Dawson Hobbs: September 27, 2018

Federal Government Should Respect the Rights of States to Legalize Cannabis

Legal, Well Regulated Marketplace Needed Similar to the Laws Governing Alcohol 

Dawson Hobbs

Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA)


The legal cannabis industry continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of North America’s economy. The legalization of medical cannabis in Canada and many American states has fostered a thriving medical cannabis industry over the past decade, consisting of everything from pharmaceutical companies to retail specialists. With recreational use now legal in several states, the industry is set to blossom further.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) recently announced an official policy position in favor of a state’s right to establish a legal, well-regulated, adult-use cannabis marketplace; it is the first and only beverage alcohol association to do so. In states where cannabis is or will subsequently be legalized, the association calls on the federal government to respect the right of states to legalize cannabis if they adopt cannabis market regulations that meet a framework like that governing beverage alcohol.

Key Components of Effective Cannabis Market Regulation:

  • A minimum age of 21 for purchase, possession and use.
  • Establishment of Driving Under the Influence impaired driving standards.
  • Separation of producers, processors, distributors and retailers.
  • Tax collection and enforcement; Measures to prevent diversion of cannabis to other states.
  • Establishment of a designated agency overseeing cannabis industry regulation in each state.
  • Penalties for licensee violations on par with the state’s alcohol regulations.
  • Regulations that ensure all products in market can be tracked/traced to source processor/producer.

On Thursday, September 27th, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the WSWA Dawson Hobbs is available to you and your listeners to explain why the federal government should give states the power to legalize cannabis but should ensure they meet the appropriate regulatory rules. Legalization should include regulations that set age restrictions on buyers, as well as license and regulate the supply chain of cannabis, including growers, distributors, retailers and testing laboratories.

For more information please visit www.wswa.org  



Dawson Hobbs is the Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), and oversees the association’s state, federal and regulatory government affairs team. He joined the association in 2006 as Vice President, State Affairs. A graduate of Texas A&M University with more than 18 years of state government affairs experience Dawson has been an active participant in numerous state legislative battles and has developed relationships with policymakers from across the country. He currently uses that experience to promote WSWA’s positions in support of the three-tier system and effective state regulation of beverage alcohol.

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