Several states voted to legalize marijuana this past Election Day but the pot business still has a gripe—regulations.
Though decriminalized on some level in 19 states and the District of Columbia (it remains illegal under federal law), marijuana is still subject to regulations that strike some in the industry as micromanagement.
One company that tracks regulations is Cannabiz Media, which publishes the “Marijuana Licensing Reference Guide.” It recently posted a list of what it describes as the “10 weirdest marijuana laws.” For example, in Nevada and Oregon, signage for businesses that sell pot is regulated down to the font size and even font style. Connecticut bans the uses of illuminated signs while Washington, DC, makes it a point to outlaw the sale of pot at gasoline stations or auto repair shops.
Ed Keating, the person who compiled the list, sees such regulations as more than just a nuisance, particularly for medical marijuana dispensaries.
“It’s really hard to comply with these regulations because they are so particular and, in some cases, they just don’t seem to make a lot of sense,” he said. “If you’re a business trying to get medicine to your patients… some of these regulations are very expensive to comply with.”
However, Keating isn’t entirely against regulations and argues that some control would be in the industry’s best interests.
“In a lot of states now, they’re starting to put what an appropriate dosage or amount is to consume,” he said, noting that Maureen Dowd’s 2014 New York Times piece on her overdose of marijuana-infused chocolates showed the dangers of no labeling. “That makes a lot of sense for safety.”
“The other area that has seen a lot of regulatory scrutiny is testing because they want to make sure that if people are consuming this as medicine—or even recreationally—they’re given a safe product,” he continued. “Where it gets dangerous is when people concentrate that product into a liquid, an oil. You’re raising the concentration of everything. So if there are bad chemicals in there, they get much more concentrated and it could be a danger to people. So I think we’ll be seeing even more regulations there.”