California: Getting Ready for Legal Cannabis in Biggest US Market
California Proposition 64, which was approved in the November 2016 election, will make cannabis legal for use in the state for all people over 21 years of age. The expected date of implementation is January 1, 2018. Still, there remain some questions about whether the state’s regulatory bodies will be ready then. So far, the officials say they will.
BIGGEST U.S. MARKET
California is a huge market for just about everything – the 6th largest economy in the world. It should be no surprise then that recreational cannabis sales in California is expected to double the US cannabis sales all by itself, from an estimated $6 billion in 2016 to as much as $7 billion in California alone in 2018!
California was the first US state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes in 1996. The scarcity of regulations meant that almost anything was available under the medical label. Attempts to add regulations proved difficult and oddly enough Prop 64, while expanding the market to adult use, will also introduce the first significant statewide regulations.
REGULATIONS NOW UNDER REVIEW
Several California government agencies are working hard to get things under control. The California Department of Public Health published its draft regulations for comment in April. Agriculture will control growth, and the Board of Equalization will collect the taxes. The sheer size of the market however is causing quite a concern. Among those concerns is how to handle the money.
It’s said that trends begin in California. If that’s true there is a lot to learn about regulating adult use cannabis in such a diverse place.
Many of the rules will be familiar, like inspections and use of security cameras. Other rules may be different like local control, regional sales and transportation.
It is said that some people are happy with the relatively unregulated cannabis market in California as it is. Others welcome the addition of state control and scrutiny. What we all know is that this is going to be big. Cannabis Law is keeping an eye open and watching the developments, so stay tuned!
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