New Laws, New Concerns
Hey, Arkansas, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada and North Dakota, you just adopted some new marijuana laws.
So what now? Well, worry. Now there are going to be “literally hundreds” of issues that need to be addressed via law, and some — like the popularity of edibles and lack of information and education around consumables — will catch regulators by surprise. Did we think of this when we wanted access to legalized marijuana? Probably not, but it’s just part of life.
Track… Track… Track…
The government is going to have to keep track of every single seed, plant, and sale that happens. Beyond the cannabis cultivation facilities and pot shops, that includes accounting for other logistical challenges such as where the marijuana is stored if it’s being shipped overnight and the driver gets tired.
Marijuana remaining illegal on the federal level (yet fairly hands-off from an enforcement perspective for now) does present some interesting wrinkles for regulators. Banking is much harder to come by, the pesticide regulations set are up to the state rather than the (Environmental Protection Agency). By not having legitimate banking, that’s just one more tool that state regulators cannot rely on in tracking and tracing aspects of the industry and ensuring that proper safety precautions are put in place.
Additionally, rules that typically would land under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration fall in-house for state regulators; topics include potency, refrigeration and safety of edibles.
And it will take a good bit of legal analysis into all aspects of the process to make sure that there are protections in place from criminal prosecution.
Look At Colorado
Colorado, with its groundbreaking marijuana laws, has served as a mentor to municipalities, states and countries around the globe on all aspects of marijuana regulations. But it’s a very fluid process. This is still an experiment in its infancy to the extent to which we’re all laboratories of democracy. Doing what is best for every state is key, since they are all different.
Not only is the regulation of medical and recreational cannabis new territory, but there’s also a steep learning curve about the plant itself. Certainly the research is still coming in on a lot of that, And yet, a lot of the time it’s regulated like it’s nuclear waste, like it’s the most dangerous thing on the planet. Regulators will have to be quickly brought up to speed in areas such as cultivation and manufacturing requirements, the varietals of the plant, cannabis compounds THC and CBD, the economics, accounting for the black market and how that affects legal market dynamics.