Vermont Cannabis Control Board Meeting Video: Friday, December 17, 2021

Heady Vermont Staff 28 Dec 2021

December 17, 2021 Vermont Cannabis Control Board Meeting. No meeting materials currently available; transcript below.

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YOUTUBE auto-generated transcript

why don’t we get started then my name is
james pepper i’m the chair of the
vermont cannabis control board today is
friday december 17th
11 a.m and i’ll call this meeting to
so uh
pre-filed our rules uh one and two
the first two of five rules um with icar
and they were approved by icar that’s
kind of a very initial first step in
that process
we filed them with the secretary of
today and next tuesday we’re going to be
reviewing and voting on our remaining
three rules
and we hope that that means that we can
pre-file them before the new year
and that again kind of puts us on a
towards um meeting our statutory
deadlines that are in act 164.
the risk of sounding like a broken
record please read these rules give us
feedback or just
don’t read them and give us feedback uh
we just need feedback um every state um
that is legalized has made mistakes
they’ve left things out um they’ve done
things that they wish they didn’t um
that don’t make sense
and we really here in vermont are trying
to create a regulatory structure that
allows the vermont ethos to survive and
thrive and the only way that we can do
that is to hear from the people that
have built that ethos and are going to
be most directly impacted by these
so we’re going to be meeting again next
tuesday that’ll be a slightly longer
meeting when we kind of review and
finalize rules three four and five
um the board will again hold its after
hours meeting um from six to seven on
and that’ll be live stream and you can
join by a kind of a link on our website
uh we don’t have a physical location
quite yet but it’ll most likely be here
in montpelier 89 main street
um and then that’s really it for
december we’re gonna we have plans to
convene our uh advisory committee the
first week of january to discuss our
january 15th reporting requirements
and with that i would uh ask have you
guys had a chance to review the minutes
from the 15th yes yes all right is there
a motion to approve some move segmented
uh all in favor hi hi
and i will just move on to the rest of
the agenda today again we’re going to be
discussing rules
three and four on kind of at a high
level overview
rule three is really around the medical
program and the specifics there again
the medical program rules are set to
expire in march
and we need to
kind of
create additional rules
or kind of refile rules around the
medical program again trying to align it
with the adult recreational market
and ensure that um nothing no rule that
we enact is more
restrictive than the current uh
department of public safety rules that
are in effect
uh rule four is really around
um enforcement of our regulations
you know what do violations look like
how do we provide notice to um licensees
what does the grievance process look
like and um
and then rule five is around board
removal um board member removal
um so
friend if you’re ready i’ll turn things
over to you yep
um okay so thank you for that
introduction so the what you’re the
board is going to do today is to
review some kind of remaining
outstanding issues on rules three and
the rules governing the medical program
and the compliance and enforcement rule
and then
after that we’ll move on to rule five
which you reviewed
in some detail on wednesday
and there’s one small change to rule
you have one remaining issue to discuss
and then the hope was that you could
um vote on that one if you’re ready so
then next tuesday you just have to go
rules three and four the actual text of
rules three and four and and vote on
those on tuesday
rule three the remaining issues that are
um kind of outstanding to discuss
are um
one issue that julie raised when we
reviewed the when we reviewed
kind of the bulk of that rule initially
which was
in the portion governing the
requirements for dispensary applications
whether or not there should be a
requirement that the dispensaries submit
a plan for training or education of its
staff and um the board had some
conversation about whether
making that requirement since it is not
required in the dps rule
would be in conflict with um that
statutory provision 7vsa 956 which
provides the no rule they may be more
than the dps rule but um
i’m taking that back to the board for
your continued conversation on that
conversation around that
i mean i
i think i’ve already said how i feel
about this i really do think that the
dispensaries should have a requirement
to submit a plan for training for their
i would agree i i think
it wouldn’t even be a cause for
conversation if it wasn’t for that no
more restrictive
language i think
at least from my perspective i don’t
know how you feel
and just so you all know i did do a
statutory review and also
checked uh talked a little bit with the
current medical program staff but do you
think that
it’s defensible to add that type of
language on the basis of requirements
that are currently in statute and that
