In this month’s newsletter, learn more about the following:
- Marijuana testing laboratories subcontractor guidelines
- Medical cardholder’s physical card
- Responding to Statement of Deficiencies
- Facility inspection – inspector requirements
- Fire extinguisher scam
Marijuana testing laboratories subcontractor guidelines
Montana marijuana testing laboratories may sub-contract their work to other licensed Montana labs.
However, if the lab wishes to sub-contract the testing to another testing laboratory in Montana, the lab must contact the licensee and get permission to do so in writing per ARM 37.107.302(5)
Medical cardholder’s physical card
Per MCA 16-12-513 (1), medical cardholders must keep their physical cards on their person, unless the card is being held by the approved designated purchaser for obtaining product that was ordered.
This requirement includes temporary cards sent when the cardholder’s application was submitted.
Dispensaries cannot hold temporary or official cards for the cardholder.
Responding to Statement of Deficiencies
As of February 23, 2023, licensees will be required to utilize the new Statement of Deficiencies Response form available to you within your Cannabis License account when logged into the TransAction Portal.
Please note: if you received a Deficiency Report prior to February 23, 2023, you will be required to follow the previous process.
Facility inspection – inspector requirements
Correction to previous newsletters: An annual fire inspection will be required for renewal at each licensed premise.
Important reminder about annual fire inspections: Fire inspection personnel have the legal ability to enter/inspect premises at any time per MCA 50-61-114:
Fire Chief And Fire Inspector To Make Inspections, per MCA 50-61-114.
Fire chief and fire inspector to make inspections. For the purpose of examining the premises for violations of this chapter and rules adopted under 50-3-103 for the enforcement of this chapter, the chief or fire inspector of the governmental fire agency organized under Title 7, chapter 33, when a fire inspection program is established, or a fire inspector of the department of justice, when a fire inspection program does not exist:
(1) shall enter into school buildings at least once each 18 months; and
(2) may enter into all other buildings and upon all other premises within the jurisdiction, according to priority schedules established by the department for conducting inspections of buildings and premises.
Be aware! Fire extinguisher scam
A number of cannabis shop employees, including at least one Montana business, have fallen victim to a text scam. This scam has been coined as a “Fire Extinguisher Scam.” Store employees are contacted via text message by a suspect over a text message, via spoofed phone numbers, making it appear the text is coming from the store owner’s attorney or even the owners themselves.
Because the cannabis store employees truly believe they are communicating directly with the owner of the shop or their attorney, they have fallen for the scam. The scammer typically tells the store employee that an “inspector” from a government entity is planning on coming to the store to verify the fire extinguishers are in compliance. The scammer will have the employee send pics of the extinguishers, exit signs, business licenses and other regulatory items. Then, through a series of text messages, the victim is requested to bring a large sum of money to a location where it’s handed off to someone the employee does not know or they are instructed to use a crypto currency ATM.
Please notify your employees that legitimate state inspectors will never demand or accept payment in the field.
In other instances of this type of scam, the scammers have asked for money for “emergency surgeries” for a cannabis business owner’s son, money to pay for a license fee, and various other untrue stories. These scams are typically conducted over Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VOIP is a technology that allows users to make voice calls using a broadband internet connection instead of a regular (analog) telephone line. To learn about how VoIP services work, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s website.
If you have knowledge of one of your employees either being contacted or falling victim to this scam, please contact local law enforcement agency to report the incident, and notify your CCD Inspector immediately.