Suneet Singal has watched the sweeping state-wide legalization of cannabis nationwide with excitement and concern. While many great moves have occurred recently, federal legalization is critical. Without it, the industry could struggle under the weight of its potential.
As of 2023, over half of the states in the country have fully legalized cannabis use. This means it can be purchased and used both medically and recreationally, though restrictions on growth and usage are in place in all states. For example, Suneet Singal points out that states don’t allow people to legally smoke weed and drive due to the potential danger.
Furthermore, several states are looking to legalize cannabis use in 2023. For example, Delaware passed two bills in 2022 to legalize cannabis possession and create an adult-use industry. However, Governor John Carney vetoed this bill, and two more bills are up for consideration in 2023. Other states looking to legalize cannabis include Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
These sweeping law changes are part of a national push by cannabis researchers and advocates and hope to push federal legalization in the future. Achieving this goal is essential: currently, even in states where cannabis use is legal, federal officials could theoretically bust growers, sellers, and even users. So far, this hasn’t happened on a massive scale.
Federal legalization could also help create stronger regulations in an industry that’s often similar to the Wild West: very unregulated. While states have strict laws and guidelines for production and use, products aren’t always correctly managed and tested. Furthermore, a wave of new cannabis shops has heavily affected prices, Suneet Singal states.
This problem has affected most states that have legalized cannabis usage: Michigan is one obvious example. Initially, many cities and counties in the state resisted cannabis sales. However, as it became clear that the public wanted it and that there was good money to be made, restrictions were lifted, and cannabis shops opened throughout the state.
However, the supply has consistently outstripped the demand in the state: according to experts, Michigan can provide three times the cannabis that its residents are buying. The result, according to Suneet Singal: plummeting prices. Lower prices are great for the average consumer but crippling the industry: dozens of stores have opened and closed in the state since 2018.
Prices have dropped by 75% in the state, lowering the price of one ounce of cannabis from $400 to $100 in just two years. While other states have experienced far less precipitous drops, Colorado has decreased by 51%, Missouri dipped by 46%, and Massachusetts fell by 36%. These changes are not sustainable and could adversely affect the industry.
That’s why Suneet Singal and other advocates push federal legalization so hard. Once the proper framework is in place for regulation and quality control, the industry could stabilize and become less mercurial. The potential for massive economic growth is limitless if Washington could move towards finally legalizing cannabis.