent of the crash-involved drivers and fewer than 1 percent of the control drivers self-reporting use of both substances and 5 percent of the crash-involved drivers and fewer than 1 percent of the control drivers testing positive.

Those combined-use numbers could help explain why crash rates have increased. Legalization may be encouraging more people to drink and use marijuana together.

Studies comparing the simultaneous use of alcohol and marijuana in states where marijuana is legal with states where it is still against the law will be needed to test this hypothesis. But some early evidence has already emerged that shows self-reports of past-month marijuana and alcohol use have increased, while the reported use of alcohol alone has decreased, especially in states where recreational use of marijuana is now legal.

nationally representative survey conducted recently by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also found that drivers who self-reported using both alcohol and marijuana were more likely than those who had only consumed alcohol to say they had driven while impaired and engaged in dangerous driving behaviors such as making aggressive maneuvers or speeding on residential streets.

Other factors related to how legalization has affected the way people use marijuana, rather than the physiological effects of the drug, may also be at play. For example, the larger spike in crash rates in Colorado — the first state to legalize recreational use — suggests a burst of enthusiasm that leveled off as the drug’s new status became more commonplace. The first few states to legalize marijuana even used the legalization as part of their tourism promotions.

It’s also possible that disparities in state and local regulations might be encouraging more travel by marijuana users. For example, marijuana users in counties that do not allow retail sales may drive to counties that do. Their increased travel could lead to more crashes even if their crash risk per mile traveled is no higher than that of other drivers.

 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing deaths, injuries and property damage from motor vehicle crashes through research and evaluation and through education of consumers, policymakers and safety professionals.

Weekly Medical Marijuana Sales in Missouri Top $2 Million

​More than 90,000 people have received approval to use medical marijuana in Missouri, and weekly sales have topped the $2 million mark, according to an industry trade group.

The Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association said the $2.4 million in medical marijuana sales for the week ending March 19 followed four straight weeks of sales just under $2 million.

“These encouraging sales figures come as no surprise — but are all the more impressive in a pandemic-stricken economy,” MoCann Trade’s executive director, Andrew Mullins, said in a statement on Friday.

The trade group said more than 90,000 patients and caregivers have received state-approved medical cannabis cards, and thousands of other applications have been filed.

Missouri voters in 2018 approved medical marijuana. Dispensaries opened in October. Residents with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma and 20 other qualifying conditions are eligible.​

By Associated Press | Missouri Lawyers Media | molawyersmedia.com

Medical Marijuana to be Available Soon in Missouri

Having medical marijuana on dispensary shelves is imminent, according to Missouri state officials.

A medical marijuana testing facility in eastern Missouri passed its commencement inspection last week, clearing the way for products to reach shelves, according to a Missouri Department of Health and Human Services news release.

“With cultivation, dispensary and testing facilities now operational, medical marijuana will soon be available to Missouri patients,” the release states.

Licensed cultivators have already begun harvesting marijuana.

And there are cultivation facilities that are also licensed to transport medical marijuana, said Lisa Cox, DHSS’ public information officer.

It’s possible some dispensaries will have products available this week, Cox said.

“We do know that some of the cultivation facilities have product grown. They had that ready to go prior to the testing lab being approved,” Cox said.

Testing facilities check the level of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) and screen for any foreign matter or dangerous bacteria within medical marijuana samples.

An interactive map of licensed facilities may be found at mohealth.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=88d031a4f82449b98c30b6132b136edd.

The map shows the nearest dispensary cleared to open, so far, is Missouri Health & Wellness, 1404 Missouri Blvd. in Sedalia.

Missouri voters passed the state’s medical marijuana initiative in 2018.

Some critics of the program said it has been slow getting underway. However, organizers argue the constitutional amendment that created Missouri’s medical marijuana program laid out a timeline for when steps should be done, and it has met the timeline.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic appears to have delayed companies from making products available as soon as they wished this summer, the state is moving forward faster than most other states that have medical marijuana program, according to the release. It is doing that despite the amendment requirements for more facilities than any other state but Oklahoma.

And other states’ programs don’t require vigorous testing and tracking, like Missouri, according to the DHSS news release.