operate in conjunction obviously with
the current rules
all right yeah let’s definitely do it
then and we’ll just you know again like
the what what’s going to happen is if we
included in our rules
um elcar is really the avenue where um
they’re gonna look at the rule they’re
gonna go to the lead sponsors and all
the committees that created those this
specific statutory requirement and
they’re going to ask if this is within
the legislative intent
and so it’s really going to be their
ultimate decision but i think we should
include it
i agree
thank you
so the next issue for your discussion
um is
so when we’re again we’re talking about
rule three talking about the
requirements for patients
um should that healthcare professional
verification form uh be required
with each annual renewal or would you
like to make that a seminal renewal so
it happens every other year
so that’s the form that’s required where
the healthcare professional signs off
the person has a qualifying condition
and are we treating chronic pain
differently than the other qualifying
with respect to this with respect to
just renewals
generally we’re not waiving the
annual renewal for so incurable diseases
there is um that’s a statutory
requirement and um we do have
had some conversations about whether
that should be a requirement in statute
or not but it’s not
i’m fine with every two years
me too
moving right along
the medical program will be moving
forward because people will just
say it isn’t worth it you know
so the last uh remaining issue for the
medical program role is um
has to do with
the background checks for caregivers
um and the proposal is if there’s a
caregiver if a caregiver is a family
should the board grant a temporary
registration for that caregiver pending
the outcome of the background check
um so this has come up in situations
where a person has
been diagnosed with a terminal illness
they need access to medication
um should a family member caregiver be
given a temporary registration
while the board conducts the background
seems like a pretty easy one yeah yeah
and we asked in our last meeting if
there’d ever been an issue with a
caregiver right right
i yeah i agree
yeah all right yes
i should allow this mra registration
so that
completes the outstanding issues on rule
three so the board will review the full
text of that rule on tuesday
okay so we’re gonna move on to goal four
and um
we talked um
i can’t remember what day that was
maybe last friday about the
about rule four of the compliance
enforcement rule
and i showed we went through some slides
primarily on the categories of
violations and what the potential
outcomes could be
so just a few more slides
to review the process set out in rule
i’m just starting with this
last um
this last slide that you reviewed that
kind of sets out the notice
how the notice process works
notice of violations can be issued with
or without an immediate effect depending
on whether or not
the violation poses an immediate threat
to public health or safety
so we’re going to go through what that
process looks like
starting out with
the notice of violations
notice the violations the contents are
are listed here on the left and service
on the right
so a notice will contain a concise
statement of the nature of the violation
and then the actual basis for it the
penalty for penalties to be imposed
any associated health and safety orders
if the violation poses a threat to
public health or safety
and information to the licensee about
how to contest the violation
um and how to pay a waiver penalty if
the licensee wishes to do so
and also submit a corrective action plan
if that’s part of the violation and
we’ll talk about the waiver a little bit
more on the next slide
and then service
sufficient service shall be certified
mail to the business address
on the licensees application and also by
email and then there’s also a provision
that the licensee can opt in
to receiving notice only by email
so um
moving through the process here a
licensee can waive their right to
contest a violation
and pay a waiver penalty instead
so the amount that’s provided for on the
notice should be the waiver penalty
and if the licensee chooses to do that
they can pay the waiver penalty and that
will constitute kind of an acceptance of
the board’s penalty
or the licensee can choose to deny the
and contest contest it in writing or
request a hearing
depending on what type of penalty they
face and we’ll talk about that in the
next couple of slides
and depending on the outcome the fine
assessed the waiver penalty can be
the same as what the fine assessed
ultimately is or the ultimate
fine can be lower based on the board’s
final decision
okay so we’ll go through the process
if the violation poses no immediate
threat to public health or safety
so this kind of sets out the timelines
the board has to abide by
so within 15 days of receiving a notice
of violation the licensee can contest
by filing a written response to the
and that written response has to contain
each issue in fact and dispute
the rationale behind the licensee’s
and any pertinent facts to be determined
by the board
if the licensee fails to contest the
violation within 15 days that
