Almost every intelligent person residing in California is aware there is some problem with the marijuana or cannabis laws in California. However people are not truly aware of how deep and dysfunctional the legal framework around Cannabis truly is.
To fully understand the cannabis legal environment in California you would have to take the equivalent of a one year law school class focused on California Cannabis Law. That is ninety hours of class time. The problem is there is currently no one in California today that could truly teach such a class. The reason for this problem is threefold.
First, the law surrounding cannabis in California is so fluid and new that no one truly comprehends the whole picture. On November 16th, 2017, three California state agencies released 272 pages of regulations that will go into affect on January 1st 2018. Below are the regulations divided by the agencies that released them.
- Bureau of Cannabis Control regulations
- CA Department of Food and Agriculture regulations
- CA Department of Public Health regulations
When commenting on these regulations. Lori Ajax, The Chief of Bureau of Cannabis Control, commented in the Orange County Register about the current regulations: she said they plan to continue taking public comment into 2018 and fine-tuning the rules as needed.
“I think they’re good, but I think there are improvements that can be made,” she said. “I think we’re going to get a better idea once we start issuing licenses and see how implementation is going.”
Therefore no one knows, except for maybe some divine presence, what the final California regulations are going look like even four months from now.
Second, there is a direct confrontation and contradiction between California Republic’s State law and the government of the United States Federal Law. Federal law should always trump state law. However, the reason that the contradictory system is allowed is because of the federal tradition in this country.
This federal system is not a problem for France or Poland. Unlike those other republics, our Constitution clearly states that the federal government is restricted to making only certain laws. And any laws outside of the federal purview, and this purview is clearly delineated in the US constitution, should be struck down by the federal courts. Ever since the founding of the current federal republic in 1789, the federal government has been slowly expanding the federal purview to the point where the U.S. Congress felt comfortable in outlawing cannabis nationally in 1917. There are many experts and layman still today that think the federal laws on cannabis are unconstitutional. It is this history that has prevented the federal government from imposing the federal will on the states. Without the federal government imposing its will and if California state laws don’t change, this contradiction will continue. A similar conflicting and contradictory legal situation between one or more states was solved by the US Civil war from 1861-1865 and by the Civil Rights Movements in the 1960s.
Third, if anyone tells you that the Supreme Courts may soon say such federal laws are unconstitutional or anyone tells you that “the federal law will soon change” are completely ignorant of the current political climate. I can say without a doubt it will be at least ten years (and probably much longer) until the federal government changes the law. In business, such a delay might as well be three lifetimes. If the federal government refuses to impose its will, and at the same time refuses to change its own laws, (and I assume the state of California will not decide to go back to criminalizing the sale and use of Cannabis) then there is no easy fix for this conflict of laws.
However, where there is Chaos there is opportunity. At the end of prohibition huge profits were made by people who were ready to jump into the game. I was talking to my friend Marco Robert and we were discussing how Josef Kennedy Sr. jumped right into the legal market at the end of prohibition and turned his family into one of the richest families in the world.
Fortune favors the bold and he who is afraid to travel where angels fear to tread will seriously regret not taking the road less travelled.