“Missouri’s implementation of its medical marijuana program has been one of the most efficient implementations in the nation,” the news release states, “with implementation time coming in well below average, despite a pandemic.”

By Joe Gamm | News Tribune

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services medical marijuana program’s annual report for its first year of operation was released in June and can be found here. Additional reporting on medical marijuana facilities’ progress can be found here.

The Hardest Budget to Come

As chiefs of police and sheriffs face what will probably be one of the most difficult years of budgeting, here are some thoughts. Many this year will have to make the decision between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ Yes, this was something taught to me as a child but often we forget when we see the new shiny widget. Some programs, outreaches or initiatives could be on the chopping block with monies diverted or lost.

One thing that I keep reminding the new chiefs and sheriffs of is that you are the chief executive officer (CEO) of an organization, you are not just the figurehead. You must run your department as a professional organization and not a frat house. This year with the impacts of Covid-19, on-going social unrest, and the possibility of the defunding some police missions, the hard decisions will be made this year. These upcoming decisions will have long-term implications. Be the leader and decide wisely.

Unfortunately, a lot of ​chiefs and sheriffs use “personality-based decisions” in purchasing. Every one of us has our personal likes and dislikes. We have our brand preferences, our favorite company or our favorite contractors.  Often, we make our purchasing choices with these personality-based influences rather than hard data. Now with the budgets tighter than ever imagined, one must perform due diligence for nearly all budget-based decisions. Going back to our favorite product brand, you must now decide is a name recognition worth the price? Is there something comparable and more economical and here goes the dilemma?

Another area to revisit is our existing contracts. Every organization has vehicle maintenance, dry cleaning, building maintenance, and other support services contracts. These line items are often in the budget often without review. All too often departments have always used a particular company just because this was the way it has always been. Granted, sometimes it was a political decision made for you by elected officials. ​Reality is that politicians have to ​”​spread the wealth​”​ to their supporters, whether you like it or not. 

 
In a perfect world, all want to see the local vendor, or the local smaller business get these lucrative contracts. This only makes sense to keep local tax money within the local tax base. When reviewing existing contracts and requesting competitive bids, you will ruffle the feathers of most businesses, but it has got to be accomplished. Be honest with them, state that you are performing due diligence, after all you have to be the guardian of taxpayers’ money. The main point here is that you must ensure the process is the best for all concerned. You can defend your selections, while trying to preserve your funding.

Spreadsheets

I strongly suggest you create a spreadsheet of upcoming renewals and review them. Memberships to professional organizations will be scrutinized, as well as renewal of service contracts for technology, projected replacement of outdated technology, fleet management and all maintenance and replacement costs. Elected officials may not ​understand proper law enforcement practices. I have heard in public meetings, “I still hunt with my granddaddy’s shotgun, why do you need new shotguns​?​” and “Why do you need expensive uniforms, why can’t you get the rental uniforms like the public works employees wear​?”​ Yes, there are more foolhardy statements that I have had to field in the past. Tip – be prepared for anything this year. “Needful things” has to be on the defense spreadsheet, review the expendables you have gone through for COVID and recent unrest, you have to keep your quartermaster stocked for bad days.

Personnel

In this current climate I feel we will see those able to retire submitting their papers. Some who are fed up may vest or withdraw their retirements, invest in a private retirement fund and walk out. The personnel shortages will be another war cry of do more with less. Granted salaries and related personnel costs make up the biggest slice of your budget pie. Politicians will view this as a means of closing the budget gap. Be ready to guard your staffing and operational requirements. Recruiting will probably be more difficult than ever; I foresee department jumping. Better benefits, better working/living conditions will attract officers who can leave without retirement impacts. Care for your staff, they are your most important resource.

Training Solutions

One thing which is particularly disturbing will be the attack upon the training budget. This is often the most vulnerable for most political leadership cannot see this as a tangible item. All they can see is police officers not working on the street, getting paid to sit in a classroom. As training budgets get tighter, you must begin to seek other non-traditional sources for training. Many insurance trusts who service governmental organizations offer some free training. Since the department is underneath their insurability umbrella, ask for their training offers or grants.  Research government​-​supported training where all you have to do is host the training. Now, never say it is ​”​free training​”​ for there is no such thing as free training – you have to have overtime for backfill​ and​ there may be some expendables (classroom supplies or hall rental). The goal is to seek partnerships you can build to establish free training.

