The election is coming up, which has pegged the question: who will help us reach federal pot legalization? I’m going to focus less on what presidential candidate seems more promising for legalization and more on what legalization will look like.
Federally legalizing marijuana in the US is attainable and surely in our future. However, it may take more than a presidential election to get legal marijuana across the line. Unfortunately, I am wary that a federal pass in the US wouldn’t go as smoothly as the federal legalization in Canada. Mostly because the US wouldn’t be starting with a clean slate. We will have to manage a lot of regulatory change over time to account for the legal change.
With my time spent in the cannabis industry as well as some research I have taken into account, I documented the 6 concerns with federalize legalization. Depending on how federal pot legalization occurs, these may or may take place, but I wanted to share. Keep reading and be sure to comment below if you have an idea or comment on the topic.
Concern 1: Heightened Taxes
One of the biggest downsides to legal marijuana is that states want to make a tax revenue on the industry similar to tobacco, alcohol, and gambling. My concern lies with unnecessary taxes and California is a great example. California has 3 overseeing departments for marijuana regulations. A department for cultivation licenses, one for manufacturing licenses, and one for distribution and retail licenses. All licenses for marijuana in the state have to be approved through the state in the corresponding departments. Any businesses that have licenses doing various operations has to go to the trouble of getting approved in all departments. Each department gains a certain amount of tax revenue from the movement of cannabis through its economic lifespan.
Not all states are built like California’s marijuana framework, but federal regulations could require an overseeing tax collection. This would make many cannabis businesses struggle to breakeven as well as apply pressure on consumers.
Concern 2: Increase in Black Market
If consumers struggle to find product that is in their price range, they may look for more price friendly options. The cannabis industry has seen this happen before. Why buy from the shop if your neighbor grows it?
In some cases, growing your own or sharing it with your friends and family can be a very innocent thing to do. Actually, in many states it’s legal to grow your own in small amounts. However, selling cannabis for money without licensure brings up one main concern. Cannabis grown under the table will not undergo any regulatory required testing. Consumers may not know what they are using, how ethically its grown, whether it’s an indica or sativa, and the THC levels. Black market produced products can also be dangerous. If you followed along in the vape crisis of 2019, then you’re aware many people had lung damage and actually died from using cartridges. Since the cartridges did not undergo mandatory testing, the ingredients didn’t get flagged as dangerous.
Concern 3: Loss of Small Pot Shops
This would be heartbreaking! One of my favorite things about the cannabis industry right now is how each shop resembles a boutique. Despite cannabis being a little hard to find sometimes. it’s always an experience finding a new shop.
There will surely be a spike in large corporations entering the industry if it becomes legal. This is bound to happen because corporations go where the money is. I chat about this in my YouTube, because I have some silly ideas of how this would work.
Just imagine, Walmart comes out with their own cannabis brand. They have millions of dollars to go and buy land to cultivate and produce. Walmart will now sell their prized strain and so will every department and grocery store in town. This would absolutely drive out all small ma-and-pop shops. With the election in mind, so are small businesses so be mindful that legalization may still have negative impacts.
Concern 4: Lack of Product Education
Having more access to cannabis means we need more educational sources to understand it. If you have been keeping up with my IGTV series, then you may have seen my last topic on marketing. Platforms like Google, YouTube, Facebook, and many more make it really difficult for cannabis or CBD brands to get exposure. This is because cannabis still falls into the illegal drug category (being a controlled substance in the US). There is also a ton of research to be done that hasn’t had the resources or funding. I’m hoping that a change in legalization will quickly impact the amount of resources an information we have access to. It also makes me wary that there will not be enough information and we will be going into legalization blind.
Concern 5: Kids Have More Access
Kids will have an easier time accessing cannabis when more adults have easier access. The good news is that people don’t die from cannabis, but that doesn’t mean we need kids with weed. With a lack of educational resources, especially for kids, this concerns me even more. It’s important that health classes and adults share reliable information to young people and kids going forward with federal pot legalization. It’s pertinent that resources are developed and maintained for both adults and kids.
Concern 6: Years Until Actual Regulations
The biggest truth I have learned in my time in the industry is that regulations are tedious and take a tremendous amount of time to build. For example. Colorado was the first state to recreationally legalize cannabis and is considered one of the most mature markets. It took many years to organize a successful program in Colorado. Similarly, federal framework will legally take many years to build and will put pressure on state programs when released. No one will know what those regulations will look like until the government decides.
S0 there you have it. Voting on a presidential candidate may help us get closer to legal pot, but will it legalize pot soon? My hunch is probably not. CBD became federally legal technically in 2014 by Obama, but was officially made legal with Trump’s signature in 2018.
How Do We Get Closer To Legalization?
There are a few things that I always recommend people can do to continue to support the legal cannabis industry and the potential of federal pot legalization:
- Support businesses
- Vote on local legislature
- Support free educational sources like Leafly, Ganjapreneur, NCIA (and my blog!)
Want to hear my vlog of this blog?
Thanks for reading and watching on this episode of Weed Wednesday with Del.
By, Delaney Lawrence