• Emily Drayton, Staff Writer

Alliance for Sensible Markets

We’ve covered several versions of the story about cannabis and environmental sustainability. Many thoughtful people agree that the environmental footprint of cannabis is NOT the industry or the plant, it’s regulations.


Regulations don’t allow cannabis to cross state lines and therefore mandate that cannabis must be grown in states where it doesn’t naturally grow well (looking at you, far-northern states) or have a long enough growing season to fulfill the demand in that state (looking at you, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts...). Therefore, unsustainable methods are employed that use a lot of energy and contribute to climate change, or demand a lot of water in states that have a 1,200 year drought on their hands.


On the subject of economic sustainability, the industry suffers from regulation schemes that are too complex, or expensive, or restrict the number of license; and taxation that is too high and favors large operators…


A new cannabis industry group called The Alliance for Sensible Markets has been formed that points out:


“... legal industries are state-siloed. But cannabis doesn’t grow equally well, or efficiently, or sustainably in all parts of the country. This means that many legal and legalizing states are stuck building entire production industries that will largely become non-competitive and fail when the walls do finally come down. They are creating an entirely avoidable production bubble that will help no one except perhaps the few large companies that can afford spend millions to get factory production up and running first and make their ROI before the walls come down."


Therefore, The Alliance it has three things on its agenda:

  1. Ask the governors of established producer states California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington to seek guidance from the US Department of Justice on the agency’s stance should two or more medical or adult-use states decide to regulate commerce between themselves. WWDoJD?

  2. Engage stakeholders and policymakers in legal and legalizing medical and adult use states that would benefit from access to an established, competitive, world class supply chain.

  3. Advocate for and help to shape a bi-lateral or multi-lateral agreement on a regulatory framework for commerce now, without waiting years for federal legalization.

THE DEEPER DIVE

So what is the Alliance actually doing?


“The Alliance for Sensible Markets campaign is currently circulating a sign-on letter for those interested in putting pressure on the governors of California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington to make the request. The plan is to collect endorsements from additional stakeholders over the coming weeks and send the letter to the governors in mid-December.


Previously, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed a bill in 2019 that would allow for interstate commerce if federal law allowed it. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer and Senator Ron Wyden filed a similar bill, but it did not advance. “The Justice Department described such activity as an enforcement priority even under a now-rescinded Obama-era memo intended to generally respect state marijuana policies.”


THE LOOP BACK

On the Alliance’s website, partners include NORML, The Weed for Warriors Project, The Colorado Cannabis Manufacturers Association, The Cannabis Alliance of Washington State, and our favorite: State of Cannabis.

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