Cannabis Law – Going Green! Welcome to 2017 – the year of the animated toupee, the wrinkled pantsuit, and a country-wide Need for Weed! 2017 ushers in many changes in Cannabis Law with especially exciting news for California (you mean it wasn’t already legal? Quel Surprise!), Massachusetts (Jane harkens from Massachusetts and as a born and bred Mass-Hole she can attest to the dire need for cannabis in this state), Nevada (OK seriously – weed was not already legal here? I guess the gambling and prostitution was keeping the citizens too busy?), and Maine – where if you go outside your nose will freeze off – or a Moose will eat it. Stay inside and smoke up instead – it’s safer.
Now that Legal Marijuana is sweeping the nation and before Jeff Sessions ruins everyone Pot Party with his uptight ways (after he is done frightening the children with his scary scowl face of course) let us all take a moment to revel in the possibility of enjoying a simple plant that relaxes, heals, and soothes without fear of incarceration and ugly jumpsuits. Yes, for many, Cannabis Law is on our side at last. Aaaaah
If you happen to live in one of the states that has legalized recreational marijuana you be might be considering a career shift into this exploding industry – good idea! But before you go off half cocked make sure you brush up on Cannabis Law for your state. Each state will be introducing new laws in various “roll-out” plans as there is not “one size fits all” for regulation. The most important thing to know before you embark on your Grand Cannabis Adventure is that you will need licensing. Each state will require a legal grower and/or seller of cannabis and cannabis products to be licensed by the state.
Remember moonshine – that delicious beverage of yesteryear that led to good times and occasionally blindness? Moonshiners did a brisk business during Prohibition as their organ shriveling, brain damaging product was the only game in town. When alcohol was legal again the powers that be thought it might be prudent to require alcohol producers to adhere to standards of conduct and be licensed – thus your evening with Mr. Jack Daniels doesn’t have to end in an emergency room – unless you have no self-control you devil. Honestly that licensing requirement had a lot more to do with taxation than public wellness but the end result led to better standards of conduct industry wide.
will do nothing more than give you a wicked headache and a feeling of disappointment. So is licensing necessary? Yes, according to the law. The states that have legalized have done so for several reasons; medical assistance and access for patients without fear of legal reprisal, reducing prison populations and court back logs for non violent marijuana “crimes”, and taxes…delicious, robust, juicy taxes.
Tax revenues in Colorado from marijuana have exceeded all expectations and appear to be on the rise dramatically in the coming year. Other cash-strapped states see an opportunity to fill their coffers while reducing prison populations and assisting the medical community. It all looks pretty good and cannabis law is our friend. But you hate taxes you say! Boo IRS you cry! We hear you. There will of course be growers and producers who do not seek licensing and prefer to grow their own outside the legal parameters set up by their home states. So what is the harm?
Not too much except…the IRS has been sharpening its knives and whetting its appetite for a veritable feast of revenue from weed and they will not be denied. The black market price for weed will be far less than pre-legalization prices and the cost of manual labor (trimmers, packagers, edibles manufacturers) will be higher as the amount of available workers diminishes. The most likely scenario for non-licensed cannabis providers will be a whistle-blower community similar to the contracting industry.
Contractors who are licensed and insured and carry workers comp insurance and play by the book have to charge more for their services to cover that overhead. Unlicensed contractors piss these guys off because they are cutting corners and under cutting prices. Licensed contractors report unlicensed contractors to the governing board and then the fines and punishments ensue. It is still early days but this scenario is very likely for the infant marijuana industry. Getting licensed requires time and planning but it also spares you from worrying about steep fines and possibly being shut down. Creating a legal cannabis operation also requires solid legal advice as the federal government does not yet recognize the states right to legalize marijuana and therefore banking your mad marijuana $$$ is…tricky…to say the least.
The bottom line? Learn the Cannabis Law in your state before you invest in your new cannabis business idea. Setting up to grow marijuana indoors or out on a commercial-scale is expensive and requires a lot of preparation and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down in front the tax man or your local law enforcement!