MASSACHUSETTS: The cannabis industry could reach $35 billion by 2020, according to GreenWave Advisors, if all 50 states legalize marijuana and the federal government ends prohibition. In a less optimistic scenario, the research group still expects revenue to reach about $21 billion assuming 12 states legalize recreational marijuana and 37 legalize medical marijuana. Despite the industry’s enormous size and growth, the legal framework for the industry is patchy and disjointed.
The regulatory framework from assorted states and what they require for cannabis testing varies enormously, with some requirements having been set by scientists and others determined by politicians and regulators with no scientific training.
As an example, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health stipulates that lead levels in cannabis flowers can be no greater than 212 parts per billion, which is so strict that growers will not be able to meet them, essentially eliminating the sale of budding flowers (the part that is smokable) in the state. By contrast, Colorado’s law allows up to 10,000 parts per billion and is considered to be safe, while Nevada comes in at 1,200 ppb as the legal limit. One of the strangest aspects is that while Massachusetts has a stricter standard for lead, they are more lenient than Nevada with respect to arsenic, cadmium, and mercury.