Training conferences may be viewed with skepticism for the fees, travel and per diem adds up quickly. My best suggestion is inquiring if attendees present a topic or assist in some way with the conference operations, could they receive complimentary attendance or some perks to lessen the costs.

Most state POST councils are now approving virtual or on-line training options which helps with the scheduling and gives you more latitude on meeting state requirements. To me there is no ‘minimum training’ but seek quality, suitable training to meet the demands that your officers are facing.

Nuances of 2020

The first reality is that most municipalities or counties will be facing budgetary shortfalls this year and probably until there is a full economic recovery. Most all are facing reductions in employment taxes (people not working), sales taxes (shops closed or going out of business) and if they offer utilities services (water/sewer for example) many customers cannot pay or legislation preventing cut-offs for non-payments inhibiting this income. Some of their own sacred line items may also face cuts – donations to the arts, recreation and other public donations/support to non-profits. What will convolute the next few months is that most budget processes should have been completed, but due to no public meetings or face to face meetings all are behind schedule. Chiefs​ and sheriffs​ need to schedule telephone or email time to answer and defend questions to the budget staff and elected officials.

New demands

If your agency does not have body cameras and other recording systems (vehicle and station), expect to be purchasing them. In the quest of transparency, it is going to force your hand.

New training demands will come about. ​There will be m​ore mandated training with no financial assistance. Whether it be bias training, use of force, de-escalation, or whatever; you will need to insert this in the budget. Problem is the ​f​ederal ​government ​or ​the s​tate will manda​​te this midstream of next fiscal year without warning, so you will have sticker shock.​

In closing, with the ‘defund the police’ movement some missions may be reassigned to another agency. Mental health calls have been discussed in the past. Have the data of the number of mental health calls from the past and calculate the percentage they were from calls for service.  We have been through something like this in the past. It created social experiments in the 1980s and other times where draconian backlashes have occurred for political changes and motives. We will get through this, but it will be hard, tedious work. If a chief or sheriff expects this year or next year for that matter to be a budget process as usual, you are sadly mistaken. You will earn your salary on this one. Good luck and keep up the good work.


By William L. Harvey | Officer.com
 
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon

Medical Marijuana Expected to be Available Soon

Lyndall Fraker, director of the Medical Marijuana Division of the Department of Health and Senior Services, refers to an industry magazine for information while seated for an interview regarding the current status of the medical marijuana roll out in Missouri. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.


When they awarded licenses last winter, administrators of Missouri’s medical marijuana program anticipated products being dispensed during the summer.

But only two dispensaries have opened (both in St. Louis), and they don’t yet have products available for patients.

Having medical marijuana on the shelves for patients is imminent, according to Lyndall Fraker, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services section for medical marijuana regulation.

It is about time for harvest at a couple of Missouri medical marijuana cultivation facilities that have met all the state’s requirements to grow the products, he said.

However, all medical marijuana produced in the state must go through a testing process at a testing facility before being made available to patients.

And no testing facilities have opened yet.

Testing facilities check the levels of THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) of all marijuana cultivated in the state. They test manufactured products, such as edibles. And they check for dangerous compounds like toxins and bacteria.

A testing facility in eastern Missouri is close to opening, he said.

“That’s the one big piece of the puzzle. We have one testing facility that’s requested their commencement inspection, but they’re actually still waiting on some equipment,” Fraker said. “We’re ready. We know it’s important, but the ball’s in their court on that.”

Missouri’s medical marijuana amendment passed in 2018 with nearly 66 percent of voters’ approval. It made marijuana legal for treatment of cancer; epilepsy; glaucoma; intractable migraines (those persistent migraines that don’t respond to other treatments); chronic medical conditions that cause severe, persistent pain or persistent muscle spasms, including, but not limited to psychiatric disorders (when diagnosed by a state licensed psychiatrist), including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder; human immunodeficiency virus or acquired dependence (if a physician determines cannabis would be effective and safer); any terminal illness; or (in the professional judgment of a physician) any other chronic debilitating medical condition.

