Complying with Complex State Laws on Legal Cannabis Consumption Can Be Confusing
Regulations on cannabis consumption are complex and confusing for both companies and customers in legal states, with even more rules involved when it comes to combining the plant with alcoholic beverages.
The laws and regulations surrounding legal cannabis are complex and often hard to understand. There is a good reason why compliance jobs are some of the fastest-growing and highly sought-after in the growing U.S. cannabis industry. Each case is different – depending on the state, the individual, the business, and so on. Regulations tend to get even more complex when alcohol comes into question.
Whether consuming cannabis inside of rental properties should be allowed has been called into question for over 20 years – ever since California first legalized the plant medicine in 1996. It depends on a specific landlord and patient, but if there is a no-smoking policy in a lease agreement that a tenant signs, technically a landlord could likely evict someone for smoking cannabis.
If a patient has a valid medical card, vaporizing and consuming edibles is usually allowed. The highly unfortunate part of this is the fact that patients from lower-income households are most likely to rent and be subject to the cannabis policy. This is up to the landlord, but because weed is still illegal federally, a judge could rule in favor of eviction even if the tenant is a medical cannabis patient. This is also true for vacationers taking “weed holidays” who choose to stay in Airbnb locations. Again, this is up to the property owner. And of course, these same restrictions aren’t typically placed on alcohol consumption, despite the fact that alcohol has been proven to be more dangerous.
Because of these complex and confusing restrictions on consuming cannabis, the need for more spaces that allow public consumption will continue to increase. As state laws currently exist, it is unlawful to hold both a liquor license and a medical cannabis license in the same establishment. State lawmakers think that alcohol and cannabis should not be in the same space as each other, and that is unlikely to change. For instance, Oregon recently banned cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages. There is significant evidence to suggest that people tend to drink less booze in states where cannabis is legal.
Even though the law is confusing and complex, there is still a growing market for wine and beer infused with cannabis. Businesses producing cannabis infused-beverages in this part of the market are removing the alcohol from their beer or wine. Alcohol-free wine containing THC has been a thing for a few years now and has been increasing in popularity. T-Pain even tried a weed wine and interviewed the winemakers on his show ‘T-Pain’s School of Business’, explaining the complexities of maintaining compliance in the process. There are some industry analysts predicting that CBD drinks could help bars and restaurants to turnaround slumping sales. One Pennsylvania Brewery is already doing just that, offering craft beers that are infused with terpenes from specific herb strains in the state.
As we continue moving forward with cannabis legalization, consuming cannabis and fair-housing is an issue that should be addressed with compassion and discussed more frequently during election cycles. Voters should press their state officials about this issue, as it affects many people. More scientific studies need to be conducted to determine whether combining alcohol and marijuana consumption – in both consumables and public spaces – is safe. State laws should reflect the findings of these scientific studies, and not be based on the feelings of lawmakers and regulators.