Business, News, Politics

California Bill Embraces the Idea of Interstate Cannabis Commerce

March 30, 2022 03:00 pm ET
California Bill Embraces the Idea of Interstate Cannabis Commerce

Imagine that you’re smoking some cannabis from California’s famous Emerald Triangle—but you’re in Missouri. Currently, the only way to do this is to break the law. While it’s legal to purchase cannabis in California, it’s illegal to transport it over state lines. California Senate Bill (SB) 1326 seeks to change this by allowing for interstate cannabis commerce between California and other cannabis-legal states.

What Would SB 1326 Change?

According to the bill’s text, The Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), which established licensing guidelines for medical and adult-use cannabis in California, specifies that licensees cannot transport or distribute cannabis products outside the state. SB 1326’s text states:

“This bill would make an exception to the above-described prohibition and would authorize the Governor to enter into an agreement with another state or states authorizing medicinal or adult-use commercial cannabis activity, or both, between entities licensed under the laws of the other state or states and entities operating with a state license pursuant to MAUCRSA, provided that the commercial cannabis activities are lawful and subject to licensure under the laws of the other state or states.”

One Cause for Concern

Part of SB 1326 reads, “The bill would prohibit an entity with a commercial cannabis license issued under the laws of another state from engaging in commercial cannabis activity within the boundaries of this state without a state license, or within a local jurisdiction without a license, permit, or other authorization issued by local jurisdiction.”

This wording is a bit unsettling, as it gives the appearance that out-of-state cannabis operations could come in and take over small towns. A bill such as SB 1326 could open up doors for other states to be the main suppliers of cannabis for the rest of America. While many states will always have their own in-state cultivators, the idea of importing and exporting cannabis from specific areas is tantalizing to the consumer base.

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Still Many Gray Areas Within Green Markets

Interstate cannabis commerce already exists to some degree, as seen in the case of Empyreal Logistics, a company that transports cash for dispensaries. The case involved legal, licensed cannabis companies in Missouri having their money hijacked by Kansas cops while in transit from Missouri to Colorado. The same situation occurred with the same company in California while transporting large sums of cash along the state’s highways. A bill such as SB 1326 could eliminate this type of behavior in the future altogether.

One of the biggest concerns with interstate cannabis commerce is quality control. States would require that cannabis and cannabis products from other states meet or exceed their own state requirements, which could cause problems if the products are coming from a state with lower requirements.

Perhaps SB 1326 could help usher in an era in which the U.S. prioritizes cannabis quality standards for all jurisdictions. If passed, this bill could pave the way for other states to follow. It’s exciting to think that more states neighbor cannabis-legal states each other than ever before. With so many state economies struggling, it would only make sense for states to embrace interstate cannabis commerce.

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