John Bishop on cannabis in the US

has an article in Law Talk on the issues around . Some extracts:

Data for Washington State shows the retail price per gram fell from US$35 in December 2014 to US$7.45 in late 2017. Wholesale prices also fell from nearly US$10 to just US$2.53 in the same period.

Those prices are a lot lower than what pot farmers thought they would be getting for a wholesale gram when they were first applying for licences at the end of 2013.

So good for consumers but not so good for farmers.

But, despite continuing federal prohibition, legal sales of marijuana in North America were worth $US9.7 billion in 2017, according to a report from Arcview Market

Research and BDS Analytics. That’s up a third by value on 2016.

That’s larger than many industries in NZ.

It’s $5 for a single joint which comes in a plastic silo. The bowl, which
contains an ounce of marijuana, is $125, but has enough to make about 30 joints, one a day for a month. This is where the exotic names come in. ‘Girl Scout Cookies’ is described as “famous sweet berry taste great for relaxation from pain and stress”

The Girl Scouts might not be too happy with the use of their name!

The enemies of the marijuana industry are alcohol and pharmaceutical companies which see marijuana as a threat to their products.


Are there lessons for New Zealand here? One is to be clear about what
behaviour we are willing to allow.

The public do not see medical and recreational use as the same thing.
If there is to be a regime which licenses cultivators, but allows individuals
to grow some quantity for personal use, what are the permitted

In Colorado an individual with a medical prescription for marijuana can grow 24 plants for personal use. A cultivator must have at least 2,000 plants.

If the Government wants a referendum in 2020 to be meaningful, they need to have thought about these issues in advance.

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