Canada has long been a sort of reference point for how marijuana laws should be drafted and enforced. The country made cannabis legal federally back in 2018 with it’s Cannabis Act of June. That was a huge step forward then and showed that Canada was a lot further along the road to drug regulation than its neighbor. And even two years after that momentous occasion, the effects are still being studied. What kind of economic expectations should we keep, now that one of the most widely purchased black market commodities was easily available at a number of stores? Well, the answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think.
You might expect that under federal control, the industry would thrive. Being a legal drug with a huge market share means government subsidies, bailouts, tax cuts, and even more perks. So what’s the huge fuss? Let’s chalk it up as a win win scenario and call it a day, right? We wish we could, but the matter becomes a little more complicated. Because now, instead of simple transactions between dealer and consumer, cannabis has to go through the proper channels. And every person wants a slice of the pie at each level in the system. That means overhead costs go up, and then what exactly? To help explain it we’ve come up with a summary of the findings by two Canadian economists, and we’ll try to evaluate their thesis in the end.
Simply put, illegal is cheaper
As we mentioned earlier, when a commodity is obtained through a channel that isn’t regulated by the government, it has to pass through fewer barriers. Things like import tax, quantity size restrictions, and delays due to shipping companies’ mismanagement don’t apply when drugs are smuggled illegally. That isn’t good, of course. Smuggling leads to multiple socio-economic problems for a country. But what it ensures is the overall cost is low.
So if a drug dealer in Canada wants to sell cannabis, after they receive the drug from their sources, they can charge as much as they like. In order to stay competitive, though, they will try to keep a stable price. Because they only need to make a profit for themselves, that price could be just a few cents higher than what they bought it for. Contrast that to a company, which can have hundreds of employees that each need to be paid from the profit of the same amount of cannabis. The fact is, there are more mouths to feed when you go through the right channels. That means the sale price needs to be higher.
Two Canadian economists warn against the dangers of federal control over marijuana and other drugs
Ian Irvine and Miles Light talk about how more government control can mean higher costs of a drug, which in turn can lead to less sales. The market for cannabis is in direct competition with the alcohol and cigarette industries. Studies show that when weed gets harder or more expensive to buy than alcohol, most people turn to alcohol instead. The niche for marijuana is unstable, and governments adding to that instability can only do worse.
Taxes on marijuana will likely reduce the industry’s profits
The issue is, the more taxation cannabis producers and distributors have to put up with, the less they’ll sell. So indirectly, governments trying to get a share in the weed business can ruin things for everyone. The two experts published their dissertation in one of the foremost economic journals of Canada, the University of Toronto Press. So it can’t really be said whether things will turn out this way or not, but it is important to temper our expectations by keeping this in mind.
An Overview of Marijuana Laws in Florida
The laws on marijuana are evolving all over the US. Being closely related to the public now it is important that everyone knows the little intricacies in them. The recent US elections allowed many states to finally legalize marijuana. However, other states like Oklahoma, California, and Florida also keep updating their rules to cater to newer problems. In this article, we’ll take a close look at marijuana laws in Florida.
The state laws of Florida allow for medical marijuana use however, they prohibit recreational cannabis use. In addition, medical users need a prescription from a proper physician before legal consumption. Once you have a prescription you can consume marijuana in any form. You can either smoke it or choose some edible way to treat yourself. The laws concerning marijuana got update in 2019 recently and the lawmakers still did not legalize recreational use. However, many cities in Florida have take steps to ensure that recreational use gets treated as a civil offense and not as a crime.
Florida has an interesting history in terms of marijuana legalization. The state rejected the medical use vote back in 2014. However, they did approve it just two years later in 2016. Another interesting fact about medical cannabis in Florida is that initially, only oils and edibles were legal. The preliminary laws on medical cannabis in Florida considered smoking a crime.
Smoking marijuana was declared legal in 2019, the lawmakers finally approved smoking as well as any other way for consuming marijuana medically. In addition, contrary to historical laws many cities recently decriminalized illegal marijuana possession.
Recreational marijuana is strictly illegal in Florida. The state has defined a framework for only allowing people with certain qualifying conditions to get legal marijuana. Although some local cities have declared consuming marijuana without a license civil offense, many still consider it a crime. This means that smoking cannabis without a medical card can lead to a fine as well as criminal charges in Florida.
