Just two weeks ago, an announcement was made that could have major consequences for the California cannabis market. The California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) asked for a formal opinion from the California state attorney general’s office on whether allowing interstate cannabis commerce would put the state at ‘significant risk’ of federal enforcement action. “Last year, a law was passed which would authorize California to start interstate commerce as long as one of four qualifications were met to activate it. One of those four qualifications is the attorney general affirming that there wouldn’t be a significant risk in doing so,” explains Graham Farrar, President of Glass House Farms. “Now, the DCC did not only ask for his formal opinion, they also spelled out what exactly they believed his opinion should be and why.”
The third phase of legalization
“With California being the biggest U.S. cannabis market, selling $5 billion of legal cannabis per year, interstate commerce would have a massive impact,” Graham says. “As 100% of all cannabis legalization progress has been led by the states themselves, there is no reason to think it will be any different when it comes to interstate commerce,” Graham explains that he sees interstate commerce as the third phase of cannabis legalization in the United States. “The first phase started in 1996 when California was the first state in the nation to legalize medical cannabis. The second phase started in 2012 when Colorado and Washington legalized adult-use cannabis. Now, interstate commerce marks the third phase,” Graham says.
Most importantly, interstate commerce would be great for the consumer, according to Graham. “We’ve heard consumers in New Jersey, for example, complaining about the cannabis being low quality and expensive. If only there were a place with lots of high-quality cannabis that was available for a good price. Luckily, such a place exists; California. California is an agricultural powerhouse with the perfect climate to produce high-quality sun-grown cannabis. We’ve got a lot of great farmers here, but they can only reach a limited audience without interstate commerce.”
California is not the first state to initiate these developments. Some other states, such as Oregon, Washington State, Washington DC, and New Jersey, have also taken the first steps to possibly allow interstate commerce. “With even more states now thinking about it, it shows that there is a widespread interest in interstate cannabis commerce.” When it comes to California, there is, luckily a very high likelihood of the attorney general agreeing, Graham says. “California’s attorney general is Rob Bonta, who has been very pro-cannabis and had an influential role in California’s legalization. Therefore, it’s very difficult to imagine him not agreeing with the DCC when it comes to interstate commerce. Hopefully, we will hear his conclusion within the next six months.”
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