Congress’s new SHIP law would allow small growers to ship weed directly to consumers. Shit yeah!

Talk about defending the little guy.

Yesterday, September 14, Congressmen Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced a new federal bill with one specific goal: to allow small cannabis growers and manufacturers to ship products to flower and marijuana base both within a state and across state lines, using either the US Postal Service or a private shipping company.

The bill, titled the Small Independent Producers Act (SHIP Act), would only go into effect after Congress declassifies cannabis and removes penalties for possessing, manufacturing, and distributing cannabis at the federal level. In other words, it is a post-legalization trigger bill.

When Congress legalizes, the SHIP Act would give small cannabis players a crucial tool to compete with big corporations in a federal legal landscape. Customers from anywhere in the country would be able to access the products they were looking for, and the producers themselves would save a lot on third-party distribution costs. Except future legislation, only these small businesses could benefit from the maritime policy.


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Helping small farmers to be competitive

Huffman, whose home district includes California’s cannabis-growing mecca known as the Emerald Triangle, considers federal legalization an “inevitability.”

“It’s a discouraging business environment that [small businesses] are faced. Markets are consolidating,” Huffman Told Marijuana Timeis Kyle Jaeger. “Big multinationals will certainly do very well, but we want to make sure that smaller companies have a chance to compete and succeed.”


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Still pending federal legalization, however

While members of Congress have introduced several federal legalization bills, none have passed both the House and the Senate.

The MORE Act passed twice in the House, but stalled in the Senate.

Most recently, in July 2022, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) officially introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Although the federal legalization bill did not pass the Senate this year, it nonetheless indicates growing interest in legalization across the finish line.

Additionally, President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise of federal decriminalization. He has not yet fulfilled this commitment.

Who is eligible for the SHIP law?

The SHIP Act sets out clear guidelines for businesses that can take advantage of the interstate direct-to-consumer trade policy. On the grower front, SHIP would apply to those growing up to one acre of mature canopy outdoors, up to 22,000 square feet in greenhouses, or up to 5,000 square feet indoors.

This would also apply to manufacturers who generate less than $5,000,000 in gross annual revenue.

Broad support across the industry

The SHIP law has has already garnered approvals from a wide range of trade and advocacy organizations including the Origins Council, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, FARMS Inc, Washington Sun & Craft Growers Association, Vermont Growers Association, Maine Craft Cannabis Association, Farm Bug Co-Op, Big On Farmers Association, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Trinity County Agricultural Alliance and Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

Even organizations that typically remain silent on federal legalization have spoken out in support of the SHIP Act.

“Today we are approving a federal bill for the first time! We are proud to support the SHIP Act and all the small business associations that have developed it with [Reps. Huffman and Blumenauer]”, the impartial Parabola Center for Law and Policy wrote on Twitter. “Artisanal producers should be allowed to ship directly to consumers.”

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson probably has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any cannabis beat writer. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folks. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

See articles by Max Savage Levenson

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