Medical Marijuana Regulations:
The rules of consuming marijuana in Florida are defined by Florida Revised Statutes 381.986 law. The law defines all the medical conditions qualifying for medical marijuana use. A physician may approve a patient for medical use after examining one of such conditions. The marijuana law defines regulations for a user registry, caregiver possession, and treatment centers for purchasing consumable marijuana.
Edibles containing marijuana are legal in Florida. Any person approved of using marijuana can lawfully consume any edible. Florida has allowed for cannabis edibles since 2016. However, the state did not allow for smoking cannabis until 2019.
Legal Marijuana in Tampa:
Although the state laws clearly declare illegal possession of marijuana as a crime. The City of Tampa has created a system that allows law enforcement to issue civil infractions for marijuana offenders. The current laws state that the violators will face criminal charges under the state law. The new system was voted by a majority of 5-1 by the city council. It allows for up to 20 grams of possession. The offenders face a fine of 75$ on the first offense which escalates with further offenses.
Qualifying Medical Conditions:
The medical conditions qualifying for medical marijuana use include Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, HIV, PTSD, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis as well as terminal medical conditions like chronic pain. Marijuana remains extremely beneficial for treating chronic pain in patients. It is the most common condition sted by patients qualifying for a medical marijuana card. Moreover, any person who fakes any of the symptoms to get access to medical marijuana faces a misdemeanor charge in Florida.
Medical Marijuana For Non-Adults:
The cannabis-based medical treatments are not limited to just the adults in the state of Florida. Minors can apply for a medical marijuana license in the state for legal use. However, in order to get the license, they must meet the qualifications for severe illness. In addition, a minor seeking for medical cannabis prescription needs to see two qualifying physicians for approval. . The doctors have to evaluate the patient’s condition and give their medical opinion. Moreover, the Parents of the minor also need to give their consent for the treatment.
Penalties for Illegal Possession:
The illegal possession of marijuana is punishable by law in the set of Florida. The punishment however depends on the amount of cannabis in your possession. The possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail. However, with higher amounts of cannabis on the charged the punishments also become severe. the highest punishment for marijuana possession in Florida is imprisonment for up to 30 years.
Driving after Consuming Marijuana:
Driving after smoking marijuana is a serious offense no matter the state. It is not only dangerous to the person driving the vehicle but can also lead to serious damage to others around them. Consequently, even if you do have a medical cannabis card you can not drive after smoking marijuana. The charges are similar to drunk driving over the limit of allowed alcohol in the body. Moreover, in case of any personal or public damage, the person bears full liability.
Common Defence Statements:
Marijuana consumption without state approval is a serious offense. You should always consult the local law-enforcing authorities in case of any confusion. However, if you do get caught in a bad situation with no exits. We have a few common defenses to marijuana charges by Florida citizens. If there is no physical evidence you can outright deny marijuana possession. When the police have a weaker case on the accused they often say that the defense cannot prove they had marijuana on them.
Moreover, in case you have a medical card you can outright claim your right to use cannabis. In addition, it is legal for caregivers to carry marijuana for their patients. Even when you get accused of marijuana possession. Showing that you are taking steps to get a medical card can help a lot with the case.
State Laws for Marijuana are extremely important in marijuana legalization for states. They are of utmost importance and determine the future of cannabis markets. These laws also determine how much revenue the state might generate from its legalization programs. However, most of all it is important that newer states working on legislation implement laws derived from the examples of states that have done it before. In this way, they can build on the mistakes and make a better cannabis environment.
An Overview of Marijuana Laws in Arizona
Arizona, also known as The Grand Canyon State, is famous for more than its iconic natural wonder. Advocates of marijuana legalization have long associated the state with its stringent policies towards the drug. This is mainly because marijuana laws in Arizona have not only been extremely conservative, but also archaic, and racist in every way one can imagine.
This year, however, in a historic move to reform its policies, Arizona had put up the question of marijuana legalization on the November 2020 election ballots. The initiative, known as Proposition 207, was drafted to legalize the recreational usage of the drug in the state. Propitiously, it won with an overwhelming majority, getting the approval of around 60.03% of Arizona residents.
