Eight years in the cannabis industry has brought more than grey hair, a divorce, the opportunity to create and sell a few companies and chronic heartburn. This experience has given me the chance to see trends and patterns develop as this industry gains legitimacy and evolves from shady, unspoken skunk “safety-meetings”, to a commonplace cure-all medicine and alcohol replacement.
I have watched as seed-to-sale tracking provided state governments with the mechanism to receive addictive tax revenue necessary to assure that cannabis prohibition is over. It is no longer a question of if, but when… and how.
Today we have 30 states and the District of Columbia with unique compliance guidelines for the growth, processing and distribution of cannabis. When you include hemp and CBD, that number jumps to 43 states that violate the Controlled Substances Act. At some point we will have interstate commerce. Given our current government’s inability to take federal leadership on this topic, there seems only one way forward.
Cannabis prohibition will end like alcohol prohibition ended. The federal government eventually will tell states to develop their own regulation scheme for cannabis, and interstate commerce will be overseen by the former bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the ATF. I imagine this will be re-named Firearms, Alcohol, Cannabis and Tobacco.. or FACT (Governments love acronyms and this one is too good to pass up.)
I anticipate that two tracts for distribution and taxation will develop simultaneously. The federal government will finally recognize that cannabis is a medicine and will authentically fund research using actual quality cannabis grown from the industry and not the University of Mississippi. Medical cannabis will become pharmaceutical-ized, put in pills, inhalers and any other medically suitable packaging. Components of this plant will be added to hundreds of medicines.
Simultaneously, states that allow adult use will develop their own interstate commerce agreements for distribution. If I am right, this will follow the alcohol model and we will find distributors involved in interstate commerce and international trade. Yes, American grown cannabis will be shipped worldwide. The U.S. will finally export oil that everyone will enjoy. Cannabis oil!
The distribution model is already envisioned in the future California regulation scheme and it is the only model that can handle the millions of tons of unregulated cannabis currently grown for the “medical” market in California. The California government wisely wants to embrace, tax and regulate for health and safety the existing growers rather than forcing them all to the black market or the unemployment line, or jail.
This will cause a problem down the road when California-grown cannabis does not test clean for pesticide use, which will flood the black market. But it will also provide the mechanism for taxation and safety regulation that cannot be accomplished in California using seed-to-sale tracking.
Building a distribution model similar to alcohol also serves California, because they know all about wine distribution and they will remain the largest producer of cannabis for the foreseeable future. If any state wants to distribute cannabis worldwide, its California.
I may be wrong about the FACT, but I am not wrong about the truth that cannabis is a medicine – and I am not wrong about the reality that this liberty will not be taken away again.
Mark Goldfogel is an entrepreneur, consultant, writer, and speaker. He is credited with having first proposed “Seed to Sale Tracking” as a means of diversion control, taxation, and health and human safety to the State of Colorado. He co-founded the cannabis industry’s first compliance inventory control system and was a key advisor to The Fourth Corner Credit Union, a financial institution with a banking charter to support the “Hemp and Cannabis Movement.” He has advised States, non-industry companies wishing to enter the industry, and startup companies capitalizing on the opportunities and avoiding the potholes of the budding cannabis industries. For a free copy of his book, Smoking Something, The Cannabis Paradox10, (Amazon $24.20) please send an email to [email protected]
Excellent article,…thanks Mark.
Thanks so much.
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