The Big Idea
This is a big year for cannabis legalization in the United States. Later this fall, voters in California, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada will decide whether or not to legalize recreational marijuana.
And while the legalization bills in these states are facing opposition from the usual anti-pot crowds, they’re also getting pushback from cannabis activists. These activists think the new laws could do more harm than good.
There are a bunch of reasons why some activists aren’t excited about the upcoming legalization bills. Here are the most important ones.
Too Much Regulation
Most of the bills up for a vote this fall comes with tons of new rules about how to regulate legal cannabis. Many activists are concerned these regulations will produce unwanted outcomes.
For example, new systems for licensing and tracking growers and producers could end up squeezing out smaller businesses. If smaller scale growers can’t keep up with all the new rules, they might get pushed out by bigger growers. And the same thing could happen with small scale dispensaries.
According to some activists, the new bills could lead to harsher punishments. The bills would technically make cannabis legal, but they’re not just a free-for-all.
There will still be rules about how much you can carry, and where and how you use it. And activists are worried that these new laws might make it possible for cops to crack down harder than ever if a person happens to break the new rules.
New Bills Favor Big Business
A lot of folks in the cannabis community are worried that the new legalization bills would end up favoring big business. This is exactly what’s got a lot of growers and producers in Humboldt County, California worried.
According to a July poll, growers in the region are split in their support of California’s upcoming cannabis bill. 31% said they support the bill, 31% said they don’t support it, and 38% are still undecided.
The people who don’t support it said that the bill would make it too hard for small farmers and businesses to keep up. They’re afraid that the new bill would pave the way for the cannabis industry to become dominated by big farmers, big producers, and big retailers.
And finally, many cannabis activists and proponents are worried about taxes. For example, the California bill calls for a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales. Some activists say this could negatively impact the cannabis scene by making things too expensive for customers and businesses alike.
The Final Hit
Even as cannabis activists voice concerns over the new legalization bills, they’re still careful to make thing clear. They’re not trying to do what the anti-pot campaigners are.
Instead of trying to keep cannabis illegal, these advocates are trying to craft legalization bills that will make cannabis free and accessible.