Crafting laws and regulations is more art than science. The authors of initiatives, legislators, and administrative agencies who create and implement rules to legalize medical and recreational marijuana are bound to get some things wrong. This may be due to political pressures, competing interests, and the simple fact that marijuana is prohibited under federal law.
Now that so many states have legalized, we figured a good way to determine what was working and what was not, would be to ask individuals those living in those states. So we did just that on our lively Facebook page by asking for our readers’ feedback. The responses were interesting and all over the board.
Many of our readers expressed a concern that California has been over-regulating cannabis since voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana in 2016. (We wrote about this issue recently here.) Complaints were focused on the increased price of cannabis products since legalization went into effect on January 1. There were also complaints about how medical patients no longer had access to products that were available prior to the state’s new and expansive cannabis regulations.
In a similar fashion, many commentators claimed that Washington‘s regulatory framework was overly burdensome, though there were not nearly as many complaints about the price of cannabis which has dropped significantly since Washington retail stores first opened in 2014. Washingtonians did take issue with the state being the only state that legalized recreational cannabis without allowing for home cultivation. Washington regulators have also faced criticism for the slow implementation of the state’s new traceability system.
Generally, people commented positively on Colorado and Oregon, citing the ability to home grow and good access to dispensaries. Some commentators complained about inconsistent enforcement in certain counties, claiming that police in some areas seemed to continually take issue with marijuana despite legalization. Hopefully, this issue subsides.
We did not get much feedback on other adult use states. One Facebook user was happy with Nevada but hoped that the state would have more options with regards to available strains. Alaska‘s program was criticized for problems with lab testing and the unfulfilled expectation that Alaskans would have social use cannabis clubs. One user from Massachusettes complained that legalization was progressing too slowly. And we did not receive any feedback on Maine or Washington D.C., unfortunately.
Some common complaints regarding states that only permitted medical marijuana were that it was too expensive to obtain an authorization card, and that the state burdened patients by the ways which patients could consume cannabis products. For example, New York allows medical cannabis but does not allow for smokeable forms of cannabis. Others argued that the cost of medical marijuana was too high or that states did not have enough products to satisfy the needs of patients.
Finally, in states that have either no legal marijuana program or medical programs that are limited only to CBD, the criticism was fairly straightforward: prohibition is not working! However, many commentators were hopeful that their state would legalize in the near future or that federal cannabis prohibition would end soon. Here’s hoping.