Many marijuana dispensaries, currently facing varying degrees of enforcement of their “grey market” activities across the country, are hoping to participate in the legal market. But legal experts have differing predictions about how the impending new legal framework will affect how these storefronts and their owners, whether they continue to sell illegally or not, will be treated by the authorities.
“I think when the law changes it is going to create some uniformity in how enforcement takes place,” says Matt Maurer, who is a partner at Torkin Manes LLP and vice-chairman of the firm’s cannabis law group. He says he has been contacted by many individuals who formerly operated in the grey market and want to transition into the legal market, and he thinks that the illegal storefronts will disappear relatively quickly after legalization.
“From the storefront perspective, it is really easy” to enforce the law post-legalization, he says. “Now, the police walk in and can arrest anyone working there and the penalty is up to 14 years." Under the new Cannabis Act, individuals can face imprisonment for up to 14 years for “selling without authorization.”