Thousands of potential medical marijuana patients applied for licenses to purchase medical marijuana. The division approved more than 23,000 patients and caregivers in 2019, despite there being no production completed or distribution of products expected until late this summer.

However, since the beginning of 2020, applications for medical marijuana patient or caregiver cards have jumped. Caregivers, by definition, are at least 21 years old and responsible for managing the well-being of a qualified patient.

As of Monday, the division had approved 61,541 patient and caregiver applications.

By December last year, the division received about 4,500 patient applications per month and about 180 caregiver applications.

The division received applications for 5,223 patient and 204 caregiver cards in January this year. For February, 5,717 patient and 193 caregiver; March, 5,077 patient and 191 caregiver; April 4,436 patient and 188 caregiver; May, 5,483 patient and 197 caregiver; June, 5,333 patient and 213 caregiver; July, 5,287 patient and 244 caregiver; and August, 5,188 patient and 213 caregiver.

The division also received more than 1,000 applications monthly for patient cultivator status (so people may grow their own medical marijuana) and more than 100 caregiver cultivator cards monthly.

The licenses to purchase medical marijuana expire after one year.

The medical marijuana division is in the renewal period. It began June 28 last year, accepting applications for patients and cultivators.

In addition to this being a renewal period for the early applicants, new applicants anticipate the dispensaries opening soon, Fraker said

“I believe a lot of people know we’re really close to having dispensaries open,” he said. “Cultivation facilities are running and growing products. So a lot of those people that maybe waited until they could buy the products and aren’t home-cultivating or something — they’re signing up now.

“We kind of expected a pretty impactful time right now, with that one-year renewal, plus facilities are getting ready to open up.”

The division anticipates being really busy in September, October and November, as more and more facilities are expected to come online, Fraker said.

Even before most facilities have opened, annual fees have increased, according to health.mo.gov. DHSS will adjust licensure fees annually (either up or down) based on the previous calendar year’s Consumer Price Index. The adjustment takes effect every July 1.

Patient or caregiver fees each rose from $25 to $25.58. Patient cultivator fees rose from $100 to $102.30.

The annual cultivation fee rose from $25,000 to $25,575; dispensary from $10,000 to $10,230; testing facility from $5,000 to $5,115; manufacturing from $10,000 to $10,230; and transportation from $5,000 to $5,115.

All fees are non-refundable, as were application fees.

The division received applications for more than 2,100 facilities, each requiring applicants to provide non-refundable fees of $5,000, $6,000 or $10,000.

And the division issued only 348 facility licenses.

Following announcement of the license recipients, spurned applicants (many of whom applied for multiple licenses) filed 869 appeals of the decisions.

There have been several appeals withdrawn.

“We’re down to about 788,” Fraker said.

The majority of appeals were based on the blind scoring process used for selection of license recipients.

“I think the first actual hearing is in October,” he said. “Once there are a few of those out there, and they have been decided or ruled on, it will affect the others.”
 
​By Joe Gamm | News Tribune​
 

Improving the Accuracy of Laboratory Testing of Cannabis

Due to different state laws regarding the medical and recreational use of cannabis, it is important for law enforcement departments to have access to reliable laboratory testing facilitates to accurately identify the components of cannabis. Consumers who use these products legally should feel confident that the cannabis package labeling is truly representative of the contents.

Two Main Components of Cannabis

The two main components of cannabis are Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). There are two plant subspecies of cannabis, Cannabis indica and Cannabis Sativa. C. Sativa contains higher concentrations of the psychoactive ingredient THC and is cultivated more often.

CBD oil does not alter sensory perception or produce any type of euphoria, so it is sold without prescription. The oil is derived from the cannabis plant, but is highly touted for its ability to ease anxiety and assist with sleep disorders.

Hemp and cannabis are derived from the same plant species; however, hemp plants contain less than .3 percent of THC. Cannabis plants that are grown to harvest marijuana typically contain 5 to 20 percent THC. In ancient times, hemp fibers were used to make cloth and ropes.  Now most CBD products are made from hemp plants.

Legality of Cannabis

Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which has determined that marijuana has a high potential for abuse and is of no medical use.

