The cannabis industry has been upended following Attorney General Jeff Session’s move to rescind the Cole Memo that protected state’s right to regulate legal cannabis. This has stirred concern throughout the country as many states fear federal interference with longstanding cannabis retailers.
Many marijuana dispensaries and manufacturers are increasingly worried despite several state officials voicing their plan to protect the decision made by voters. Fortunately, there are ways cannabis retailers can combat federal interference,
In this article, we’ll suggest a few ways marijuana businesses can be proactive in staving off the threat of a federal crackdown on cannabis.
Seek Specialized Legal Aid
Marijuana dispensaries should definitely consider hiring a lawyer that specializes in cannabis related law. Keeping a legal professional on retainer may be pricey but it’s well worth it to protect your business in the event of federal interference.
Seeking specialized legal aid is a preemptive move that could very well be your first line of defence in a legal battle. A qualified cannabis lawyer should also be able to advise dispensaries on how to handle a raid by federal law enforcement.
Establish Raid Protocols
After speaking with a specialized cannabis lawyer, you’ll want to establish some protocols for your dispensary staff in the event of a raid. Discussing these procedures in advance will be crucial in preparing employees on how to react and what they can do to protect themselves as well as the business.
Reminding budtenders to lock the POS system is a smart course of action and can be done relatively quickly. IndicaOnline is one of the few dispensary POS systems that comes equipped with an emergency exit button. Activating this button will lock the account, allowing only the system administrator the option to reactivate. This will be extremely useful in protecting all the digital data of the dispensary and the clientele.
Contact State Representatives
Hopefully, legislators on Capitol Hill will resolve this conflict between state and federal officials before any legal action is taken against cannabis retailers. Dispensary owners can voice their concerns by contacting their state representatives.
It’s important for Congress to understand that cannabis retailers are providing a service that was approved by voters and must be respected. Reach out to senators, governors, and representatives and encourage them to act on behalf of the their constituency and the cannabis industry. Many of politicians in states with legal cannabis are already fighting back but need to be reminded how important this issue is to marijuana related businesses.
Support State Cannabis Organizations
Every state that has approved either medical or recreational marijuana has a non-profit cannabis organization that was created to support and inform the industry. California’s CCIA continues to work with legislators and licensing authorities to create a successful and regulated marijuana industry.
They have issued the following statement in response to Jeff Sessions decision:
“CCIA is disappointed to learn of the backward approach that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has decided to pursue regarding cannabis policy in the US. This is a direct rebuttal to the 73% of voters that oppose federal interference with state cannabis laws, as well as President Trump's campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs.
Roughly 56% of voters in California voted for Proposition 64 (The Adult Use of Marijuana Act) in 2016. Advocates, Legislators, regulators, business owners and CCIA worked tirelessly over the past year to help create a workable framework for the industry and to address the public safety and health of Californians.
Medical cannabis and adult use are legal under state law, and if the federal government decides to intervene with its very limited resources, they are destroying any chance we have at regulating and taxing the industry. In addition, this move would make it much more difficult to keep it away from children and will strengthen the illicit market.
We’re hopeful that U.S. Attorneys will respect President Trump's campaign promise to not interfere with state cannabis programs. CCIA and National Cannabis Industry Association will continue to work diligently to advocate for a fully regulated cannabis industry.”
Now is the time for cannabis retailer owners, managers, and staff to get involved and stand with their state’s cannabis organization.
Maintain Cannabis Compliance
It will imperative for marijuana dispensaries to focus on cannabis compliance in the coming weeks and months to prove to federal officials that the State’s regulatory system is effective. Several state officials have suggested to continue operating under the current legal framework and are confident that a resolution can be reached.
Cannabis retailers have the opportunity to show the federal government that they can generate valuable tax revenue and abide by stringent regulations. Doing so will hopefully persuade federal official to reconsider their approach to state legalized marijuana.