(Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on Canna Law Blog; Daniel Shortt blogs there and is also a student in the Cannabis Law & Policy Project at UW Law)
Despite legalization, cannabis can still lead to criminal liability.
In most states with state-legal cannabis, an illicit cannabis market still flourishes. In many of those states, a large portion of growing, processing, selling, and buying still occurs outside the state-legal regulatory system. This illicit market for cannabis stretches across the nation and impacts both states with and without state-legal cannabis. Before state-legalization, all cannabis was grown, processed, sold, and bought illicitly, and in about half the states, that is still the case. The Canna Law Blog has previously written about how cannabis state-legalization impacts the illicit market. This post further examines how the state-legal and illicit cannabis markets interact.
By Jason Liu, second-year student at the University of Washington School of Law.
Now is a critical time for the public to comment on Washington State marijuana product compliance regulations that will come effect in 2016. Per an email sent out by the Department of Health (DoH):
“On October 5, 2015, the Department of Health filed emergency rules related to requirements for certain marijuana products. These rules are required by 2SSB 5052 (section 10) and 2ESSHB 2136 (section 207) to ensure patients have access to tested, reliable products after the medical and regulated markets are merged on July 1, 2016.”
DoH has issued emergency rules on pesticides, marijuana testing, safe handling, and employee training, while also beginning the official rule making process. The public comment period for the rule making has begun and stakeholder meetings are being scheduled. More information on the DoH rule making process generally can be found here.
This a critical opportunity to preview DoH’s expectations on marijuana product standards and ask questions regarding the potential impacts on producers, processors, and retailers.
In 2012, Washington voters passed Initiative 502 (I-502), establishing legal marijuana for recreational use. However, the term “legal marijuana” is a misnomer. Marijuana is not ever truly legal in the United States as the Federal Controlled Substance Act (CSA) explicitly prohibits the possession or sale of marijuana. The CSA classifies controlled substances in a series of schedules, with Schedule I substances seen to have a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. 21 U.S.C.A. § 812(b)(1). Marijuana is classified under Schedule I and remains illegal under federal law.
Photo by Nicolas Raymond, used under Creative Commons License
The UW Law Cannabis Law and Policy Project (CLPP) provides thought leadership on the responsible development of recreational and medical marijuana industries in Washington State and across the country. While housed in the law school, we draw on experts from across campus to deliver research and recommendations on statutes and regulations governing the commercial marijuana, cannabis and hemp industries.
CLPP faculty, staff and students deliver research and education on this fast-moving area. We have particular expertise in legal and regulatory issues confronting the emerging cannabis and hemp industries including: business law; food, drug and cosmetics law; tax, intellectual property, banking regulations, environmental and agricultural regulations; criminal law; attorney ethics rules and constitutional law.
This blog will keep you up to date on the latest developments at CLPP and in marijuana, cannabis, and hemp law and policy–especially in state-legalized recreational and medical marijuana systems.
We hope you find this blog useful and that you check back often.