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Intro to US Marijuana Regulation

The regulatory landscape


Before you play a game, you make sure you know the rules…

But the American adult-use cannabis industry is no game.  It's a highly competitive, tightly regulated industry.  And no matter how good your product is, if you can't navigate those rules, you won't get off the ground—let alone build a durable business.  As a result, it's essential to understand the key features of the regulatory landscape.  Of course, the rules governing this industry aren't static, but ever-changing.

Moreover, there is no single lead regulator or a singular set of regulations for the American cannabis industry.  Certainly it is true that significant commonalities exist across each of the legalized markets—for instance, prohibitions on ownership of licensed businesses by individuals convicted of serious crimes or the marketing of cannabis to minors.  But because regulated, non-black market sales of marijuana are a state-driven phenomenon, each state has taken a different approach to regulation.  For example, some states have noted the similarities between adult-use cannabis and alcohol and tasked their state regulators of alcohol to supervise the cannabis industry.  In other jurisdictions the taxation and public health regulators are given lead authority. 

And these jurisdictions vary not only in the procedural elements of their marijuana enforcement, but also on substance.  For instance, in some jurisdictions retail deliveries of marijuana is permitted under the regulations.  In others, it is forbidden.  In some jurisdictions only state citizens can secure the licenses necessary to operate a cannabis business.  In others, no such restrictions apply.

In the adult-use cannabis industry, ignorance is not bliss.  At MadisonJay, we've put together introductory overviews of the federal government's position and each of the regulated markets at the links below.  If you need more information, need help monitoring the constantly evolving rules, or help building a best-in-class compliance program to navigate these regulations, we're looking forward to hearing from you.