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Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 8:24am
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Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 8:12am
What is mixed light cultivation? Apparently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Humboldt County Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance (CMMLUO) can’t even agree on a uniform definition. The conflicting definition of mixed light arises in how the CDFA regulations included “light deprivation” within the definition of “mixed light,” whereas the CMMLOU does not include “light deprivation’ within its definition of “mixed light.”  
 
According, to the County, “light deprivation” does not utilize artificial lighting and therefore does not fall under the definition of mixed light. The CMMLUO defines mixed light as “cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold as set forth in performance standards in Section 55.4.11. (v) et seq. of this ordinance, or as to be determined by the Department of Food and Agricultural, whichever is less.”
 
The maximum threshold set forth in the performance standards at 55.4.11 (v) proscribes light escaping from greenhouses which is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise. The next subsection provides that the light source should comply with International Dark Sky Associations standards for Lighting Zone 0 and Lighting Zone 1 and should be designed to regulate light spillage onto neighboring properties.
 
“Threshold” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not.
 
Read with this definition in mind, the CMMLUO definition of mixed light says that the amount of supplemental artificial light used in mixed light must not be greater (maximum) than the amount that would result in light escaping from greenhouses which is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise.
 
The definition goes on to say that the maximum threshold can either be determined by the performance standards, or by the CDFA, “whichever is less.” The “whichever is less” clause seems to imply that the  CDFA can set a lower maximum threshold for artificial supplemental lighting then provided for in the performance standards for the cultivation type to be defined as “mixed light.”
 
Lo and behold, the CDFA did set a lower maximum threshold for supplemental artificial lighting than the performance standards: None. CDFA defines “Mixed Light Cultivation” as cultivation of mature cannabis in a greenhouse, hoop-house, glasshouse, conservatory, hothouse, or other similar structure using light deprivation and/or one of the artificial lighting methods … (1) the use of artificial light at a rate of six watts per square foot or less … (2) the use of artificial light at a rate above six and below or equal to twenty-five watts per square foot.
 
Light deprivation does not (generally) utilize artificial supplemental lighting. So, if CDFA’s definition of mixed light includes light deprivation, then is the maximum threshold of artificial light emanating from a greenhouse is zero under the County’s definition?
 
The answer is unclear. According to discussions with County Planning, CDFA’s definition of mixed light will not affect the County’s categorization of light deprivation as outdoor cultivation. Per the County, if an applicant has been issued a permit for an outdoor cultivation using light deprivation techniques and applies for a mixed light permit at the State level, the County will confirm that the applicant is in compliance with the local jurisdiction. Therefore, the State would (theoretically) not deny a licensee a permit.
 
Whether this apparent conflict between the County and State definitions of mixed light cultivation will create problems remains to be seen. More murk in an otherwise unknown area of law. Welcome to the world of cannabis regulation!  
Thursday, February 8, 2018 - 7:03am
What is mixed light cultivation? Apparently, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the Humboldt County Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance (CMMLUO) can’t even agree on a uniform definition. The conflicting definition of mixed light arises in how the CDFA regulations included “light deprivation” within the definition of “mixed light,” whereas the CMMLOU does not include “light deprivation’ within its definition of “mixed light.”  
 
According, to the County, “light deprivation” does not utilize artificial lighting and therefore does not fall under the definition of mixed light. The CMMLUO defines mixed light as “cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold as set forth in performance standards in Section 55.4.11. (v) et seq. of this ordinance, or as to be determined by the Department of Food and Agricultural, whichever is less.”
 
The maximum threshold set forth in the performance standards at section 55.4.11 (v) proscribes light escaping from greenhouses which is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise. The next subsection provides that the light source should comply with International Dark Sky Associations standards for Lighting Zone 0 and Lighting Zone 1 and should be designed to regulate light spillage onto neighboring properties.
 
“Threshold” is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a level, point, or value above which something is true or will take place and below which it is not or will not.
 
Read with this definition in mind, the CMMLUO definition of mixed light says that the amount of supplemental artificial light used in mixed light must not be greater (maximum) than the amount that would result in light escaping from greenhouses which is visible from neighboring properties between sunset and sunrise.
 
