Archive for the ‘Tax and Regulate’ category

Why Regulation Matters

March 4th, 2015

The following guest post, contributed by MedMen, is part of a guest series providing insights into the legal marijuana industry.

The marijuana policy reform movement is coalescing around the idea of regulating marijuana like alcohol. While most supporters of ending marijuana prohibition appear to stand behind this idea, others have expressed concerns about the prospect of a tightly regulated marijuana market. While some of them are valid — high barriers to entry, for example — there are three reasons why regulating marijuana like alcohol is the best path forward: safety, security, and consistent quality.


While contaminated marijuana has never been definitively linked to any deaths, this does not mean that danger of contamination is nonexistent. Molds, mildew, and pesticide residue can have adverse effects, and for some consumers — such as medical marijuana patients with weakened immune systems — they can be serious. States allowing medical and recreational marijuana owe it to their citizens to mandate that all marijuana products pass stringent testing requirements before making it to market in order to minimize the potential harm to consumers. And in cases in which a tainted product slips through, a regulated system will allow authorities to track down the producer and seller(s) of the product to ensure no more of it makes it to store shelves.


As the days of marijuana consumers having to rely on back-alley dealers come to an end, so will the violence associated with back-alley marijuana deals. State regulated dispensaries ensure consumers have access to marijuana in safe, secure locations. Security cameras and controlled access deter and prevent many of the dangers previously associated with purchasing marijuana in the underground market. These security requirements and standards are needed to ensure patients, customers, and products are protected.

Consistent Quality

Product consistency is a huge concern for medical patients and recreational consumers, alike. One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a product in a legal, regulated market is having confidence that the product is what it’s supposed to be and does what it’s supposed to do. For example, Illinois will be requiring cultivators to register strains with the state in an effort to guarantee that patients know exactly what they are getting. And in Colorado, marijuana-infused products are tested to ensure they are consistent not only from one unit to another, but also from one serving to another within the same unit.

Bottom Line

Sensible regulation allows for a happy medium where consumers are protected, but small businesses are not edged out of the market. Regulations do not have to be so over-the-top and onerous that only the largest companies can enter the market. The marijuana industry, just like the alcohol industry, has room for the big players (Anheuser Busch, Miller-Coors, etc.) as well as the smaller ones (micro-breweries). And through reasonable regulations, we can ensure all of these businesses are able not only to exist, but to thrive.

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The Sky Hasn’t Fallen in Alaska

February 26th, 2015
Marijuana officially became legal for adults in Alaska New logo 3a copyas the legalization initiative approved by voters in November took effect on February 24. As we (and state lawmakers) expected, the sky did not fall in The Last Frontier, which is now the third state in the nation to allow adult marijuana use.

Under Ballot Measure 2, it is legal for 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown. It also creates a system of regulated marijuana cultivation and sales — which the state legislature is currently in the process of developing — that will allow for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults. 
The Marijuana Policy Project was the largest backer of the campaign in support of Ballot Measure 2, and we are now working with state and local activists, organizations, and officials to implement the best possible regulatory system. MPP also used “legalization day” as an opportunity to introduce its Consume Responsibly campaign to Alaska. The initial effort entailed ads on the side of city buses in Anchorage reminding adult marijuana consumers that, “With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.
KTUU reports:

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Majority of Coloradans Want to Keep Marijuana Legal

February 25th, 2015

Echoing results from last September, a new poll shows that an even greater percentage of Coloradans are happy with their marijuana laws.

From Denver Post:

More than 13 months after recreational pot sales first started in Colorado, residents of the state still support marijuana legalization by a definitive margin, according to a new Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday.

When asked, “Do you still support or oppose this law?” 58 percent of respondents said they support the pot-legalizing Amendment 64 while 38 percent said they oppose it. Men support legalization (63 percent) more than women (53 percent). And among the 18-34 age demographic, of course, there was more support of legal pot (82 percent) than among voters 55 and older (50 percent against).

The new numbers show a certain kind of progress for legal marijuana in Colorado. In the 2012 election, Amendment 64 passed 54.8 percent to 45.1 percent, and a December 2014 poll by The Denver Post found that more than 90 percent of the respondents who voted in the 2012 election said they would vote the same way today.


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Marijuana Legal In Alaska Today!

February 24th, 2015

Marijuana is officially legal in Alaska today!

Ballot Measure 2, which was approved by 53% of Alaska voters in November, allows adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes, and possess the yield of those plants in the location where it was grown. It will remain illegal to use marijuana in public.

Proponents of Ballot Measure 2 held a news conference in Anchorage today to discuss the implementation of the law, as well as the launch of an ad campaign in the state capital that encourages adults who choose to use marijuana to “consume responsibly.” The ads, which will appear on the sides of Anchorage city buses for the next two weeks, read, “With great marijuana laws comes great responsibility.”AK CR Bus Ad 1 - 800x187

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Congressmen Introduce Bills to Regulate and Tax Marijuana Like Alcohol at the Federal Level

February 20th, 2015

U.S. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced separate bills Friday that would regulate marijuana like alcohol and tax it at the federal level, respectively.