This was a huge jump in the percentage of legalization supporters since 2016. The closest Arizona ever got to legalizing marijuana in its jurisdiction was in that same year, where Proposition 205 was put before the public. To the dismay of its advocates, the initiative failed even after securing 48.7% of votes in favor of it. Its opponents defeated the initiative with a mere 2.6% majority, standing at 51.3%.
Overview of transition in Arizona’s Marijuana Laws
Arizona’s marijuana laws have undergone a lot of changes, failed legalization attempts, and revisions. Here is an overview of when each of these policies was introduced and what each of them meant for Arizonians:
Proposition 200 – 1996
The Drug Medicalization, Prevention, and Control Act was implemented in Arizona in 1996. Under the terms of this initiative, certified physicians could prescribe cannabis or any other Schedule 1 drug to patients with certain medical conditions. It was approved with the support of 65% of Arizona residents.
Within a few months of its approval, however, state legislators rejected the proposition and tried to repeal it. “It seems to me, we’re saying to the voters that you’re smart when you vote for us, but we don’t trust you when you vote on other important issues,” state Sen. Pete Rios said in April of 1997 while voicing his disapproval of the changes put forward by legislators.
In response to this, voters used their right to a popular referendum in 1998. Appallingly, Proposition 300 was not successful in attaining much at all. All it could manage to do was to create a significant conflict with federal law due to its language composition which ultimately led to its rejection.
Proposition 203 – 2002 and 2010
Through Proposition 203 advocates in Arizona tried to legalize recreational as well as medicinal usage of marijuana for the first time in their history. It was first introduced in the state in 2002 and proposed criminal justice reforms as well as a scheme to establish a state-run medical cannabis system.
In addition to this, it also proposed decriminalizing possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana. It also proposed some revisions of conviction criteria for non-violent drug offenses. The initiative met the same fate as its preceding reforms and did not get approved by the law enforcement community of Arizona.
The proposition was placed before local residents once again in November of 2010. This time it succeeded in getting medicine usage of marijuana legalized with the support of 50% of voters.
Proposition 205 – 2016
After its medicinal use was legalized in 2010, Proposition 205 sought to legalize the recreational use of marijuana once again in 2016. As mentioned earlier, the initiative was defeated. Despite of expected tax revenues, and potential increases in educational funding opponents of the initiative were convinced that the social and economic impacts of legalization would have outweighed its benefits.
The Victory of Proposition 207
Proposition 207, also known as the Smart and Safe Marijuana Act is a long-awaited victory of the cannabis sector in Arizona. It has marked the end of an era of uncompromising policies that have bred racism, police brutality, and unfair incarceration.
Under the new laws, past marijuana related minor crimes can be petitioned to get an expungement. The proposed laws are expected to be put into effect beginning July of 2021.
Here’s what they have in store for Arizonians:
Adults 21 or older will be allowed to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana. Possessing 5 grams of its concentrate is also made permissible. Moreover, medical marijuana patients will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 ounces over a period of two weeks and grow 12 plants for personal use.
Under Proposition 207, marijuana users are allowed to grow 6 plants for personal use at their homes. However, it is important for the cultivation to be in an enclosed area, away from public view. All users who hold the ADHS are allowed to cultivate their plants.
Smoking marijuana in public is still not legal in marijuana. Using it on the premises of a dispensary can lead to license cancellation. In addition, driving under influence can lead to severe consequences and will be punishable through fines, arrests or license suspension.
An Overview of New Jersey Marijuana Laws
Despite being called the garden state of America, New Jersey is nowhere near accepting public marijuana consumption. While there is a medical program in place in New Jersey. Marijuana Consumption for recreation is strictly prohibited. The law treats marijuana like any other illegal drug in the state. The possession, distribution, and cultivation for any other reason than medicine is a crime. In addition, there are even harsh penalties on growing or distributing hashish and other cannabis concentrates.
The new year brings in a lot of policy changes across the states. Many states revised their state on marijuana recently. Moreover, several new laws are now in place to prove cannabis regulation. There are states working on decriminalizing marijuana. This means that with recent law changes people in illegal possession of marijuana will face lower penalties as well as no criminal charges.
