Unlike many industries, cannabis varies from state to state. Not only are strains different, but consumer demand, marketing, compliance, and transportation regulations vary as well. As someone who has lived in three different states with legal cannabis, it's shocking how much they vary.
When I first moved to Colorado, I was new to the industry and fortunate enough to get in with a company that focused on compliance and quality rather than numbers. It was in the beautiful Centennial State that I first learned the basics of compliance and the differences between the thousands of strains on the market.
However, in Arkansas, the strict regulations and strangled market were an absolute culture shock. While I worked within the hemp sector of the market, I kept a close eye on the marijuana market also. The licensing regulations, plant count restrictions, and other strict laws governing Arkansas' cannabis market seemed to reserve the label "legal state" for showboating purposes only.
On the other end of the spectrum, Oklahoma is like the wild west. While some aspects, like transporter licensing requirements, are stricter than Colorado's, other aspects are less constricting. Take for instance, the seed-to-sale reporting system METRC. While METRC is required by Colorado law, the industry in Oklahoma pushed back against the incoming METRC requirement. At the time of this writing, there is still a temporary restraining order against the requirement of METRC in Oklahoma's cannabis industry.
Each state industry varies drastically from one another. And while this is a culture shock for transplant industry workers, this does have a silver lining.
When the industry (finally) receives federal legalization, there will be a mass amount of information on regulations that make sense and what doesn't. Think about state legalization as a building block towards federal. This line of thinking also stresses the importance of regulations being created by those with industry knowledge.
Make no mistake, federal legalization is part of the cannabis industry's future. By building a solid foundation at a state level, the industry can provide much needed information that will help create a quality federal standard.