The definition goes on to say that the maximum threshold can either be determined by the performance standards, or by the CDFA, “whichever is less.” The “whichever is less” clause seems to imply that the CDFA can set a lower maximum threshold for artificial supplemental lighting then provided for in the performance standards for the cultivation type to be defined as “mixed light.”
 
Lo and behold, the CDFA did set a lower maximum threshold for supplemental artificial lighting than the performance standards: None. CDFA defines “Mixed Light Cultivation” as cultivation of mature cannabis in a greenhouse, hoop-house, glasshouse, conservatory, hothouse, or other similar structure using light deprivation and/or one of the artificial lighting methods … (1) the use of artificial light at a rate of six watts per square foot or less … (2) the use of artificial light at a rate above six and below or equal to twenty-five watts per square foot.
 
Light deprivation does not (generally) utilize artificial supplemental lighting. So, if CDFA’s definition of mixed light includes light deprivation, then is the maximum threshold of artificial light emanating from a greenhouse is zero under the County’s definition?
 
The answer is unclear. According to discussions with County Planning, CDFA’s definition of mixed light will not affect the County’s categorization of light deprivation as outdoor cultivation. Per the County, if an applicant has been issued a permit for an outdoor cultivation using light deprivation techniques and applies for a mixed light permit at the State level, the County will confirm that the applicant is in compliance with the local jurisdiction. Therefore, the State would (theoretically) not deny a licensee a permit.
 
Whether this apparent conflict between the County and State definitions of mixed light cultivation will create problems remains to be seen. More murk in an otherwise unknown area of law. Welcome to the world of cannabis regulation!  
Wednesday, January 31, 2018 - 8:35am
The urban legend that eating poppy seeds can lead to a failed drug test is, in fact, not a legend. Eating poppy seeds – even as few as are typically contained in a large Costco poppy seed muffin – can yield positive test results for both morphine and codeine when testing standards are not adjusted to weed out such “false” positives.
 
Poppy seeds, morphine, and codeine all naturally occur in the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Accordingly, poppy seeds like those used in muffins, bagels, breads, and pastries, contain the opiates codeine and morphine. The opiate content of poppy seeds varies greatly based on the seed origin, when the seeds are harvested, and how the seeds are processed from harvest to consumer. Opiate concentration is also affected by how seeds are ultimately consumed: raw, ground into a paste, sprinkled atop a bagel, baked whole into a cake or muffin, etc.
 
Multiple published, peer-reviewed, scientific studies have shown that ingestion of poppy seeds can result in urinary concentrations of morphine and codeine detectable in standard drug tests used by certain workplaces. Though many workplace drug tests have adjusted their laboratory standards to avoid “false” positive results caused by ordinary poppy seed consumption, it is still possible to test positive for illicit opioid drugs when lower cutoffs are used.
 
In 1998, the Federal Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration revised their mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs due to concerns that many positive opiate tests were the result of poppy seed consumption. While the previous urine sample testing cutoff levels for both morphine and codeine previously were 300 ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter), the Department of Health and Human Services increased the cutoff levels for both opiates to 2,000 ng/mL, effective May 1, 1998.
 
If you know you will be required to provide a urine or other biological sample for drug testing, it is prudent avoid consuming poppy seeds for at least one day prior to giving the sample.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 10:56am
The Medical Board of California issued its Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2016 – 2017.  It reveals that out of the 9,619 complaints made to the Board’s enforcement program, the Board took a total of 466 disciplinary actions — an increase from 338 in the year 2015 – 2016 and from 365 in the year 2014 – 2015. Of last year’s enforcement actions, most resolved with some term of probation and practice prohibitions, with surrender of license a close second.
 
If you are a medical care provider, you are well aware that the Board’s online complaint systems makes it easy for consumers to file complaints — all of which are investigated to some extent.  Most complaints are made by members of the public, with those made by law enforcement agencies or other state or federal agencies a distant second.
 
Additionally, the Board issued a record number of new physicians’ licenses, for a total of 6,802 in the Fiscal Year 2016 – 2017.
 
You can read the Board’s Annual Report here.