As more and more states legalize cannabis in the United States, a debate on whether to regulate cannabis by its potency also appears to be gaining steam.
Generally, many states that have legal cannabis markets base their tax on weight or sales price. However, the state of New York signed a legislation in March, under which recreational cannabis will be taxed based off its THC amount. For those who may not be familiar with THC, this is the primary intoxicating chemical in marijuana.
When the state of Illinois began recreational cannabis sales in 2020, it also enacted a potency-related tax. In Vermont, officials are planning to launch the state’s legal marijuana market in the next year or so, under which THC content will also be limited.
Individuals who support the move to limit THC content as a way to regulate cannabis assert that these measures will protect public health by discouraging the use of what people may regard as highly concentrated marijuana. President of Smart Approaches to Marijuana Kevin Sabet noted that legislators needed to put some limitations on the cannabis products being sold to people. Smart Approaches to Marijuana is an anti-legalization group that has been calling for potency caps for some time.
Additionally, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine conducted an examination of health and cannabis in 2017; the results noted that the growth in potency was among the factors that create the potential for a higher risk of adverse health effects.
On the other hand, those opposing potency caps contend that limiting amounts of THC in products may drive people to buy products from the illegal market. Recorded data shows that in the recent decades, the levels of THC have been rising in the cannabis seized by federal agents. For instance, in 2014, the average THC levels were 12% while almost two decades before that, in 1995, the THC levels were only 4%. Reports from the state of Colorado show that marijuana concentrates sold in the state’s legal market average 69% THC, with some hitting as high as 90%.
Supporters of cannabis legalization are of the opinion that potency caps will backfire. In a recent op-ed, NORML deputy director Paul Armentano noted that recriminalizing cannabis products would affect the consumer demand for these products, in addition to pushing consumers to look for similar products in the illicit and unregulated market.
As a substitute measure, some states are choosing to make high THC cannabis products more expensive, instead of forbidding their use.
Companies such as XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT), which have opted to take the route of formulating medicines from cannabis compounds, may be the ultimate winners since securing FDA approval for their formulations grants them access to patients in the entire country. This would free the companies from having to navigate the complexity of numerous state-level laws.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/XPHYF
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