Cannabis Trainers is often asked during our training sessions if it’s legal to gift cannabis to friends and family. The short answer is; it depends. Many states where adult-use cannabis is legal have also written gifting practices (both legal and illegal) into regulations for the industry. It seems the largest infraction from gifting is when a state sees gifting of cannabis in exchange for some other non-cannabis related products (Jaeger 2022). This is especially true for those states that already have medical cannabis legalization in place and are working to establish adult-use regulations.
Most states, like New York and Connecticut, are finding some unlicensed facilities are selling other products and using cannabis as a “gift” for purchasing (Hackford 2021). This type of practice is illegal. Sales must be done with an approved license issued by the state cannabis commissions. There are some states, like New York, that do allow for the gifting of cannabis to a person 21 or older without any exchange of money or services (Hackford 2021). Possession laws also apply, limiting the amount of cannabis gifting.
Connecticut specifically has been in the news recently as they explore how gifting may work within the state. The biggest issue comes from those within the industry who are holding gifting bazaars to gather like-minded cannabis consumers for live music, vendor booths, and other typical festival fare. However, they are often gifting cannabis with the sale of t-shirts and other products, taking advantage of a loophole in CT law (Hydeck 2022). State regulators are working quickly to close this loophole and return to seed-to-sale tracking for ALL cannabis exchanges to provide safety to the industry. The actual practice of true gifting to a family member or a friend is not illegal in Connecticut (Hydeck 2022) again so long as no money or service is exchanged.
As members of the cannabis community, our best suggestion to remain within compliance and within the laws of your state is to check on regulations for gifting. As we all know, each state is a little different in their approach to legalization. Double check with your compliance officers to protect your badge and the organization if you hear of an occasion of gifting that may not be within the laws.
In summary, most states follow these guidelines:
- A patient may not gift their cannabis product to another patient or adult. I.e.; a patient’s “medicine” is intended for them only.
- An adult may gift cannabis to another adult 21+ for no remuneration.
Hackford, R. ‘There is not a gray market.’ Chair of regulatory board issues warning about gifting cannabis. Oct 22, 2021. https://www.wgrz.com/article/news/local/there-is-not-a-gray-market-chair-of-regulatory-board-issues-warning-about-gifting-cannabis/71-85ccf586-ef86-4069-9678-73c64d9f7b5e.
Hydeck, M. Face the Facts: Gifting Cannabis in Connecticut . March 24, 2022. https://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics/face-the-facts/face-the-facts-gifting-cannabis-in-connecticut/2747865/.
Jaeger, K. New York Regulators Crack Down On Businesses ‘Gifting’ Marijuana As State Prepares To Approve Licensed Retailers. Feb 8, 2022. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/new-york-regulators-crack-down-on-businesses-gifting-marijuana-as-state-prepares-to-approve-licensed-retailers/.