Colorado has had the most success with legal cannabis. They cut down on the black market, introduced reasonable taxes that made products competitive for consumers and sanded the income so that people feel like they’re getting a “deal.” By comparison, California has been the monster of greed – wreaking havoc on the industry and hurting small businesses and stock players who say they want help. The failed New York City launch paved the way for more than 1,500 unlicensed stores run by quick-thinking entrepreneurs who sell products at a premium. Maine, known for its no-nonsense common sense, seems to be setting an updated paradigm for how to run a successful program.
Maine’s strong individualism complemented the emerging industry. Governor Janet Mills appointed John Hudak. He came to Maine from the Brookings Institution, where he served as deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Administration and as a senior fellow in governance studies. Over the past decade, John has led Brookings Institution research in cannabis policy, regulation, enforcement, and policy. Hudak, who is well respected in the industry, had the opportunity to review how countries implement their programs.
Legal sales of recreational marijuana are up 94% in 2022 compared to 2021. The illegal market is down 64%.
Hudak and this team take a holistic approach to legal marijuana in the state. By comparison, California saw legal marijuana as a pure revenue opportunity and didn’t consider how to build another thriving industry. Granted they have some questionable players like addicted, the majority are small companies trying to tap into the largest market in the United States. The increased supply of flowers coupled with higher taxes brought the industry to its news. New YorkInc., a competitor in market size to the state of California, was unable to decide what it wanted and at the last minute canceled all plans and rolled out a partial plan, at a great loss to the existing legal retailers. Now weed is very expensive at more than 1,500 unlicensed retailers in New York City alone. Instead of fixing the underlying problems, New York City instead “raids” and closes retail stores so they can open a day or two later. Green market report He said, “After a new push by New York Governor Cathy Hochul’s… respression On unlicensed cannabis sellers across the Empire State last week, a few in the legal field expressed optimism that the policy would have the intended effect, with many predicting that the unregulated market would simply transform rather than capitulate.
The Maine Office of Cannabis Policy (OCP) saw early success amend her contract With the Adult Cannabis Use Program (AUCP) inventory tracking vendor, Metrc, to implement batch tracking for growers.
Tracing cannabis from seed to sale serves as the basis for state regulation. It allows for a secure supply chain that prevents both diversion (the product from the regulated market is sold into the illicit market) and mirroring (the entry of the illicit supply into the regulated market). It also allows the state to take strides in protecting public health and safety. OCP took these important aspects of inventory tracking in mind while examining the challenges and potential benefits of a batch tracking system.
Hudak shared his thoughts on where they are going “Cannabis regulations must be designed to provide safe, reliable and consistent cannabis to patients and consumers. However, these regulations must be as effective as possible to meet public expectations around the supply chain and public health and safety. At the same time, it cannot Regulations and taxes on cannabis are too onerous for a legal and regulated market to compete with – and outpace – the unsafe and unregulated market.Tension will remain between regulators and regulators, but honest, good faith and goodwill between regulators, the industry and other interested stakeholders must work together To find balance (which can be difficult at times).”
(The article first appeared in Fresh toastreprinted with permission)