Regulating Cannabis Interstate Commerce: Perspectives on How the Federal Government Should Respond

Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 722, 2022

Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August, 2022

11 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2022

See all articles by Jeremy Berke

Jeremy Berke

Independent

Shaleen Title

Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University

Scott Bloomberg

University of Maine School of Law

Geoffrey Lawrence

Independent

Adam J. Smith

Independent

Date Written: August 11, 2022

Abstract

Much has been written and debated about why the US federal government should or should not legalize cannabis for adults to consume. Now that nineteen states have legalized recreational or adult-use cannabis and thirty-eight states in total have legalized medical cannabis, the conversation has shifted into a nuanced discussion of how to legalize cannabis, not whether to. And the framework that consumers, industry participants, researchers, doctors, patients, and anyone else impacted by the rapidly shifting regulatory structure of state-legal cannabis operate under is not working. Established companies with multibillion-dollar market caps are frozen out of the US financial system. Many prospective small business owners are locked out of checking accounts, getting loans at favorable rates, and the other nuts-and-bolts of creating sustainable businesses. These problems differentially affect minorities and other entrepreneurs from communities harmed by the near half-century old War on Drugs. On top of that, some well-capitalized firms have taken advantage of this patchwork system, creating near-monopolies in some states that have been shown to be detrimental to consumers and the stated goals of the legalization movement.

Creating a legal, sensible cannabis industry from the ground up is difficult work. One of the key challenges is how the federal government should rectify the ongoing conflict between state and federal law by regulating the interstate commerce of cannabis. This paper presents different perspectives on how the federal government should respond. The authors agree that federal legalization is perhaps inevitable. They also agree that the current patchwork of state legalization isn’t tenable. Some disagree on nuances and what mechanisms should be tweaked to ensure that the industry is built in a way that’s both fair and competitive for everyone.

Keywords: interstate commerce, cannabis industry, marijuana reform, regulatory structures, social equity

Suggested Citation

Berke, Jeremy and Title, Shaleen and Bloomberg, Scott and Lawrence, Geoffrey and Smith, Adam J., Regulating Cannabis Interstate Commerce: Perspectives on How the Federal Government Should Respond (August 11, 2022). Ohio State Legal Studies Research Paper No. 722, 2022, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, August, 2022, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4188089 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4188089

Jeremy Berke

Independent

Shaleen Title (Contact Author)

Distinguished Cannabis Policy Practitioner in Residence, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center, Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Scott Bloomberg

University of Maine School of Law ( email )

246 Deering Avenue
Portland, ME 04102
United States

Geoffrey Lawrence

Independent

Adam J. Smith

Independent

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