Will we see legal interstate commerce for plant-touching businesses before we see federal legalization?
Matt Regusci | Technical Director | Cannabis Safety & Quality
Interstate commerce is the reason we don’t have federal legalization. It makes no business or environmental sense to build indoor farms in the Midwest and Northeast when it would be MUCH less expensive and better for the environment to grow cannabis outdoors in Washington, Oregon, California and the southern states. Millions in licenses, infrastructure, jobs and taxes are being generated in states where it’s not sustainable to grow cannabis. Liberal and conservative states agree that cannabis legalization and the walls of interstate commerce being lifted is not good for State Cannabis Business, so, they’ll push to make [state] cannabis business legit through initiatives like the SAFE Act, but not for full legalization.
Kristi Palmer | Co-Founder | Kiva Confections
It’s possible. Federal legalization seems like it’s 10 years off. The state-by-state model is incredibly inefficient and expensive not only for businesses but for the states as they establish, staff and maintain their own cannabis programs. We have already seen states act in the absence of federal permissibility, so interstate commerce could be another way that states evolve their cannabis programs while our country lags in its federal program. Instead of sweeping cannabis reform, we could certainly see this kind of incrementality get us further toward the goal of legalization over time.
JM Balbuena | Author | The Successful Canna-preneur
The simple answer is no. To legalize interstate commerce for plant-touching businesses, the federal government has to de-schedule cannabis or remove it from the Controlled Substances Act. Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that state laws that unduly restrict interstate commerce are prohibited by the dormant commerce clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution). There has been some progress on this front with the Ninth Circuit decision in May 2019, but it is doubtful to expect interstate commerce of cannabis prior to full federal legalization.
Kim Stuck | CEO | Allay Consulting
There have been discussions of states having laws passed that allow THC cannabis sales from one state to another, but as of right now nothing has been solidified. It is possible that [bordering states] may be able to sell back and forth eventually with some good law-writing. However, the states that would most benefit from buying from other states would be states that are far apart, not those that are right next to each other. Since this would be a complicated endeavor, it is unlikely that we are going to see this before federal legalization occurs.