Bigger is Not Better: Preventing Monopolies in the National Cannabis Market
Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 678
Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, 2022
12 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 26, 2022
It is a crucial and vulnerable moment for the future of the cannabis market. While states are making historic progress creating paths for small businesses and disenfranchised groups, larger companies are expanding, consolidating, and lobbying for licensing rules to create or maintain oligopolies. Federal legalization will only accelerate the power grab already happening with new, larger conglomerates openly expressing interest. Left unchecked, this scramble for market share threatens to undermine public health and safety and undo bold state-level efforts to build an equitable cannabis marketplace. This paper argues for intentionally applying well-developed antitrust principles to federal cannabis reform now, before monopolization of the market takes place, and offers eight concrete policy recommendations.
Keywords: monopoly, oligopoly, antitrust, federal cannabis legislation, marijuana industry, cannabis regulations, corporate influence, public health and safety, social equity, diversity in cannabis, marijuana legalization and regulation
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