Cannabis Legalization is More Complicated Than You May Think
January 12, 2021 03:30 pm ET
Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
It is inevitable that some form of rescheduling of cannabis is going to happen, but many do not seem to be familiar with the process of how legalization occurs. The recent success of the MORE Act passing the House led many to believe that cannabis was officially decriminalized in the U.S., however, this was not the case. The MORE Act did not decriminalize cannabis, yet. The House may have passed the legislation, but the MORE Act still has to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president of the United States. This will not take place until possibly sometime in 2021. In order for legalization to pass at a federal level, legislation must be approved by the majority of the House of Representatives, the majority of votes within the Senate, and signed by the President before it can become law.
The Freedom to Create Confusion
When cannabis is removed from the 1972 Controlled Substance Act, essentially becoming legalized, the federal government will leave the decision to states as to how to govern cannabis legalization. They will have the option of legalizing adult-use recreational cannabis as well as medical only, just as we have seen with the 33 states with legal markets in place. The choices that will be allowed will also give cities the power to determine whether they will participate in cannabis legalization or not, something that has occurred in many states with legal markets.
A great example of how a state with both medical and recreational cannabis can become dysfunctional is Colorado. In the state of Colorado, an adult 21 years of age or over with valid state-issued identification can legally purchase cannabis from a recreational dispensary in the state. You just better hope that you are in an area such as Pueblo or Denver, and not in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs does not participate in the adult-use recreational cannabis program legalized by the state. The only way you have access to cannabis in Colorado Springs, Colorado, without driving to another city is via a state-issued med card.
Just Because a State Legalizes Doesn’t Mean its Cities Will Follow
Many people are confused as to how a dispensary can be in a legal state yet choose not to serve them. This is a common confusion with visitors from out of state. Those who live in the state who choose to get medical cards, typically do so in order to save money. Cannabis is much cheaper when purchased using a med card in Colorado than it is if you purchase it on the recreational side of the market. Michigan is another state that has a bit of a cannabis conundrum when it comes to where you can and can’t buy it. This could become an increasing issue that could be avoided early, saving untold amounts of financial revenue.
To help shed more light on this subject, I reached out to Jamie Cooper with Sensi Connects regarding the mess this caused in Michigan. After many cities, municipalities, and townships created their own rules regarding cannabis and some even opting out, Jamie Cooper is the perfect person to get firsthand insight from as she is right in the heart of it all there in Michigan. When asked about cannabis legalization in the state of Michigan and the rules and confusion that comes with it she stated the following;
“There are only 85 out of more than 1,700 municipalities that have opted in to allow for adult-use in Michigan. Still today, there is a ton of policy work that needs to be done in our communities. A lot of times, those who make decisions just don’t truly understand the opportunities that exist by allowing these businesses. A lot of cannabis businesses truly want to give back to their community. And why say no to that? Especially considering that cannabis businesses in the opted-in municipality next door can legally deliver cannabis to the communities surrounding them that have not opted in.”
As you can see with this example, not only can this cause confusion, but it can also cause communities to miss out on revenue produced by the legal cannabis markets.
America Should be About Freedom and Equal Rights for All
We live in America, which is supposed to be a free country. This means if you see something you don’t like, you have the right to look the other way, scroll past it, turn the channel, do whatever it takes but understand that freedom isn’t one way. It means equal rights and opportunity for ALL. Citizens shouldn’t have to be forced to uproot their lives and relocate as medical refugees to states that do offer medical cannabis programs. It should be available as an option for everyone. Hopefully, we are on the doorstep of a new era, and the age of Aquarius will help usher in cannabis legalization so that we can move on to more pressing issues that need attention. But sometimes it seems as if they try to pull the wool over our eyes so as to prevent us from focusing on things happening around us.
As an American citizen, it seems unfair that our nation’s capital Washington DC has legal access to cannabis and even decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms, yet there are cities and states across our country still where Americans do not enjoy the same freedoms given to the capital of our nation. America should be about freedom and equal rights for all.
The MORE Act has definitely put the spotlight on cannabis legalization. It is time for our political leaders to make right the wrongs of yesteryear. There will definitely be a lot of work ahead in helping shape the nation’s cannabis legalization program. In the meanwhile, we can expect many bumps and potholes along the highway to legal cannabis.
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