Forbes Article: America’s Cannabis Industry: Balancing Strong Regulation with Businesses’ Desire for Accountability

Here’s the introduction to the Forbes piece

Less than ten years ago, the legal cannabis industry barely existed; only a handful of states had legalized medicinal cannabis programs and none had legalized adult use. By 2020, at least eleven states will have legalized cannabis for adult use and 33 states will have legalized medicinal use in some form. But, surprisingly, while cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries today, it is also one of the most regulated.

This is no accident. At a time when most regulation lags behind industry developments (look no further than the technology industry), there is near-unanimous agreement among stakeholders that the cannabis industry should be well regulated from the outset. Because of this, regulation is helping to shape the market and not, as is more common, the other way around. This is only possible with a regulatory framework that’s both balanced and flexible.

I’ll start with flexibility. It’s impossible for regulators to know just how the policy will look in practice, what the unintended consequences and downstream impacts will be, and how the market will react within the emergent landscape. Once the regulatory policy is established, and the market starts to take shape within that framework, active “in practice” regulation must mold to this evolving market, and vice versa. Only by being responsive can a state support both the regulator’s ability to effectively regulate and the regulated community’s ability to comply.

Read the full article

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