Although 36 states and Washington D.C. have some form of legalized marijuana (15 of those for recreational use), it’s still strictly illegal to cross state lines with these products. It all comes back to federal prohibition. Crossing state lines with marijuana will cause you to run afoul of federal law. Each state dictates the movement of marijuana in its own borders, but intrastate commerce is federal jurisdiction.
More than likely though, this will change – not so much a matter of if, but when. For one thing, we’re looking at a brighter than ever possibility of federal legislation that would end prohibition and legalize the drug. Beyond that, however, there’s a clause in the U.S. Constitution that bars states from unfairly restricting commerce between states under something known as the dormant commerce clause. State laws that restrict marijuana commerce with other states are probably unconstitutional under this clause (though it hasn’t been tested). As of right now, though, states don’t have any significant incentive to change it because it’s bolstering the economy of their own citizens. There haven’t been any lawsuits to challenge it either (yet) probably because litigation is expensive, it’s unknown how the value of limited licensing in marijuana-legal states would be impacted and fiercer competition is still an unknown for these burgeoning industries.
How Marijuana Trade Between States Would Impact the Legal Industry
As longtime Los Angeles marijuana business lawyers, we’ve seen the industry ushered through many major changes. Interstate commerce would be another significant one for nearly every sector. High-quality boutique offerings could find a bigger market. Larger firms that commoditize cheaper products would be in high demand. We’d likely see an immediate demand in more efficient supply chain and logistics experts.
Retailers might not see an impact right away (unless they are close to a state border). Even if/when marijuana prohibition ends at the federal level, most retail is likely to stay local. It’s probable that federal lawmakers would want to impose limitations or an outright ban on shipping marijuana via mail. (The same is done for tobacco products.)
What is less clear is how the value of state-issued permits would become. Continue reading