constitutes an admission
and an acceptance of the penalty
um if the licensee does respond the
board has to consider that response and
issue a final decision in writing within
15 days of receiving the licensee’s
if the violation
penalty if the associated penalty is a
suspension or a revocation then the
licensee can request a hearing before
the board
and the hearing has to take place within
20 days of the board receiving that
request unless the licensee waives that
20-day timeline
evidence can be introduced at that
hearing in accordance with the statutory
rules of evidence for consensus
administrative cases there’s a statute
that will be cited in the rule
and the board can issue a final decision
either on the record at the hearing or
in writing within 15 days after the
hearing is complete
and the board they’re fi the final
decision of the board either
after the hearing or just uh in writing
in response to the licensee’s response
can be to either uphold its original
violation notice
or to revise the penalty to be less
um or it can dismiss the notice
or the violation altogether
and then um a person who wants to appeal
that final decision can do so in
accordance with statute
and that 7vsa 847 is the same appeal
process that you reviewed
on wednesday with respect to the board
removal rule
so we can look at that again if you’d
like this is the
provision that a person has to appeal
within 30 days of the decision to the
executive director who assigns the case
to an appellate officer
and an appeal from there goes to the
supreme court
so just a reminder that this tracks
almost identically with the process that
the agency of agriculture uses for
violations of the people that they
license um there’s a few
you know statutory changes in our in our
in our statutes um
around time frames but they do 15 and
they do 30 days
but uh other than that it’s almost
which i think is a benefit to the people
that are used to that sort of um process
that have been living with it um
already it won’t it won’t seem new or
out of place for most of the kind of
people we hope will be participating
yeah and if our if our hearing shall
take place within 20 days versus 30 days
of ag recognizing that this is folks
livelihood and if there’s an issue and
they need to stop or close their doors
or whatever i think
it makes sense that we work as
expeditiously as we can
to come to some type of resolution
okay there’s one more and this is just
that the violation
does pose an immediate threat to public
health or safety
the timelines this is very much the same
but the timelines are a little different
if the violation does pose a threat to
public health or safety the notice of
violation that the board
submits to the licensee has to plainly
state that the penalty will take effect
and then the board has to confirm the
violation notice and the penalty within
seven days of the licensee
so for these types of violations um
suspensions revocations or health and
safety orders
take effect immediately
um if they’re accompanied by a written
finding that their the violation posed
an immediate threat to public health
safety or welfare however
any associated fines or corrective
action plan requirements will not take
until the conclusion of the process
so then again we move into the same kind
of process here 15 days of receipt
the licensee has 15 days to contest by
filing a response to the board and
writing and that response has to include
the same information that um
was provided on the former slide about
facts supporting their position
failure to contest within 15 days again
constitutes an admission of the
violation and it’s an acceptance of the
and then the board has 10 days to
respond to the licensee’s response with
a final decision
um and if the
if the penalty associated with the
violation is a revocation or a
once again licensee can request a
as opposed to just a written response
and that hearing has to be within 10
of the board receiving the request for
the hearing
that’s supposed to 20 days
for the for
yep as opposed to 20 days
again evidence has to be
in accordance with the statutory rules
of evidence for contested cases
under the
administrative procedure act
and then the board can either issue its
final decision on the record at the
hearing or in writing within 10 days
after the hearing is complete so 10 days
as opposed to 15 days
if the violation doesn’t pose
a threat to public health or safety
and again same thing the board’s final
decision either um
after the hearing or just in response to
the licensee’s response to the violation
can either revise the penalty to be less
severe or it can be the same
penalty as imposed in the original
notice of violation or the board can
dismiss the violation altogether
and the appeal process is the same
that’s it
just uh i have just one question about
the hearing shall be within 10 days
unless way by the licensee
what’s the effect of it not happening in
10 days um if not waived
do we is it default against the state
you don’t provide for that that’s right
the rule does not provide for that i
yeah you could add something if you want
it well i i just you know i’m trying to
think of just the worst case scenario
