If you think the border between Colorado and Utah is a heavily guarded fence, a new study suggests that it’s nothing compared to the legal challenges that come once you start shipping marijuana. The study was conducted by two researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley, who concluded that due to a murky set of federal regulations regarding the transportation of the plant, marijuana could be on its way to your doorstep before you know it.
If you live in a state where cannabis is legal, you can have your flower mailed to you from another state, and there’s no reason you can’t just get mail order seeds, as well. In fact, you’ve probably done that before, as it’s pretty common to want to grow your own for personal use, or if you just don’t want to hassle with growing weed at home and want to buy it. However, it seems that there may be a new way to have your drug shipped to you, one that doesn’t require you to buy anything on a website. Instead, you just have to have someone send you the seeds in the mail.
It appears the US Postal Service is doing more than just delivering packages next to the curb. The agency is now allowing packages to travel through the postal system without a signature, as long as they don’t contain drugs.
It contradicts popular belief that the federal prohibition of marijuana allows legalization states to discriminate against foreigners in their local cannabis marketplaces.
“Interstate Commerce in Cannabis,” a Vanderbilt legal article published in the Boston University Law Review, reveals that exporting cannabis to neighboring states may already be legal, and the cannabis business faces more plot twists ahead.
The latest legal analysis from Robert Mikos of Vanderbilt Law might be classified as “the day the world stood still” in science fiction. To summarize Mikos’ legal analysis of the existing marijuana business, he comes to the following conclusions:
Because of the US Constitution’s Dormant Commerce Clause (DCC), interstate commerce is very certainly already lawful.
The abstract reads as follows:
It contradicts popular belief that the federal prohibition of marijuana allows legalization states to discriminate against foreigners in their local cannabis marketplaces. It also disproves state arguments for discrimination, such as the claim that prohibiting interstate trade is essential to avoid a federal crackdown on state-licensed cannabis businesses. The Essay finds that the current limitations on interstate cannabis trade imposed by legalization states are likely in violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause (DCC). The Essay also considers the implications of this legal decision for the cannabis market’s future in the United States.
Due to economies of scale and bulk pricing, full legalization will result in an industry with a few dominating companies.
Places with lower labor and power costs will see an increase in job creation and business volume, whereas areas with higher labor and fixed costs will see employment growth and migration to lower-cost states. The abstract reads as follows:
It indicates that if states do not build obstacles to safeguard local businesses, a new breed of big, global cannabis companies centered in a few cannabis-friendly states would likely dominate the market. This trend may reduce the motivation for future states to legalize marijuana, as well as minority involvement in the business. Because individual states have little ability to influence the national market and the companies that compete in it, federal action may be required to address these issues.
Because governments only have so much ability to establish “protective” commercial channels for these applicants, full legalization will be a step backwards for social justice and economic empowerment movements…
…and the federal government would have to step in and assist if genuine increase for SE and EE candidates is to be observed.
State laws prohibiting foreigners from owning or participating in the cannabis industry would almost certainly face legal challenges…
…as places like Maine have already shown. Federal fair-trade practices and interstate commerce laws will invalidate the state’s discriminatory acts in limiting licenses to residents exclusively. The following is taken from the paper’s conclusion:
The state rules that support these local businesses, on the other hand, are legally suspect. Under the DCC, the discriminatory limitations that states have placed on cannabis interstate trade are likely unlawful. For one reason, the DCC’s nondiscrimination default standards have not been suspended by Congress. The federal prohibition on all marijuana trade simply does not allow legalization states the right to discriminate against cannabis companies and investors from other states. Furthermore, governments lack a genuine legal justification for prohibiting interstate cannabis trade while allowing intrastate cannabis commerce. To summarize, to the degree that governments legalize cannabis trade, they will very certainly have to treat foreign businesses and investors on a same basis with residents.
If you work in the industry, you’ve probably heard of some of the paper’s findings concerning big MSOs and economies of scale taking over. State laws governing municipal ownership have previously been challenged in court and found to be unconstitutional. Yes, complete legalization may leave social justice and economic empowerment candidates in the dust unless the federal government intervenes.
What happens if cannabis’s margins have a “race to the bottom,” where grow operations relocate to cheaper locations based on labor costs, energy, and water, when federal legalization in the United States reaches the United Nations? Yes, regions with lower labor and production costs may gain marijuana employment, but what happens when countries with far lower labor and production costs, such as Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Costa Rica, start exporting their cannabis? It will be a worldwide race to the bottom, not a race to the bottom in the United States. The United States may not be the world’s largest or greatest cannabis producer, based on how crops, vegetables, auto components, timber, and other foreign companies operate.
When the United States officially legalizes the plant, the United Nations’ drug treaties will have to be changed, and 163 other nations will be allowed to produce and export cannabis without fear of being prosecuted by the US court or financial systems.
Can cannabis growers in the Emerald Triangle produce marijuana at a lower cost than those in Mexico, just south of San Diego? No, according to conventional thinking.
Will a cannabis business purposefully transport cannabis over a state border and record it in order to dispute the legal standing that, despite being a Schedule 1 substance, marijuana cannot cross state boundaries under the CSA’s Schedule 1 rules? Schumer’s recent presentation of the CACO legalization measure is unlikely to change that. The cannabis business will wait to see how the bill’s voting and lobbying proceed; many are hoping for a pleasant surprise, especially with Amazon and conservative billionaire Charles Koch now backing cannabis legalization.
Time will tell if anybody knowingly sends cannabis with the purpose of being caught and successfully challenging the Schedule 1 regulations under the Dormant Commerce Clause, but if you are caught selling cannabis and shipping it via the mail or UPS, I would present this legal document to my attorneys.
The document is a simple 40-page read that you can get here, and it is written in a way that non-lawyers can comprehend. It’s a must-read for cannabis fans and pro-cannabis legal activists both.
As many of you know, there are more and more states that are passing laws to legalize marijuana. Now, some people have been asking if marijuana is legal at the federal level. The answer, due to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, is yes, it is legal. Even though the cannabis industry is still illegal at a federal level, federal laws are highly inconsistent and that’s why the economic benefits of shipping marijuana are so high.. Read more about is marijuana a concurrent power and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- commerce clause
- interstate commerce
- supremacy clause
- dormant commerce clause
- 10th amendment