While California is rushing to have recreational pot legalized on January, 1, weed users in some parts of the state won’t enjoy the new privilege yet.
Many municipalities in the state including San Francisco and Los Angeles won’t have their pot licenses ready by Jan. 1. This is no good news to stoners as marijuana dispensaries must get local licenses before they can be given state licenses, according to the law approved by voters in the 2016 referendum.
Alex Traverso, spokesman for the California Bureau of Cannabis Control said people should not have high hopes they will be able to buy recreational weed immediately it goes legal on New Year’s Day as some parts aren’t going to be ready.
According to Traverso, by December, 2, the state had issued 44 licenses for businesses that will sell recreational weed and 69 for businesses that will sell weed for medicinal purposes. He also said the regulatory authority will be working all weekend long so they can issue as many licenses as possible to qualifying stores that need them. All existing stores selling weed for medical purposes which have been in operation for more than twenty years are required to receive new state permits to continue doing business.
According to Traverso, the move is going be a landmark event, regardless of the time, it will happen.
BDS Analytics, a research firm, projects the California weed market will be worth $3.7 billion in 2018 and will shoot to $5.1 in 2019. California is the world’s sixth largest economy and the US’s largest economy.
California Growers Association’s executive director Hezekiah Allen says there are high chances marijuana California users who won’t manage to buy weed on New Year’s Day will turn to the black market, the traditional way for obtaining pot by non-licensed individuals.
Allen says California needs to put all necessary efforts so every qualifying individual that wants to stone can get pot at a competitive price, conveniently, from licensed dispensary.
He says that individuals always have the option of buying from the back market whenever they fail to get the product through the legal channels.
According to Allen, the supply chain’s manufacturers and growers may exploit loopholes in unregulated markets for financial gain. As much as new regulations will come with more enforcement, the authorities have many times before failed to crackdown California’s weed growers.
According to Allen, history has proved that enforcement has high failure rates so there is need to involve market forces in solving the black market menace. He also adds that the ballot measure might have been steps ahead of time, as it’s not realistic that California could manage to establish a well-functioning weed industry within one year.
Businesses intending to follow all legal channels to sell weed during the first week of 2018 are subject to multiple conflicting regulations. Kellsi Booth, a lawyer for Silverman & Milligan LLP reports that the currently operating San Francisco dispensaries will be allowed to sell adult-pot come January 5.The city will be accepting new applications as from January 3, but the process of processing such filings takes several weeks. For West Hollywood, sales will begin on January 2.
Stoners in some cities will begin enjoying recreational pot come January 1. Those cities include Sacramento, Berkeley, and San Diego.
Controller Ron Galperin said that when the new permits take effect, only a few dispensaries will be eligible for business, as the rules for recreational marijuana will be stricter than those governing marijuana for medical use. Galperin’s office reported that of the 1,700 locations operating in Los Angeles in 2017, only 139 were doing business as required by the city’s regulations.
MedMen’s spokesman Daniel Yi says there high likelihood some buyers will bounce and will have to keep checking during the week. MedMen is a cannabis-management and business with ten marijuana dispensaries, two manufacturing plants, and three growing facilities.
Yi said that growers, processors, and dispensaries will have to adapt to the changes in the marijuana industry quickly. He also said that the remaining stock of weed for 2017 can be sold come Jan. 1 provided it is labeled as untested and non-compliant with the new stricter laws.
Still, many stakeholders in the weed industry are up-to-date with the ever-changing rules. As much as stoners may not have had a day to celebrate before, California’s move to legalize recreational pot is a landmark event for industry activists who have been pushing for legalization for more than four decades.
According to Jordan Adams, CEO, and co-founder of Moxie, a Lynwood weed-extract manufacturer, the industry will be full of displaced customers that have to look for new sellers. There will be long queues of customers is the newer legal outlets across the state.