There’s A Wee Bit Of A Problem With Lost Federales Decriminalizing Marijuana

All the legalize marijuana advocates out there might be in for a rude surprise (again, I couldn’t care less one way or the other about it being legal)

The real problem with U.S. marijuana regulation ‘not from federal illegality,’ WeedMaps CEO says

The House voted to decriminalize marijuana and remove it from the list of banned controlled substances at the federal level on Friday. Now the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act will move to the Senate, where it is unlikely to attain the 60 votes needed to pass.

And while the passage of the MORE Act would certainly expand cannabis markets in the U.S., Weedmaps CEO Chris Beals thinks that a bigger obstacle lies in the 37 states where the substance is already legal for adult use.

“The single biggest issue facing legalized cannabis markets… is that there’s just not enough licenses,” Beals told Yahoo Finance Live (video above), adding that consumers are still choosing the illicit market over the legal one “by a four-to-one ratio.”

As a result, “a lot of the harm that’s being inflicted is not from the federal illegality,” Beals said, “It’s from states not issuing enough licenses because the biggest correlating factor to these high illicit market rates is you have to drive too far or there’s not enough robust competition on pricing or product selection.”

Did you get that? This whole thing is really based on needing states giving out licenses to vendors, and increasing those numbers and having lots and lots of vendors, rather than all the illegal growers. And even federal licenses. Why? I usually hate using Wikipedia, but, it’s put succinctly

  • Creates cannabis tax and grant programs funded by a 5% tax on cannabis products (excluding prescription medications derived from cannabis)
  • Community Reinvestment Grant Program providing services for “individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs“, including job training, health education, mentoring, literacy programs, and substance use treatment programs
  • Cannabis Opportunity Program providing funds for eligible states to make loans to assist small businesses in the cannabis industry that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals
  • An Equitable Licensing Grant Program providing funds for eligible states to develop and implement equitable cannabis licensing programs that “minimize barriers to cannabis licensing and employment for individuals most adversely impacted by the War on Drugs

It’s all about the money. States already have their own tax and fee programs in place, and keep raising them, hence why there’s a pretty active black market. Now, the feds want in on the sales. I mean, I don’t blame them, but, how many products have a federal sales tax? There are some, like tobacco, airline tickets, and alcohol, for which the feds made a cool $100 billion.

Sure, there’s some element of Democrats trying to give a boon to their base, but, that’s a sidebar: it’s mostly about the money. Most of their base will have zero idea. It’s rather cynical.

BTW, if states do not want to decriminalize it, they don’t have to. Same with states who will keep it legal for medical only.

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