Coming back to the Jersey laws the state has a pretty comprehensive definition of marijuana laws. However, the legal language of official statements can sometimes confuse average individuals. Fear not because we have an accurate summary of marijuana laws in New Jersey.
In New Jersey, it is a disorderly person’s offense to possess up to 50 grams of marijuana. The maximum penalty that a person might get for such an offense is up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. The possession of more than 50 grams is a crime in the 4th degree. It has some serious consequences including a maximum punishment of 1.5 years in prison and a fine of $25,000. The people who are allowed to use cannabis medically also need to adhere to set rules. Moreover, Possession within 1,000 feet of a school has even higher fines and community service requirements.
The state laws of New Jersey declare marijuana sale and distribution a crime. The punishment for the charge depends on the amount of marijuana in their possession. If the weight is less than one ounce, the offense is a 4th-degree crime punishable by up to 1.5 years in prison and $25,000 in fines. However, if it’s more than an ounce but less than five pounds there is mandatory punishment of imprisonment of three years as well as $25,000 in fines.
In addition, the distribution of marijuana between five to twenty-five pounds has a punishment of five years in jail minimum with a maximum of ten years, and as much as $150,000 in fines. The penalties increase further will increase in quantity from twenty-five pounds from 10 to 20 years in prison as well as $300,000 fine. Once again the law has worse punishments on sale near schools with up to a $150,000 fine and three to five years in prison.
Marijuana cultivation is an important factor to discuss while legalizing cannabis. In New Jersey, however, it is a crime to grow any amount of marijuana. Cultivation of fewer than 10 plants is punishable by at least three years in prison. With more severe charges leading to five, and up to $25,000 in fines.
In addition, cultivating between 10 and 49 plants has a minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 10 years, and a top fine of $150,000. Moving on Cultivation of 50 or more plants comes with a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a fine of up to $300,000.
Hash and Cannabis Concentrates:
Cannabis concentrates have higher amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound, in them. Consequently, special restrictions apply to them, these restrictions apply on hashish, hash oil, and all other marijuana concentrates. A small offense like possession of fewer than 5 grams is a disorderly person offense subject to as much as six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. However, with more than five grams on you, you’re looking at $25,000 and a prison term of up to 18 months.
In terms of concentrate distribution. Making, distributing, or selling less than five grams of concentrate is a fourth-degree crime, this includes possession with intent to distribute. The maximum penalty for that is 18 months in prison and $10,000 in fines. For an amount varying between five grams and one pound, the penalty is between three and five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000. In addition, Manufacture, distribution, sale, and possession with intent is a third-degree crime. Once again the exact punishment varies with the amount of cannabis product on you.
For second-degree manufacture, distribution, sale, or possession with intent, the punishment is a minimum of five years and a maximum of 10 years in prison, and up to $150,000 in fines given the quantity between one to five pounds. For more than five pounds the offense is a first-degree crime and the top punishment is between 10 and 20 years in prison and $200,000 in fines.
Medical Cannabis Program:
Although there is no recreational cannabis law in New Jersey, it does support marijuana as a medicine. the state law allows for the use, possession, and cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes. According to the official statement patients with debilitating health conditions, physicians, primary caregivers are protected from “arrest, prosecution, property forfeiture, and criminal and other penalties.”
For someone to qualify for medical marijuana treatment in New Jersey, they must have one of the following qualifying conditions.
- Addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Chronic pain
- Chronic visceral pain
- Crohn’s disease
- HIV/AIDS (includes associated chronic pain and/or severe nausea)
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Muscular Dystrophy
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Seizure and/or spasticity disorders
- Tourette’s syndrome
Or Any terminal illness if a doctor knows the patient will die within a year. There are, however, limits on the quantity of marijuana for medical users. they can not have more than two ounces per month. In addition, medical cannabis users also cannot grow their own cannabis at home. The cannabis they consume must be bought from State-licensed dispensaries. there are only twelve operating State-licensed dispensaries in new jersey right now however they might increase in the future. The patients also can’t give away their legal marijuana.
Marijuana Possession for Caregivers:
Primary caregivers can carry marijuana in New Jersey. You must be a person who assists a registered patient with their medical use of marijuana to qualify for it. The caregiver should be a resident of New Jersey and can’t be the person’s doctor. All caregivers must be at least 18 years of age. By the state law.
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