Rep. Polis’s bill would replace the federal government’sUS_Capitol_west_side current marijuana prohibition model with a regulatory model similar to the one in place for alcohol. States would decide their own marijuana laws, and a federal regulatory process would be created for states that choose to regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. Rep. Blumenauer’s bill would tax marijuana at the federal level.

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Vermont Bill to End Marijuana Prohibition Introduced Tuesday

February 18th, 2015

Vermont legislators have a unique opportunity in 2015. Instead of leaving marijuana production and sale in the hands of illicit dealers, they could decide to move forward with legislation that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Sen. David Zuckerman

Yesterday, a bill was introduced in the Senate that would end marijuana prohibition in Vermont. Senator David Zuckerman (P-Hinesburg) introduced S. 95, which would make marijuana legal for adults and allow the state to begin regulating marijuana production and sale. It would also allow adults to cultivate two mature plants in an enclosed, locked facility.

If you are a Vermont resident, please contact your representatives and senators today and ask for their support.

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New Mexico Legislature to Consider Bill to Tax and Regulate Marijuana

February 6th, 2015
Rep. Bill McCamley

Last week, New Mexico State Rep. Bill McCamley introduced HB 160, the Cannabis Revenue & Freedom Act. This bill would treat marijuana similarly to alcohol, allowing adults 21 and over to use, possess, and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana with no penalty. HB 160 would also set up a taxed and regulated market for marijuana production and sale.

While HB 160 is an important reform that should be passed, the New Mexico legislature is also considering another bill that would unfairly target marijuana consumers. HB 120 would declare anyone with an extremely small amount of THC per millimeter of blood guilty of driving under the influence — even if the person could prove they were actually not impaired! Although intoxicated driving should not be tolerated, knee jerk ideas like per se limits are unethical, unnecessary, and not supported by science.

If you are a New Mexico resident, please email your legislators and ask them to support sensible marijuana reform like HB 160.

New York Considering Marijuana Regulation Bill

February 4th, 2015
Senate Liz Krueger
Sen. Liz Krueger

New York State Sen. Liz Krueger, along with four of her colleagues, has introduced SB 1747, the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.

The bill would treat marijuana like alcohol, similar to the laws of Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon, allowing adults to use, possess, and cultivate limited amounts of marijuana with no penalty. The bill would also set up a taxed and regulated market for marijuana production and sale.

If you are a New York resident, please urge your state legislators to support SB 1747 and sensible marijuana policy reform.

Missouri Legislature to Consider Allowing Public Vote on Regulating Marijuana

January 21st, 2015

Missouri State Rep. Brandon Ellington’s HJR 15 would give voters a chance to put an end to the failed experiment of marijuana prohibition, and would replace it with legalization, taxation, and regulation for adults 21 and over.

Brandon Ellington
Rep. Brandon Ellington

A companion bill also sponsored by Rep. Ellington, HB 166, would expunge some marijuana-related convictions if voters approve the constitutional amendment.

The Missouri-based Show-Me Cannabis is also in the process of preparing for a similar voter initiative in 2016. If approved, that measure would not only allow and regulate retail sales for adult use, it would also provide unique protections for medical marijuana patients. In addition, the measure would allow individuals to remove harmful marijuana-related convictions from their records.

In the coming years, there will be several opportunities for Missouri to join the four states that have moved away from failed and wasteful marijuana prohibition policies.

D.C. Councilmembers Introduce Marijuana Regulation Bill

January 13th, 2015

Last week, District of Columbia Councilmember David Grosso and three of his colleagues made it clear that Congressional bullying wasn’t going to stop them from considering a more rational approach to marijuana. On January 6, they quietly introduced legislation to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol.

Councilmember David Grosso

This sensible proposal comes on the heels of voters’ overwhelming vote for Initiative 71, which will make marijuana possession and limited cultivation legal for adults 21 and older when it becomes effective. It also comes just four weeks after Congress approved a spending bill that prohibits the District from spending any money to enact a law to legalize “recreational marijuana” until at least through this summer.

The Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015 would create a framework for a legal and responsible marijuana industry, complete with licensed cultivators, product manufacturers, retail stores, and testing labs. Allowing licensed businesses to grow and sell marijuana to adults 21 and older will create jobs, increase tax revenues, and allow D.C.’s law enforcement to direct their focus on more serious matters. Regulating these businesses means D.C. will know who is selling marijuana, under what conditions, where, and to whom.

If you are a resident of the District of Columbia, please email your councilmembers today and ask them to support B21-0023! Let them know that D.C.’s elected lawmakers, not Congress, should decide District policy. Then, please pass this on to other District residents.