Cannabis Regulations: The Positive Side of Federal Enforcement


Yes, the Feds are coming, but there is a positive side to their approach.

When federal enforcement of the cannabis regulations is mentioned, there is most often a negative reaction:  fear of raids, property seizure and court battles.

Yes, the Feds are coming, but there is a positive side to their approach.  Federal enforcement has begun, and it is focusing—exclusively—on the black market. This is the positive side to the flurry of cannabis enforcement, and the legal, regulated cannabis industry is benefitting.

Recent Examples

  • In the Seattle area, U.S. authorities arrested several illegal, unlicensed cannabis growers in an investigation into what is said to be an international black market cannabis operation financed by Chinese money. Authorities are still searching for the two men who are suspected of leading a crime ring that used hundreds of thousands of dollars wired from China to illegally grow cannabis in 17 homes around Washington State, and then shipped the cannabis to New York's black market.

  • Hundreds of federal and local law enforcement agents raided 74 houses in the Sacramento region – breaking up a network of illegal cannabis growers financed by dark money from China.

  • In Sacramento, federal and state authorities announced a joint effort to target illegal cannabis grows, with $2.5 million in federal money backing the effort.

Authorities Are Assisting the Industry

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Department of Homeland Security are leading the efforts to crack down on the cannabis black market, and are supporting the state-legal cannabis industry.  Arrests are being made to those who violate cannabis licensing laws, in an effort to protect the investment and businesses who are following state law.  The black market is a competitor of the legal, regulated market, and the elimination of the black market is necessary for the legal, regulated market to thrive.

While it may seem the majority of information we hear regarding federal involvement in cannabis is in a negative light, on the brighter side, the U.S. Department of Justice is enforcing the legalization rules and regulations established in the nine legal cannabis states by shutting down the black market.  Enforcement can help legitimize the industry, and any assistance to eliminate the black market is federal money and time well spent.

For additional information on changes that impact the cannabis industry, check out the JDSA website regularly or contact Lindsey Weidenbach with questions.