Humanity’s home state of California is celebrating the new year by being the latest state in the United States to fully legalize cannabis!
On Monday, January 1, recreational use of marijuana becomes legal here in the beautiful state of California. As The Telegraph says, “California will become the sixth state – and by far the most populous – to legalize and tax sales of recreational cannabis, completing a shift along the US west coast, with Massachusetts and Maine on track to change their laws on pot in 2018.”
California has over 40 million residents, which brings up the average, making 1 in 5 Americans living in a state which allows smoking and ingesting marijuana. With this size population, California is also the world’s sixth-largest economy.
In the United States, banking for marijuana businesses is still a huge issue, given the federal laws and the fact that recreational cannabis is only legal in a few states. Even the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned people about investing in cannabis companies, as some have been shown to be a scam. Proper research is required to make sure your investments are in good hands.
However, no one can debate the fact that the marijuana industry is very quickly becoming of North America’s fastest-growing industries, especially watching the success Canada is having right now. Marijuana farms, dispensaries, and supply chains are growing and employing thousands of people and that number continues to grow. Even universities are recognizing the changes and have started incorporating courses on marijuana cultivation, legal regulations, and business.
According to Marijuana Business Daily, cannabis-related companies are already employing more than 100,000 workers, including up to 27,000 involved in cultivation, 52,000 in dispensaries and 66,000 in ancillary industries. Just like other industries, the marijuana world needs accountants, truck drivers, cashiers, and other positions.
According to Business Insider, one report from the cannabis industry research firm BDS Analytics estimates that the sales of cannabis will hit $3.7 billion in 2018 alone and predict that the number will increase to $5.1 billion in 2019 as more dispensaries come online and more people continue to get easier and better access to cannabis. As a comparison, beer sales in California hit $5 billion for the first time in 2017, according to industry research group IBIS World.
Legal marijuana sales are predicted to hit $9.7 billion in the states where recreational marijuana is legal, excluding California (not legal until 1/1/2018), and Canada in 2017 alone, says BDS. That number is expected to hit $24.5 billion in sales by 2021, despite continued federal prohibition. This shows how big of an impact California alone will have on this total.
As the recreational use goes into effect on January 1, be patient! A few of the largest cities in California, including LA and San Francisco, are still working to pass regulations and have missed the January 1 date, but will soon be available. This simply means that some dispensaries may not have their recreational-use licenses on Monday but are in the process of getting them.
With California being so large, it is somewhat expected to see these kinds of snags in the regulatory side, but it is on track and happening.
Prices may also be rising. According to Green State, the price of an eighth-ounce of marijuana — now around $54 including tax — will increase to approximately $65, though local municipalities may levy different fees. Part of this rise is due to the state applying an excise tax on recreational-use marijuana sales. If you are using marijuana for medicinal purposes and are a registered patient, this should not affect you. Californian officials are hopeful that ease of procurement and legality will keep people from going to the unregulated black market for their needs.
Nonetheless, all dispensaries need to get licensed and be ready to sell as quickly as possible. Being able to legally and easily get marijuana is the only way this will work for everyone.
“If there are only 10 regulated dispensaries in the East Bay and I live 45 minutes from one of them, I’m going to call my dealer or my unregulated delivery service like I’ve done for the last five years,” Hezekiah Allen, the executive director of the California Growers Association, told Bloomberg, “What we need to do in California right now is ensure that every Californian that wants to consume cannabis can buy it at an affordable price, conveniently, from a licensed retailer,” Allen added.