A new bill was filed mid-September that is intended to help small marijuana growers compete against large corporations when cannabis is federally legalized, proposing to give them the ability to ship and sell products directly to consumers within and across state lines.
Helping Small Farmers & Producers
The “Small and Homestead Independent Producers (SHIP) Act” is designed to minimize the risk of smaller businesses struggling to compete against larger corporations that have the resources and infrastructure to quickly expand, and maximize the opportunities for those smaller farmers and producers. This Act would allow these small cannabusinesses to operate their agricultural businesses within and across state lines and provide them the certainty to sustain their businesses under a larger federal legalization law, according to a release from Rep. Jared Huffman.
“Too often, the federal government falls behind, and the gears of Congress work too slowly to keep up with the pace of a changing economy,” Rep. Huffman said in the release. “Under my bill, folks in our state will be able to ship their products straight to consumers when the antiquated federal prohibition on cannabis is finally repealed. As large, commercial cannabis operations squeeze out local producers from the market, this legislation is critical for farmers to survive and expand their small businesses. We cannot leave our smallest family-farmers behind under full legalization.”
Shipping Cannabis Across State Lines
As Congress continues to work toward ending cannabis prohibition, it is becoming an increasing concern for how small businesses would be able to keep up with the large corporations. Direct-to-consumer shipping is a critical tool that can help a diversified market survive and thrive, and the SHIP Act can help these smaller farmers and producers have a standing chance.
Transporting a Schedule 1 substance like marijuana across state lines is considered drug trafficking, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in jail and up to a $250,000 fine for a first offense. Once federal legalization hits, the SHIP Act would allow legal shipments of marijuana across state lines, as long as both the sending and receiving states have legalized marijuana, according to GovTrack.us.
Who Does This Help?
More specifically, the bill is intended to apply to “small” cultivators or manufacturers, which it defines as less than 22,000 feet of greenhouse cultivation, less than 5,000 square feet of indoor cultivation, or less than $5 million in annual revenue. The bill also explicitly legalizes the practice for both the publicly-funded U.S. Postal Service or with a private-sector packaging company, like FedEx or UPS.
If approved by the House, the SHIP Act Act is expected to take effect on the date on which marijuana is removed from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and Federal criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana, are eliminated. This will be a huge step for the cannabis industry as a whole and getting the U.S. closer to an end to federal prohibition.