At the federal level cannabis is illegal. Medical use of marijuana is legal in 33 states; recreational use is currently legal in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Legislation in many states such as Alabama and South Carolina has stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of this July, there were only a few states where marijuana use was illegal:

Alabama
Idaho
Kansas
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Wisconsin
Wyoming

The legality of cannabis has drastically changed over the past 10 years. The 2018 Farm Bill made a distinction between hemp (3 percent  THC) and cannabis products with higher concentrations of THC. Under the bill federal restrictions were lifted on growing hemp plants, providing growers with the opportunity to profit from the once DEA-restricted controlled substance.

The Many Faces of Cannabis

Whether for medical use or for pleasure, marijuana is taken in many different forms. This makes it difficult for the Department of Justice and state law enforcement agencies to enforce the laws. Some product examples include:

Cannabis Oil (CBD)
Cannabis edibles and beverages
Cannabis beauty products (lotions and balms)
Cannabis tinctures
Smoking and vaping

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some control over what products containing CBD are approved. Before a product can be marketed for therapeutic use or treatment of disease, it must have prior FDA approval. Many states are also banning edible CBD products because CBD is not an “FDA-approved food additive.”

Cannabis Quality Assurance Program (CannaQAP)

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) understands the pressure forensic laboratories are under to distinguish marijuana from hemp in suspected illegal drug arrests and seizures. In the past, forensic drug analysts tested marijuana evidence for the presence of THC, but they did not quantify the sample.

Most forensic laboratories do not have staff with the proper training to conduct these quantitative tests. Recently, NIST unveiled the CannaQAP program designed to provide training to these facilities to accurately measure the concentrations of cannabis compounds. The training is designed to be similar to forensic analysts’ proficiency testing in which they are given unknown samples. The unknown samples will include THC, CCD, and 15 additional cannabinoid compounds. The analysts test these samples and their results are reported back to NIST.

The labs will be given the data as to what was accurately measured and what was inaccurately measured. The end result is to develop consistent measurement techniques and protocols across the board that will make all forensic laboratories more efficient.

By Dr. Dena Weiss, Faculty Member, Criminal Justice at American Military University | In Public Safety inpublicsafety.com

About the Author:

Dr. Dena Weiss is an associate professor at American Military University, teaching courses in criminal justice and forensic science. She recently retired after working 24 years as a crime scene investigator and fingerprint examiner for a central Florida police department. Prior to that position, she was a serologist for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Her court experience includes testifying in more than 200 federal and circuit court cases in over 15 Florida counties. Dr. Weiss is also an active member of the Florida Emergency Mortuary Operations Response System (FEMORS). Her educational background includes a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Sociology, a master’s degree in Forensic Science from Virginia Commonwealth University, as well as a Ph.D. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Criminal Justice.

Missouri Grants Licenses for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

​Missouri health officials last week posted the list of recipients of the first 192 licenses to operate medical marijuana dispensaries, bringing the state closer to joining the many others that allow at least some form of marijuana use.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services awarded 24 licenses in each of Missouri’s eight congressional districts, saying recipients were the top-scoring applicants that met the program’s eligibility requirements. The state received nearly 1,200 applications for dispensary licenses.

Voters made medical marijuana legal in November 2018, but because the drug must first be grown at approved sites and tested, sales aren’t expected to begin until this summer.

As of last week, the health department had issued medical marijuana identification cards to 29,457 state residents and 820 to caregivers, the Kansas City Star reported.

Licenses for testing, transporting and growing facilities were issued in December. The winning applicant for seed-to-sale facility certifications will be announced Jan. 31.​​

Bianca Sullivan told the Star that her company, Fresh Green, won licenses for two dispensaries — one in Kansas City and another in Lee’s Summit.

“I was jumping up and down,” Sullivan said. “I jumped into my husband’s arms.”

Janette Hamilton, of St. Louis, got the bad news that regulators had denied the application from her company, TriCept Wellness. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the rejection was “very frustrating” because TriCept Wellness earned the 16th highest score in the 1st Congressional District, but lower-scoring applicants were licensed.

Hamilton said the state did not explain why her application was rejected.​
 
By Associated Press | Missouri Lawyers Weekly molawyersmedia.com