these are the worst case scenarios right
and you know i think about just like
i don’t like to really go down that path
um necessarily but like
you know there was a quarantine of all
vape products during the evali scare in
and so that was in order i think it’s
not it didn’t come from the cannabis
commission and it came from the governor
um but i wonder if we did something like
that to all retailers in the state um
you know having to do all of them
within 10 days might be difficult
so you know i just wonder if there’s
some like for good cause
extension or something along those lines
that might allow the board to extend
um to a reasonable amount of time for
cause for a good cause
we came out something like that does
that take us out of line with the apa or
anything else i mean it’s not really
this is only
this is our own
process the apa only fully fully applies
once you get down to the appeal in
accordance with the statute yeah
so i think we’d have flexibility to
add some language about the consequence
that the board doesn’t
meet those deadlines or you know
where how much flexibility there might
be okay
does that make sense i mean do we do we
care i mean i’m trying to like i don’t i
hate to be like the doom and gloom kind
of like worst case scenario but i think
it’s prudent to
at least acknowledge that that is a set
of facts that could play out at some
point in the future whether we wanted to
or not better to explore it now and i
think yes there should be some sort of
second option or
or pause
if if there’s something major like that
yeah okay
and just think um
thinking about the appeals process and
and um
three vsa 840 or sorry 7vs847
i do think the consequence of the board
meeting that
10-day deadline could be that the
appellate not the appellate the um
the administrative judge could throw out
the boards
yeah penalty because we didn’t follow
our own process
yeah i mean and it’s unique that’s not
scenario wasn’t really hinting at a a
bad actor in respect to a license holder
but more so
product issues
industry-wide right
um god forbid but
when i read that initially i just
thought that there might be some good
cause that the board might show that the
you know licensee might not agree to my
you know to waive that deadline but
there’s a good cause there’s a good
reason for it as long as we’re moving as
quickly as possible
it can also provide for consolidated
hearings it’s the same issue as
affecting multiple licensees yeah they
don’t all have to be they don’t have to
be separate hearings necessarily if it’s
one issue right that’s true yeah
is that is that right if we leave it
there do you need more discussion no
that’s good okay that’s fine
that’s the only thing i didn’t notice
i think everything else looks
agreed okay
so that um completes your discussion on
rule four if you don’t have anything
else so we’ll move to rule five and take
a final look
this is the rule that you walked through
on wednesday
um i wanted to flag that in response to
the board’s um one of the issues that
julie raised
there has been one amendment to the
language of rule five and that is here
under the initial inquiry section in
subsection b
so this
the change provides that legal counsel
he or she has been directed to institute
an inquiry
they have to provide notice
to the chair and the participating
member of their initial written findings
so this is the um
the issue about notifying
oops no this is the participating member
so this i mean the subject the subject
right oops
so that should just say
i made the same problem same mistake
do we want to put it in i’m sorry if i’m
just not seeing this language do we want
to add any language there that unless it
you know
unless it gives an opportunity for the
subject member to
become too close to the investigation or
yes something along those lines
wait a second this is the same
i think
yeah for some reason the sections aren’t
showing up in what you have up there
which is
let me look at the draft i have here no
no is it
no that’s not there either okay we may
just have a different um version that
we’re looking at so just
hold on for a moment
i’m gonna do this
i think you had even mentioned that like
they should receive notice if there’s a
complaint being investigated against
them unless
the nature of the complaint and the
nature of the subject
i’m sorry about that subject number but
put itself for his or herself in a
of actively
doing something nefarious with relation
to that violation yes
in terms of like doom and gloom like the
way i have seen that to this play out is
that it gives an opportunity for
whoever’s investigating or other two
people yes to like
build a case that is unfair
okay and it has the right yeah the irony
of drafting this rule is we all never
have to use it
our future boards will never have to use
it like actually read it and that’s
with respect to what we’re doing except
for parts of rule four hope we never
have to do
some of those scenarios or what you want
to call it but
not the right version now
so the new language is here in 532
sub b
will just notify the subject member of
their complaint unless notification
would compromise
the initial inquiry by the
legal counsel
