Reasonable to Whom?
When we ask whether the compensation is “reasonable” we must also
ask: “Reasonable to whom?”
The general public doesn’t know and doesn’t care what prices or
profits may be. Likewise, there is little point in having the “reasonable”
standard set by public officials or lawmakers who are out of touch with the
conditions in the medical marijuana market. We can’t ask the police or
prosecutors. Many of them are openly opposed to medical marijuana and don’t
want any medical marijuana at all. They have always worked under the assumption
that any transfer of marijuana is an illegal “sale” even when no compensation
is involved. Their only interest in the question is when it allows them to
Besides, the police have no standard for determining when
compensation is “unreasonable” and therefore triggers the possibility of
prosecution. Making too much money isn’t a crime in any other area of commerce.
They can’t look up the legal limit on earnings like they can with speed limits
on the highway. There is no law that says that $65 compensation is legal, but
$75 isn't. On the contrary, making lots of money is generally applauded, not
The only sensible standard for “reasonable compensation” is the
same standard used in civil law. In contract law, “reasonable compensation” is
determined soley by the people who are parties to the transaction -- the
buyer and the seller.
In civil law, if two parties engage in a contract the courts will
not question whether the consideration in a contract is “reasonable” (absent
duress, fraud, or other extreme circumstances). If someone wants to pay a
million dollars for a tiny faded postage stamp with an incorrectly printed
upside down airplane that is no longer useful as postage, then it is assumed
that they knew the value to them and the compensation was “reasonable” to both
parties. It hardly matters to anyone else what the two parties might have
agreed upon as “reasonable compensation” for the item. It is likewise with
every other product and service on the market, from tomatoes and garbage
collectors to yachts and neurosurgeons.