If you live in one of the 30 American states that have legalized cannabis recreationally or medically, you might be wondering about the various business opportunities that can arise from opening up a previously taboo industry. For example, is it legal to export weed?
In short, it depends on what country you live in. As of 2018, the only countries that can export weed are Canada, the United Kingdom, and The Netherlands. So, if you live in the United States, sending your homegrown goods to another state, let alone another country, would mean you’re breaking the law.
However, that does not mean that the industry cannot evolve in the future. Many industry experts believe that it is only a matter of time before cannabis is legalized federally in the United States. One of the best ways to track how the cannabis industry might grow is by looking at other countries that already have complete legalization – like the Netherlands and Canada.
Where is it Legal to Export Weed?
The only three countries that can legally export weed are Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. These countries are able to export cannabis to other countries that have legalized it in some form.
Currently Canada is on its way to global cannabis domination. The country is leading in the cannabis exportation industry with several Canadian companies striking international deals to supply medical cannabis to countries like Chile, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, and Croatia. Some Canadian brands that are exporting a large amount of cannabis are Aurora Cannabis, Aphira, and Canopy Growth.
In the Netherlands, established cannabis company Bedrocon exports weed to Cananda, Australia, Germany, Finland, and Italy. It’s interesting to note that in The Netherlands, the government also has their foot in the door in the cannabis export industry. The country’s Office of Medicinal Cannabis ships cannabis to other European countries so that they can use it for medical purposes. If you live in the United States, that is pretty mind-blowing, considering that in this country, shipping cannabis is still labeled as drug trafficking.
Weirdly enough, the United Kingdom is the world leader in medical cannabis exportation, but they have also banned cannabis and claim it has no medicinal properties. In 2017, the country produced over 95 tons of legal cannabis and exported 2 tons to other countries. Understandably, cannabis industry experts and political analysts like Steve Rolles have no idea why the country has such a double standard.
In an interview with the UK’s Independent newspaper, Rolles claimed, “It is scandalous and untenable for the UK government to maintain that cannabis has no medical uses, at the same time as licensing the world's biggest government-approved medical cannabis production and export market.”
Is it Legal to Export Weed in Israel?
Considering that Israel is one of the leading countries in medical cannabis research, you might be wondering – “Is it legal to export weed in Israel?” The answer is pretty simple – no, but recent policies indicate that they are getting close.
If you take any pharmaceutical drugs in the United States, there is a good chance they were exported into the country from Israel. And just this year, religious leaders in the country publically claimed that they do not forbid cannabis use. Following that statement, government agencies passed laws that expand medical marijuana access and decriminalized possession. One large Israeli cannabis company, Tikun Olam, also set up a New York City headquarters, which indicates the country could have it’s eye on the United States exportation market.
Is it Legal to Export Weed Across State Lines in the U.S.?
Considering that cannabis is not federally legal in the United States, it makes sense that exporting the product to other countries is not legal. But is it legal to export weed across state lines, if both states have legalized cannabis?
Simply put – no, it is not legal. Even if both states have legalized cannabis, you cannot transport cannabis across state lines. Federal laws prevent the transport of any restricted substances across state lines, and cannabis is one of those substances (specifically, cannabis is still federally classified as Schedule I on the Controlled Substances Act). Part of the problem is that Section 812 of Title 21 of the Schedule of Controlled Substances Act does not differentiate between the legal status of marijuana between the states. There is no distinction between a legal state, medical state, and illegal state.
Some states, like Oregon, are even taking extra precautions and putting their own laws in place that prevent the import of cannabis from other legal states (like neighbors Washington and California). Oregon’s House Bill 4014 forbids the import of cannabis from other states as well as the export of cannabis out of Oregon. Violating this law results in a $260?$125,000 fine and up to five years in prison depending on the amount you’re caught with. Nevada and California have similar laws as well. In order for the cannabis export and import industry to take off in the United States, we would need widespread federal legalization of cannabis.