Weird cannabis laws in the United States

Published Feb 24, 2023 02:00 p.m. ET
Unsplash / Tingey Injury Law Firm

In Canada, there are some rules and laws that change from one province to another, like growing or caps on how much someone can carry in a public setting, but the U.S. is far more complicated and that is because there is no federal protection to blanket consumers with protection in any scenario. Instead, American enthusiasts must navigate a mishmash of often contradicting, sometimes overlapping, and rarely straightforward or realistic restrictions, which can be difficult.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, this country is also home to some of the strangest cannabis laws, and here we’re going to highlight a few of the weirdest ones for your entertainment.

California has banned weed delivery by boats, trains, and planes

California may have been one of the first to boast an established cannabis industry, but this state is strict in terms of how these products may be transported, be it to dispensaries or customers. The only option is a regular good old-fashioned automobile which can be problematic depending on where brands would like to ship their goods.

According to California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, “Transportation by means of aircraft, watercraft, drone, rail, human-powered vehicle, and unmanned vehicle is prohibited.”

In Washington D.C. the only way to get cannabis is if it’s gifted to you

Recreational cannabis is completely legal in Washington D.C. while opening a dispensary is still prohibited. Because of this, distributors have had to get creative using things like workout programs, gym memberships, and private clubs all with cannabis attached, to get products into the hands of people and make a profit. This loophole is the only thing sustaining Washington’s weed industry, though it doesn’t seem to be slowing down consumption rates or revenue streams in the slightest.

Edibles are taxed higher than any other product in Maine

Main cannabis taxes vary depending on the product at hand, with medicinal at 5.5 percent general sales tax, while edibles are taxed an additional 8 percent through retail stores. This is because these products are subject to the state's meal tax, even if they’re something as simple as a pack of infused gummies.

In Nevada, cannabis companies must use certain fonts

The city of sin may be full of all kinds of things that wouldn’t normally be considered allowable or socially acceptable, but for some reason, regulators here have strict rules surrounding fonts and the size of writing on cannabis product packages. Serif and sans serif fonts may be used, while italics are banned entirely, and all other fun and trendy fonts are prohibited making it difficult for cannabis brands to really stand out in a crowd.


Dispensary merchandise is banned in Massachusetts

You will not find a hat, cup, drink holder, shirt, sweatshirt, or even a pack of stickers with a cannabis brand or dispensaries logo on it in Massachusetts because they are prohibited by the Cannabis Control Commission from advertising using novelty items. You can find almost any other cannabis product you could ever want for sale here, just nothing outside of consumables and accessories.

Michigan doesn’t spell marijuana the same way as everyone else

Marijuana is a highly controversial term that many advocates say we should stop using altogether, but the state of Michigan is living even more in the past using an even older spelling. Here, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 seems to have had a huge influence on new legislation, and no one is working to change that anytime soon.

In California and Washington cannabis products cannot be smell tested

Most cannabis enthusiasts enjoy having the opportunity to smell test products before buying, as it gives them an idea of the flavors and aromas they can expect, which can highly influence the overall experience. Sadly, Californians don’t have the luxury of this kind of dispensary visit, as all pot products must be sealed, and scratch and sniff stickers also aren’t allowed.

In Delaware, the only way to find cannabis is by browsing the phonebook

In Delaware, it’s hard for medical consumers to find cannabis because advertising via mainstream means such as in-person solicitation, print, or broadcast is prohibited. Though most ads are not allowed, phone book advertising is explicitly protected, and therefore the most utilized means of connecting customers with dispensaries.

Americas cannabis sector is a bust


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