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Marijuana Industry Hopes for Regulatory Stability in 2017

Marijuana is legal in most states but illegal federally, a complex situation made even less certain with a new President taking office.

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Legalization of marijuana in host of new states has raised hopes in the cannabis industry that a more stable regulatory environment could emerge in 2107, according to an industry trade association. In a report issued at the end of 2016, the Cannabis Business Alliance offered a recap of the victories for the legal marijuana industry in 2016 and looked ahead to possible issues in the New Year.

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Mark Malone, executive director of the CBA, said the industry hopes to see more uniform regulation for the industry. That, in turn, will help the industry grow and aid law enforcement in policing the legal cannabis industry.

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“Rules are changing too fast and too often. Now that Colorado’s adult-use market has a couple of years under its belt, the industry would like to see stability in rules so that law enforcement can regulate industry in a more efficient way,” Malone said in a prepared statement.  “The industry also wants to see more in-depth research that properly codes cannabis sources, so we can decipher between the regulated market and the black market.”

Marijuana issues in the New Year.

The CBA also offered a look ahead at some of the issues that could face the industry in 2017. They start with President-elect Donald Trump, who has raised concerns in the cannabis industry that he could rollback gains made in legalized marijuana.

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President Trump

As with many issues, President-elect Trump’s exact views on legalized marijuana remain unknown. Some have concerns about Trump’s nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a long-time marijuana opponent, as attorney general. CBA said it “looks forward” to working with the administration and will emphasize that the legal cannabis business:

  • Is compliant with local laws
  • Creates thousands of jobs
  • Generates tax revenue for states
  • Fits into the long-held Republican belief in states’ rights

Potency education

The CBA likens attempts to regulate the potency of marijuana products to limiting the alcohol content in all liquor to “3.2 percent beer.” The association plans to continue work on educating consumers on why various levels of potency remain necessary. For example, some with chronic pain might want a higher level of potency than someone using marijuana for other health problems.

The CBA argues that the level of potency needed for medical marijuana users is a matter best left to patient and doctor. They have issued a long list of myths about marijuana potency. Those include the idea that marijuana is more potent today than it was years ago.

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New testing rules

Currently, marijuana products that fail pesticide testing end up destroyed. The CBA supports a move that would allow harvest batches of marijuana to be turned into solvent-based concentrates if they fail the test and regulators otherwise consider them to be safe. Such a move could save the industry millions, according to the CBA.

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