How States Are Regulating Environmental Impacts of a Newly Legalized Industry
Now legalized in some form in 21 states and the District of Columbia, marijuana is continuing its transition from a niche business in a handful of states to a national industry. Because the federal government still considers marijuana, or cannabis, to be a schedule i controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), individual states have taken the lead in creating a legal, regulated marketplace for cannabis production and use. To that end, each state may have different goals in regulating the legal marketplace for cannabis, and businesses hoping to operate in or provide services for the newly legalized industry must understand the patchwork of compliance requirements they will face. This column surveys some of the ways states have chosen to regulate the environmental impacts of cannabis legalization in an effort to understand which issues have been prime targets for regulation, where some regulatory inconsistencies between the states exist, and what may be growing targets for regulation in the future.