Growing Your Cannabis Business in a Regulatory Firestorm

Until cannabis is legalized at the federal level, companies working with marijuana-based products will continue to face regulatory burdens that make conducting business rather difficult. Every week, I hear of a new hurdle for patients and companies, these roadblocks leave cannabis businesses at risk for regulatory action.

A strong business strategy for those producing, selling, promoting, and providing cannabis, whether it is recreational or medicinal, is to get involved with state legislators who are creating business guidelines. Far too often, companies wait until proposed rules are up for a vote to get involved. This leads not only to a significant amount of stress and last minute scrambling, but the fall out from burdensome regulations can kill cannabis businesses all together. If your company doesn’t have someone paying attention to your state’s legislative and administrative actions of cannabis regulation, you have a major problem.

It is important to protect your intellectual property, have properly executed contracts, put plans in place to protect patient data, and form a solid business plan. However, this means little if these contracts, agreements, and plans are not being reviewed by an attorney who understands the complexities of state regulatory actions and legislation on the horizon. Your business should be able to adapt to the ever evolving world of cannabis, and so should your legal counsel.

New Jersey May Move to Full Cannabis Legalization

Exciting news coming from the state legislature in New Jersey this week, after Senate President Steve Sweeney said he may be able to pass legislation to legalize recreational marijuana (New Jersey already has a medicinal cannabis program). 

Politico ran a story highlighting the upcoming challenges for the Jersey legislature, including figuring out the appropriate tax levels to discourage the black market, expunging criminal convictions for marijuana-related offenses, and possibly adding opioid addiction to the list of conditions under the state's medicinal cannabis program. 

It will be interesting to see how the proposed legislation plays out. Sweeney has expressed interest to work with Republicans, who have supported the medicinal but not recreational push. Hopefully, patients in New Jersey will have greater access to cannabis-based products and not be taxed to death for them. The proposed 25% tax rate from Governor Phil Murphy is extreme, and hurts low income patients who may not qualify for the medicinal program. 

Let's hope New Jersey takes the time to do this correctly, it is better to take the time to write great law, than rush and spend years trying to change it.