Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
March 2019
« Feb    


Must-haves in legalization bills

Some good advice from Shaleen Title, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commissioner:

Top Ten Equity Must-Haves in Any Legalization Bill

  1. Homegrow. Allow consumers to grow a limited number of their own plants at home (in MA, it’s 6 per adult with max of 12 per residence, see law for details) and gift a limited amount to other adults (in MA, it’s one ounce). This serves as a check on monopolies, delays, and more.
  2. Automatic expungement for cannabis convictions, in the same law at the same time as legalization. Period.
  3. Ensure as a non-negotiable, never-expiring statutory requirement that people from disproportionately harmed communities are represented at the very top of the regulating agency. (Yes, there are plenty who are qualified.)
  4. Ensure that the regulating agency is diverse, independent, subject to full transparency, and appointed by different people. This is something I’m incredibly proud of in MA and I recommend adopting it. Brand new agencies take time/resources to start up, but it’s worth it.
  5. Dedicate tax revenue to be reinvested into disproportionately harmed communities. Give it teeth; do not allow that revenue to be “subject to appropriation” and do not require bureaucratic application processes that only privileged communities will be able to tap into. Sidenote: the Minority Cannabis Business Association model state bill, which I worked on before becoming a commissioner, creates an Office of Justice Reinvestment to fairly distribute such revenue.
  6. Separate from that reinvestment, invest a specific percentage of tax revenue into technical assistance, hiring programs and interest-free loans for disproportionately affected communities with a funding mechanism for initial programming and outreach as soon as the law passes. It is very important that you specify the agency(ies) in charge with specified deadlines and consequences for missing the deadlines. I think every existing equity program thus far, including the one I designed, underestimated the need for IMMEDIATE outreach and education.
  7. Require state regulators and localities to ensure diversity in the industry at ownership and employee levels, and to enforce limits, with goals, measurement, and accountability for the regulators (it may be best for them to design their own goals rather than specifying them).
  8. Institute a statutory requirement that tax revenue only flows to municipalities that have honored these mandates. Leave it up to the municipalities to figure out how to make their local laws and processes inclusive to disproportionately harmed communities BEFORE receiving any local taxes. Sidenote: my recommendation to anyone seeking an equitable cannabis program would be to not compromise an inch on this one. It could easily undermine all the rest. There are good and bad local examples throughout MA and CA.
  9. Require every business to contribute to these goals in addition to (*BUT NOT INSTEAD OF*) the government’s role. One option is to require diversity plans and positive impact plans as requirements for licensure and renewal, as in MA, but there are many ways to accomplish this.
  10. Lastly, require the regulating agency to collect data on each of these items, report the data regularly, and take remedial measures when the data is not satisfactory. Give the regulating agency broad flexibility and authority to accomplish this.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

15 comments to Must-haves in legalization bills

  • strayan

    Meanwhile in the land down under:

    Police seek new powers to search houses and cars without a warrant

  • claygooding

    NO sin tax attached to cannabis,,the sins were all on the law makers,,not the law breakers.

  • darkcycle

    Sounds like she has the right idea. Washington screwed it up so bad, people noticed. Kleiman, I’m looking at you. Right. At. You. Beatch.

  • DdC

    “They” haven’t changed a thing. As long as Cannabis remains a schedule#1 controlled substance. Manfraud sold out the country and gets 7 years or pardoned. Just Us?

    Life in Prison for Selling $20 of Weed

    2018: One marijuana bust
    roughly every 48 seconds…

    Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding
    Commissioned by President Richard M. Nixon, March, 1972

    “Our youth can not understand why society chooses to criminalize a behavior with so little visible ill effect or adverse social impact… These young people have jumped the fence and found no cliff. And the disrespect for the possession laws fosters a disrespect for laws and the system in general… On top of this is the distinct impression among the youth that some police may use the marihuana laws to arrest people they don’t like for other reasons, whether it be their politics, their hair style or their ethnic background.”

    “Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use.”

    “State laws should make the public use of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a $100 fine. Under federal law, marijuana smoked in public would merely be subject to seizure.”

    President Richard M. Nixon’s
    National Commission on Marihuana
    and Drug Abuse
    “Marihuana: March 1972
    A Signal of Misunderstanding”

    Authorities seize 100+ cannabis plants,
    $155K from Scotts Valley home
    This is in SC County with one of the countries first Ganja laws in 1993.

    On a lighter note…

    Happy St Pattyday!

    Hungover? These Cannabis Strains Can Help

    • claygooding

      You would think as many alleged alcoholic legislators we hear about they would be rolling a drip bag of cbd extract around to clean up their livers.
      And juicing ypung plants full of cbg to repair/replace damaged brain cells.
      That may be the problem though,,they may have already damaged too many brain cells to save themselves much less America.

  • Gnarly McBean

    Well, now I understand why the 2016 Mass vote to legalize in Massachusetts has still not been implemented in reality. Too many people had to get their thumbs in the pie. Is all this required to sell alcohol?

  • damm

    1. Homegrow. Allow consumers to grow a limited number of their own plants at home (in MA, it’s 6 per adult with max of 12 per residence, see law for details) and gift a limited amount to other adults (in MA, it’s one ounce). This serves as a check on monopolies, delays, and more.

    I wish; Washington still hasn’t legalized homegrows and likely will never.

  • DdC

    World Sleep Day:
    Cannabis for Insomnia state laws for medical marijuana

    The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy invoked executive privilege to block a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the text of anti-marijuana memos submitted to the office by various federal agencies.

    SXSW Protests Launched Against Corporate Cannabis

    Anti-legalization Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) seemed to slam the Drug Enforcement Administration for refusing to reschedule marijuana during a House hearing.

    “The DEA is failing the American public here
    by not letting research take place on marijuana.”

    Ohio Medical Cannabis Patients Rejoice
    As Edibles Will Soon Be Available

  • Servetus

    Homegrows are essential for guaranteeing lower retail and medicinal prices. Homegrows are what the cigarette industry feared when they considered legalizing Vitamin M, i.e., no profit here, move away…nothing the public should see.

    I and everyone else pay way too much for cannabinoids if we don’t grow it ourselves. I don’t because it requires too much onsite maintenance and other problems. As a result, my yearly THC tab is roughly $2K. CBD goes for 30 to 40 USD per half gram here on the left coast. Costly and complicated labeling, packaging and ease of acquisition sucks, and so forth.

    Federal legalization will force the health insurance companies to fund medicinal marijuana treatments, something already happening in several parts of the globe. And maybe that’s the problem, or not. Health insurance companies may well benefit from not having to pay out Big Bucks to Big Pharma for drugs less efficient, more expensive, and more dangerous than a spliff.

    It would have been simpler and far easier merely to follow the Amsterdam model for giving the public convenient access to cannabinoids. Any jerk can make something more complicated. It takes a genius to make it simpler.

  • Uncle Albert's Nephew

    11. No dry counties or cities.

  • darkcycle

    Fentanyl (again) identified as the primary driver behind opioid overdose crisis:

  • DdC

    Legalization Pulled from New York Executive Budget via @ganjapreneur

  • Mr_Alex


    G2Voice Broadcast #126 – The use of Cannabis Oil with Rick Simpson 2-10-2019

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>