thank you
so that’s the only change to the text of
it as we went through it on wednesday
there the board did have some
conversation about whether or not the
process should be confidential
so yeah i
raised the issue that you know
maybe these proceedings should be
confidential i had wrongfully assumed
that they were confidential in other
david kind of pointed me to the
official ethics bureau board
and this pretty well tracks what you
know is happens in other kind of
disciplinary actions so um i’m fine with
it not the formal proceedings not being
subject to of course like public records
laws or whatever right and there’s the
carve outs for the personnel so that’s
already in there right yeah
so are you ready to vote out rule five
then yeah i think so okay
um i would
take a motion to
approve rule five as drafted as we see
here come over seconded all in favor hi
so i don’t know if we have anything else
on our agenda for today um other than
public comment i know that uh next
tuesday we are planning on having a
probably more of a marathon meeting just
to review the actual text
um line by line of uh
rules three and four um
so uh why don’t we just move towards
public comment for today we’re a little
ahead of schedule but if you
we have some folks in the room
start with
them public comment
anyone who joined via the link
please raise your virtual hand if you’d
like to make a comment
first up we have jesse lynn
hello how are you all doing today thanks
so much for having us all and taking
public comment um i just wanted to
reiterate my request for you guys to
uh recep why can’t i say it um
reciprocity today um so if you guys
could you know i mentioned before i
think reciprocity is really important
for patients who are moving to vermont
from out of state who are coming
visiting on vacation who have second
homes so if you guys could please
consider looking at readdressing
reciprocity i think that’s an important
part of the program we’re missing also
wanted to mention having that second
sign-off for the ptsd verification we
haven’t had much discussion or chat
around that i would love to see if
that’s something you guys could
recommend to remove that second needed
signature because that is definitely a
barrier in roadblock for patients to get
their card
um and lastly i just wanted to thank you
and agree that i strongly believe we
need educated medical staff or medical
professionals or at least the medical
dispensary staff having a stronger
education and background and in my
opinion i um
like i said i appreciate you guys
pushing for that and if the dispensaries
or legislators are trying to work
against that that’s a larger concern
from the systemic kind of sense so so
again just hoping you guys can look at
the ptsd and the reciprocity as we move
forward and include that while you’re
making some of this rule making change
thank you
thanks jesse lane
next is tita byrne
um hi guys uh just a quick thought um
about um the
the current rule for caregivers um
going forward i think we really need to
see some clarity on
a caregiver who is also a patient
you know so the way the rule reads right
now it says they can have
two mature seven immature and two ounces
in between them
and that the way it’s written right now
that indicates to me in a vehicle
because clearly in your home you’re
allowed to have as much cannabis as you
want so it’s just it’s unclear there and
i think obviously a a caregiver who’s a
patient obviously has to grow their two
plants for themselves
and obviously they have to grow their
two plants for their the person their
caregiving for so it would just be nice
to see protections in there for
so that they can grow their plants and
the plants for their caregivers or for
their patients rather in the same place
thank you
thank you tito
anyone else who joined by the link
do you have anyone to join by phone one
person on the phone so if you join by
phone and you like to comment um please
just hit star six to unmute yourself
uh jessie lynn raised her hand again um
jesse lynn we try not to do repeat uh
comments um during these meetings uh we
will be meeting again next tuesday and
have probably
at least two public comment periods then
um and
i know you know how to reach us all so
if you
would like to comment please um just
either submit it through the web portal
or email us or um
come back to us on tuesday
uh we had old growth organics just
raised their hand
old growth
i figured since this is such a quick
meeting now might be the time to do this
but there’s actually a shout out to
amelia i just want to
ask if you want to be my friend
um i always really respect what you have
to say but i don’t know how to get a
hold of you and i’m moving to vermont
soon so old growth organics on instagram
is spelled out just like in the
participant here with underscore between
um the words
thank you guys so much for your time and
for all the work you’re doing
thank you
anyone else
nope okay well um
just a reminder we do have
our another meeting on tuesday at 11 and
we’ll be reviewing rules three and four
and in greater detail then
so other than that i will adjourn the
thank you

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