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Become A Member

Medical Marijuana Collective Membership: General Requirements

Become A Member CA Collective

Mar 3, 2013

What is required when a individual (or group) decides to start a California medical marijuana collective?

In August of 2008 California Attorney General Jerry Brown published medical marijuana “guidelines” for qualified medical marijuana patients, providers and state law enforcement. The state of California medical marijuana laws (or recommendations) provided in these guidelines is the foundation for how to properly operate a marijuana collective and/or dispensary. The California medical marijuana guidelines emphases the importance of doctor’s medical marijuana recommendation, verification of identification and filing of the relevant documentation as per the laws. Unfortunately, these guidelines are not binding in court, but they do provide a foundation for law enforcement, district attorneys and judges.

Marijuana Collective Membership Agreement

A membership agreement, is required to abide by the collective California medical marijuana laws – it is a contract between the medical marijuana patient and the collective or co-op. This membership agreement is a patient’s commitment to abide by all the requirements laid out in the bylaws of the collective.

All patients must have:

A valid doctor’s recommendation to become a member of the collective, receive medical marijuana delivery or enter the dispensing area of the collective.  When a patient signs a collective agreement, they are in fact becoming members of this organization (including voting rights and access to financial and organizational records). Procedures need to be in place to ensure that new patients understand the “Collective Agreement” they are signing and the rights associated. Pretend that every new patient is a law enforcement official and be sure to dot all your i’s and cross your t’s.

Verifying Doctors mmj Recomendation

Marijuana collectives need to be ensured that each patient/member’s doctor’s recommendation “rec” is valid, and the patient’s ID is verified for the name and age. The new member’s recommendation can be verified by telephone or via the Internet (depending on the doctor’s preference and infrastructure). Patients are required to have a current California identification card, such as a driver’s license, to become a member of the organization. Always make a copy (or digital record) of the member’s doctor’s medical marijuana recommendations and State ID for the collective records.

Documentation:

Having a good, well organized filing system is a must and will come in handy when you need to track down information. It is important to keep your business dealings and city/state correspondence well documented. Keep your documentation organized (including all state filings and membership records) and be prepared for officials to review.

Accounting records should be kept securely online.

Medical Records/Database

All Medical records and recommendations need to be kept on-site at the grow sites or legal marijuana dispensary. It is best to keep both physical copies and back-up digital PDF’s stored in a computer system or zip drive. Databases are available that keep these items together for easy viewing, and they can be an efficient system for the collective. MMJOS is a great program for tracking patients (see our resources page).

HIPAA Laws

Title II of the law protects a patient’s privacy by preventing the disclosure of medical conditions by health care providers, medical billing services or insurers. To ensure the safety of the records, a password protection system should be in place to control and limit the view ability to access information.

Are Sales taxes owed on California medical marijuana sales?

Yes! Sales taxes are paid through the California Board of Equalization (BOE).

The sale of medical marijuana has always been taxable in California. Before October 2005, the Board did not issue permits to sellers of property (marijuana) that may be considered illegal.

You must submit a form BOE 400 SPA (seller permit application) or take it into the nearest field office. See CA BOE – Sales Tax and Registration for California Medical Marijuana for complete details.

Member Interaction and Community Involvement

The management needs to maintain a very close contact with its members. In order to do so a suggestion box is generally made available to encourage members to leave feedback often the best way to determine what is and is not working well at the collective. This could also be done via email for delivery style collectives.  A collective’s objective should be to meet the needs of its members – for a collective of patients with medical marijuana needs, this likely means providing high quality medication in a convenient method at a reasonable cost (or expense reimbursement). So keep the pulse of your members and take their feedback seriously. Remember without members you don’t have a collective.

Other Miscellaneous Items – for Storefront Marijuana Dispensaries

– All city business licenses and sales permits should be easily visible at the entrance of a legal marijuana dispensary as per the California marijuana laws.

– All dispensary employee documentation should be kept on-site

– Don’t mix guns with MMJ operations (dispensary, delivery, or grow sites)

– Hire a good attorney familiar with medical marijuana. At least have an attorney’s name and number ready in case of emergency. Discuss fee structures ahead of time so you don’t get sticker shock or screwed when you are in a stressful situation.

– Make friends in the community and help reverse the negative stereotype associated with MMJ

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