The cannabis industry in the United States is booming, but that’s not to say things couldn’t be better. The industry still faces tons of legal barriers that prevent it from growing and expanding at a much faster rate. And there’s some pretty simple laws we could change to help improve that process.
Here are five laws we could change to allow the cannabis industry to grow more quickly:
Okay, this is a pretty obvious one. If Congress were to deschedule marijuana tomorrow and remove it from the list of controlled substances, the cannabis industry would no longer need to worry about the fact that they’re growing and selling a product that’s illegal at the federal level. Obviously that would remove much of the legal barriers holding down the cannabis industry.
2. Removing Banking Restrictions
Since marijuana is illegal at the federal level, banks often refuse to allow cannabis businesses to work with them out of fear that the government could intervene and punish them. As a result, cannabis businesses often have work as cash-only, which both more complicated and dangerous. If the government were to pass a law saying banks can work with cannabis companies without fear of punishment, it would dramatically improve the lives of cannabis store owners.
3. Remove (or Amend) Section 280E of the U.S. Tax Code
Section 280E of the U.S. tax code prevents businesses that sell illegal substances from taking normal corporate income tax deductions. The section was meant to stop drug dealers from taking advantage of the the tax code, but now it’s hurting perfectly legal cannabis companies. Marijuana businesses still have to pay taxes like every other company, except they can’t get the deductions other companies receive. So they are forced to endure a harsher tax burden than almost any other industry. Removing Section 280E or amending it to allow cannabis companies to get normal tax deductions would be a major benefit for marijuana businesses.
4. Allow Companies to Transport Marijuana Across State Lines
Since marijuana is illegal under federal law, and interstate commerce is under the authority of the federal government according to the constitution, cannabis companies cannot transport their legal marijuana across state lines, even if they’re going to another legal state. But some states such as Oregon and Washington are currently facing major overproduction problems with cannabis. If the federal government were to allow cannabis to be transported across state lines, growers in Oregon and Washington could sell their product to California and Colorado or other states, which would help these issues. Some states are considering allowing import and export of marijuana to other states, but it would still be illegal under federal law. Although we’d probably need to legalize marijuana at the federal level before pursuing this new law.
5. Removing Roadblocks to Research
Universities and other research institutions frequently want to study the various effects of marijuana, but cannot thanks to the federal government. While many of these researchers find ways around federal regulations so they can conduct their studies and technically abide by the law, it’s certainly more complicated. If the federal government were to allow marijuana researchers greater independence to conduct their studies without interference, we would know a lot more about the positives and negatives of cannabis.