Is Federal Cannabis Legalization A Double-Edged Sword? The Answer Is Complicated

"The real catalyst is going to be federal legalization. Unfortunately, it’s just going to take many years longer," began Anthony Coniglio, founder, president, and CIO of NewLake Capital Partners Inc. NLCP, setting the tone for what would be an illuminating discussion at the recent Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami.

The journey of cannabis, from being an illicit substance to gradually emerging as an industry powerhouse, has been nothing short of dramatic. But when two of the industry’s stalwarts, Coniglio and Bryan McLaren, chairman and CEO of Zoned Properties ZDPY, took the stage, attendees were treated to a perspective that went beyond generic debates.

Their insights peered into the very heart of the challenges and opportunities the cannabis industry grapples with. If you're keen to dive deeper into these revelations and more, don't miss the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference. It's making its anticipated return to Chicago on September 27 and 28. Be there to be enlightened.

The Cannabis Dilemma: Do You Want the FDA Involved?

When Maureen Meehan, Benzinga editor, posed a question, hinting at the complexities that federal legalization might usher in, Coniglio responded, “Oh, that’s a separate comment. Yeah, everybody wants federal legalization. Do you want the FDA looking over your shoulder? Do you want to have a three-tier model? Pick what lobby is going to push for control in the industry."

Related Content: Health Officials To DEA: Ease Federal Restrictions On Cannabis - Will This Set Stage For Legalization?

How Big Pharma, Liquor, and Convenience Stores Influence Cannabis Policy: Coniglio went on to paint a vivid picture of the forces shaping the cannabis landscape, highlighting, “We all think cannabis is the core issue. It’s not in Washington. There are a lot of outside influences, whether it’s the convenience store industry or whether it’s the liquor and wine industry, or whether it’s the pharmaceutical industry.”

“They all have interests in how this industry evolves, and they’re all going to put their stamp or try to put their stamp on how it evolves. If you want it to shape how you want it to come out, you’re going to have to get involved in lobbying,” he said.

It's not merely about legalization, but about navigating the intricate web of interests that such a change would herald. Coniglio's words served as a clarion call to stakeholders in the industry to be prepared for battles beyond mere legislative reform.

On the other hand, McLaren provided a pragmatic lens to view the situation, stating, “I think the only thing I would add is what’s reality versus perception. That’s something we deal with in cannabis all the time."

He also threw light on the banking aspect, pointing out the decline in national banks and emphasizing, "While federal reform, of course, is important, I think it’s somewhat of a perception that it's the end-all-be-all. Of course, it is better when that occurs, but in some capacities, the groups that have done it without that are figuring out solutions already anyways.”

Related Content: Taxation Without Representation: Are Cannabis Operators Unfairly Targeted By The IRS?

While Miami was treated to these revelations, the excitement is far from over. The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference is returning to Chicago on September 27 and 28. All information is available on

Image by El Planteo

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsPenny StocksRegulationsPoliticsSmall CapEventsMarketsGeneralAnthony ConiglioBenzinga Cannabis Capital ConferenceBryan McLarenCCCCCC ChicagoFederal Cannabis LegalizationMaureen MeehanNewLake Capital Partners IncWashington D.C.Zoned Properties
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