New business laws include marijuana sales rules

A new year brings new business law that requires study and interpretation by an experienced lawyer. This year, that includes new marijuana sales laws.

Some companies are exploiting provisions in marijuana sales laws that allow small amounts of the drug to be given from one adult to the other, as long as they aren’t selling it.

The so-called “gifting” provision has companies selling merchandise such as T-shirts or juice that come with a bonus — a small quantity of pot.

Some entrepreneurs see it as an opportunity to get ahead of the regulated market, the Miami Herald reported. But in places where marijuana shops are legal, the practice of gifting may undercut the licensed retailers, who face government oversight and pay sales taxes.

A Craigslist ad in Massachusetts offered plastic sandwich bags for sale for as much as $325 each, while the marijuana inside the bags was “free.” One smoke shop gave marijuana to customers who paid a $25 to $50 admission fee.

Some states ban businesses from advertising marijuana giveaways, but the  businesses often find ways to obscure what they’re doing and rely largely on word of mouth to make sales, per the Herald.

One company sells drinks priced from $55 to $150 that it advertises come with “love” or lots of love.”  When the Associated Press put in a $60 order, the reporter received a bottle of Tazo juice and an eighth of an ounce of marijuana.

A $100 T-shirt from ordered from another company included a bonus bag of pot as well.

Retail shops in states that have legalized marijuana should make the practice of gifting obsolete eventually, as people demand want quality control-tested products, experts said.

In November 2016, Florida voters approved Constitutional Amendment 2, which gave individuals the right to use medical marijuana if they suffered from certain debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.