One of the hottest topics of conversation in the cannabis space right now is home delivery. Both recreational and medical-only states allow home delivery to some degree, but any and all delivery options are offered with the understanding that Washington continues to turn a blind eye to state-legal marijuana. What if the federal government legalizes marijuana? What would that mean to cannabis home delivery?
Senate Democrats promised to have a bill ready for the president’s signature earlier in 2021. They failed to deliver. Now, there is a GOP bill circulating in the House that would, if passed, de-schedule marijuana and regulate it like alcohol. Passage of the bill would give us an insight into potential home delivery changes.
State-by-State Alcohol Rules
It is actually brilliant for the GOP to take the lead in regulating cannabis like alcohol. Perhaps the lawmakers behind the bill are approaching cannabis pragmatically. They understand that it will eventually be decriminalized anyway, so why not get ahead of it and make plans to regulate marijuana like alcohol?
States have the constitutional right to control alcohol within their borders. Thus, shipping alcohol is governed by state and local laws. There are a few federal laws as well. All the state and federal laws are applied based on the origin of an alcohol shipment and its destination.
If a liquor store wants to deliver alcohol to a customer in town, only local and state laws apply. If that same store wants to ship across state lines, the laws in both states have to be followed. The store is looking at complying with federal laws if it hopes to ship internationally.
Applying the Same Laws to Cannabis
The alcohol model works so well that it seems a perfect fit for the cannabis space. Allowing states the right to control cannabis distribution within their borders allows medical-only states to continue restricting recreational use. Meanwhile it gives recreational states the ability to further develop their markets as they see fit.
Utah is one of the eighteen states that still limits cannabis use to medical need. It is hard to believe they would embrace recreational use as a result of Washington decriminalizing marijuana. That being the case, Utah could shape its home delivery and shipping rules around the idea that medical use will be the only use allowed in the state.
Practically speaking, this would prevent patients from buying cannabis products out of state and having them shipped in. Licensed pharmacies like Salt Lake City’s Beehive Farmacy would still be the only source of legal cannabis products.
Banning out-of-state sales would be effective because shippers would be required by federal law to follow the laws in both states. And because Utah would still restrict inbound shipments and recreational use, shippers from other states would find it too risky to deal with Utah customers.
Making Delivery Easier
The folks behind Beehive Farmacy say that federal decriminalization would make home delivery in Utah easier. Without the specter of violating federal law hanging over their heads, pharmacies would have more flexibility in getting purchases to their customers. Assuming that private delivery services like UPS and FedEx got on board, medical cannabis home delivery in Utah could be as easy as buying something from Amazon.
Of course, Utah is not the only state with strict medical-only policies. But all those states have to temper their respective regulations with the understanding that marijuana is still illegal in Washington’s eyes. Decriminalization changes everything. It certainly would make it easier for states to manage home delivery in a safe and efficient manner.