With medical marijuana now legal in 33 states (with more on the way in 2019), and the recreational adult use of cannabis now legal in 10 states (with more on the way in 2019), and with 2 out of 3 Americans in favor of nationwide legalization of the plant, the ongoing federal prohibition and Schedule I status of cannabis at the highest level of our government is insulting, ignorant, and completely out of line with not only the will of the people, but with the science and research into the plant that is consistently flipping the old Reefer Madness stereotypes on their heads.
Federal prohibition of cannabis has so many detrimental effects on state-sanctioned cannabis operations from banking and insurance limitations, to the ever-present threat of Uncle Sam’s militant agents kicking down their doors.
With the rate at which cannabis reform is spreading both here in the U.S. and around the world many experts agree that federal reform of cannabis laws is within sight. A prime example is the 2018 Farm Bill that passed in December. The omnibus spending bill had billions of dollars earmarked for various lawmakers’ pet projects, and also had the end of prohibition of the hemp plant buried deep enough in the massive text to get it passed.
The same can be done with cannabis – just tack already-popular-cannabis on to an already popular bipartisan spending bill in D.C. and then the entire game will change from coast to coast.
Until then we have less than a patchwork of states, each with their own sets of MMJ and/or rec weed laws. We say less than a patchwork because a patchwork would imply that those patches/states are connected somehow when, in reality, each is essentially its own island.
Now one lawmaker in the state of Oregon wants to establish connections between legal cannabis markets in the U.S., especially if they exist in more than one state.
Oregon State Senator Floyd Prozanski has been lobbying his colleagues since at least 2017 in an attempt to establish a way in which his state could legally export excess cannabis products to other states that have their own version of legalization already in place and who may be in need of tons and tons of Oregon’s unwanted weed.
At the beginning of this year, several news outlets reported that Oregon’s state-mandated track-and-trace program had over one million pounds of unsold cannabis sitting in the system from 2018, and with more on the way this year.
Naturally, the traditional move is to then export your excess goods to markets where demand is high but supply is low, but federal prohibition of cannabis in the U.S. makes any thoughts of interstate commerce quickly devolve into thoughts of years in federal prison over a damn plant.
Therein lays another major problem with this plan which is that there is nothing traditional about legal cannabis and, in case you haven’t heard, you can grow the stuff in your own closet, garage, or yard with spectacular results.
The proposed state law would allow Oregon herb to only be exported to other cannabis-legal states, and would not condone such products crossing the state lines of a non-legal state in order to reach their destination.
So in the case of Oregon, you’d have: California, Washington, and Nevada eligible for shipments of last year’s mids, but you would not be allowed to drive those goods across the state lines of Idaho on their way to Colorado without the potential for problems with the law.
The problem for Oregon is that all of those eligible states above are already facing oversupply challenges of their own and there does not appear to be a huge market for out of state boof bud.
Colorado, for example, just reported that it has topped the $6 billion mark in retail cannabis sales since the state went legal in 2014. They did all of that without trucking it in from Portland and they probably don’t see a need to start now.
California’s embattled new legalization model has resulted in far more cultivation and distribution licenses being granted than the coveted retailer licenses required in order to sell it, and the Golden State has its own piles of excess forming.
Oregon, on the other hand, has not placed any limits on the licenses that it will grant and the gluttonous excess of herb in the state is driving prices down to unbelievably low levels.
Under this proposed legislation, Oregon’s governor would have to formally request a state-to-state cannabis exchange with a neighboring state, and once a deal is mutually accepted they could push trees across state lines.
To where though is anyone’s guess at this point.
The fact of the matter is that this aggressive posturing by Oregon officials does move the needle on the national scale. The financial harm being done to real people due to a lack of access to the interstate commerce of cannabis shines a bright light on the hypocrisy and short sightedness of federal cannabis prohibition.