The contradictions inherent in American cannabis laws seem to appear in the news almost every week.
At the state level, for example, Virginia recently became the last jurisdiction to allow adult cannabis use, effective July 1. But a few days later, a the court upheld U.S. federal tax laws treating state-licensed cannabis companies as illegal drug traffickers.
To resolve conflicts like this, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he will introduce legislation to “decriminalize” cannabis at the federal level.
In drafting his bill, he should be inspired by Canada. Congress could be too divided for full legalization this year, but it may begin to offer the clarity offered by Canada’s approach.
Congressional action is clearly needed, as federal law has lagged behind in the efforts of states in three ways.
First, legalization at the state level means that the laws of each state are different.
As a result, state-licensed companies face operational inefficiencies and fragmented markets. And state-authorized medical users can be arrested in another.
Second, cannabis remains illegal at the federal level even when states legalize it. This means state-licensed cannabis companies they have trouble getting bank accounts and financing, forcing them to operate primarily in cash. This makes them the main targets of the robbery.
In the meantime, consumers cannot legally carry state-authorized cannabis through state lines. many do.
Federal illegality also impedes the investigation. He Senate Drug Caucus i various federal agencies they have made it clear that they want more cannabis studies. But the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) only allows one university grow cannabis for research. It has stopped federal licensing of new producers and the state-licensed cannabis-blocked investigation.
Third, the U.S. government is inconsistent with the application.
In comparison, Canada’s approach is clearer.
The clarity of Canada
The government wants legal products to attract existing users without encouraging new ones, so it allows for a variety of products.
But there is little advertising and the packaging is simple.
Medical sales are regulated nationally. Doctors can authorize cannabis treatments and patients can grow plants themselves or buy products from authorized growers.
This system allows companies to ship cannabis across provincial borders and integrate their operations across the country. They can accept credit cards and list shares on the stock exchanges.
It also allows public agencies to support cannabis-related activities. This creates some interesting cross-border contrasts:
The legalization of Canada it has not been impeccable. Lack of product initially hampered sales. But once they lighten up, sales it grew as fast as stores could open. https://www.youtube.com/embed/v26yMNWTxdc?wmode=transparent&start=0 Research shows that legal sales increased as supplies improved and stores opened. The Goodman School of Business.
Prices went down as competition increased. In Ontario, retail prices now starts below $ 4 per gram ($ 3 per gram), taxes included. This undermines many illicit sellers.
Legal sales now represent more Canadian use. This is a dramatic change away from illicit markets.
The political climate also changed. Cannabis was barely mentioned during Canada’s 2019 election campaign. Voters have accepted that cannabis is legal.
Canada illustrates the merits of full national legalization. However, what worked in Canada may not work in the United States Congress, it may not pursue full legalization this year. But it can begin to give Americans more clarity that Canadians enjoy.
He SECURITY Banking Law it is only a first step in this direction. If approved by the U.S. Senate, it will help cannabis companies access bank accounts, insurance, and credit cards. But more measures are needed to allow for standard federal tax deductions, stock quotes, and interstate shipments.
Congress should also adopt cannabis research. Veterans Affairs and the DEA should support scientific projects, including studies of commercial cannabis products.
Replacing temporary provisions with permanent laws is another priority. Medical access should not depend on annual vote riots. Business continuity should not last preferences of attorneys general.
Decriminalization, as Schumer puts it, can only be better than nothing. However, letting Americans use cannabis legally, but not buying it legally, can create more problems than it solves. And it would not remove banking and research barriers.
Cannabis policy is not easy: every option involves compensation. Canada proceeded in stages and now has a three-year lead to find the best approach. Congress should also begin that path.
Michael J. Armstrong, Associate Professor of Operations Research, Goodman School of Business, Brock University i Paul Seaborn, Associate Professor, Department of Management, Daniels College of Business, University of Virginia