It won’t be long before the United States as a whole will become a marijuana-legalized country. While the majority has already joined the legal side, others are catching up fast. Legalization is, however, only an aspect of it. The major problem still exists in the form of proper unified regulations. Since the industry is new and not governed by the federal government, every state has been making different policies to regulate marijuana use, production, and distribution.
To add to the drama, the Trump government is not in favor of the whole ‘legalization’. This has been causing quite a lot of trouble for the marijuana advocates and the state officials who want to form proper regulations. One of such US states is Montana.
It was only last Monday that the lawmakers in Montana fell a vote short of having a bill sent to the governor. This bill was designed to form regulations, fees, and licenses especially for the distributors of marijuana in the state. Montana House was the endorser of this bill. It was solely designed with the purpose of regulating the drug after the strict distributing restrictions were lifted in November 2016. If this bill is to be implemented upon, it needs to have the final vote passed.
If it takes place, it will be requiring the officials of the state to track the entire supply chain of marijuana. Furthermore, these state officials will also be required to ensure that the drug does not enter the black market. Other regulatory measures will include the licensing of distributors include nurseries that offer the drug. There will also be a registration process in place. The registered users will be issued photo identification cards.
Derek Skees—a Republican and opponent of the bill—played the government card, stating that marijuana is still considered illegal in the eyes of federal law. This means that regardless of the regulations
Montana makes, those using or selling the drug will still be at risk. According to him,
“Can the feds not come in tomorrow and go after these distributors if they decide so?”
On the contrary, Jeff Essmann—another Republican representative—believes that the bill should pass as it will allow the infant industry to have proper regulations right from the beginning. He especially pointed out the abuses that happened in 2010 and said,
“We cannot afford to go back to the wild, wild West of 2010,”
Essmann was a sponsor of the bill that restricted medical marijuana in 2011. The bill restricted distributors from selling the drug to more than three patients. It also took away the distributors’ right to enjoy a profit on the sale of marijuana. However, the measures of last November reversed those restrictions. The current bill will set certain rules for the proper distribution of the drug.
This is very important for Montana as it was for other marijuana-legal states because, without proper guidelines, the newly established marijuana industry could easily fall apart, setting an example in favor of the federal government.