Cannabis regulation on the state level plays a critical role in achieving the successful legalization of cannabis nationwide. Compliance state regulators and those involved in shaping policy are tasked with creating and enforcing rules based on the state laws that have been passed. In the early stages of policy development, the commission works closely with the stakeholders, municipal leaders, and may even ask for input from future cannabis business owners.
Ultimately, the goal of a regulatory commission is to create a set of state-specific regulations that will ensure the safety of cannabis products in the market, legal sourcing of the raw products, fair business practices, proper tax collection, and prevention of criminal activities in the cannabis sector in the state. Once the policies are established by a commission, the enforcement of the rules will be handed down to cities, municipalities, and their respective regulatory offices.
Whether you are a state regulator or elected official, your responsibility is to safely and successfully bring cannabis to market in your state or municipality. While the definition of success can vary, this usually means making products inaccessible to minors, discouraging black market trade, ensuring only properly qualified businesses achieve licensure, and ensuring successful tax revenue generation from your programs. However, in some states where marijuana is legal, this has not been adequately achieved, whether it is issues of black market trade or an improper regulatory foundation that draws negative attention and creates problems for licensees.
While the reasons can vary by state or municipality, the foundation of the regulatory policy and best practices are at the root of the success. For example, in the Bay Area of California, challenges of black market trade are far from an issue in comparison to other state municipalities, thanks to diligent regulatory enforcement and efforts. Other clear observable examples are product contamination issues we’ve seen in the northwest and preventable lapses in businesses staying compliant resulting in bad PR for the state and its programs.
Even Canada, which has legalized medical and recreational marijuana on a federal level, faces challenges in eliminating the illegal cannabis trade due to mistakes in regulation. For starters, their inability to control the inflation of cannabis prices is discouraging consumers who want to purchase marijuana legally; And more seriously, the crushing regulations for cannabis growers have prevented these businesses from scaling, creating product shortages that again drive people to illegal sources.
In all of these cases, the failures of cannabis regulation boil down to gaps in the initial policies made at the state level. If cannabis businesses continue to operate at a loss and states fail to generate tax revenue from legal sales, then cannabis advocates will be hard pressed to see changes on the federal level.
Cannaspire (formerly CannaBeSecure) works with cannabis compliance regulators on the state and local levels to help them develop a regulatory framework that ensures the safety of the public, protection of legal businesses, and prevention of criminal activity within the sector. Through our consultation services, we can help you establish robust policies and enforcement practices that will prevent risks, bad press, and help your office set a prime example in policymaking that other localities and states can look up.