January 1st not only marked the beginning of the New Year, it also meant in California that recreational marijuana was legalized. Dispensaries in California have been gearing up for this day since the bill was passed into law last year. However, no amount of preparation could have prepared them for what happened when the doors opened Monday morning.
According to multiple reports, there were lines forming around the block for people to purchase marijuana. However, not every dispensary saw an increase in traffic. This is because not every dispensary received their recreational sales license in time. The first dispensary to be certified was Harborside dispensary which is located in Oakland, California. According to http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/01/us/california-marijuana-sales/index.html this was the busiest day for this dispensary since they opened their doors over seven years ago.
Some reports even show that there will over a hundred people lining up around the block to buy the now legal marijuana. The owner of Harborside said that he saw a 60% increase in sales in one day alone. This has lead many people to wonder if this is just a trend or if marijuana will become a multi-million dollar profitable business.
The best way to follow the curve of trend is to look at what other states experienced after legalizing the use of recreational marijuana. California is only the sixth state to decriminalize the drug and they have some big shoes to fill. Just last year Colorado not only saw a major increase in marijuana sales but also in tourism. However, this doesn’t mean that dispensary owners are all self made millionaires. An increase in sales mean there will be a dramatic increase in taxes owed to the state. As it stands now, California is set to make as much as 45% from sales on taxes alone.
The biggest concern that members on the cannabis community have is whether or not there is supply to meet the new demand. While growers have been working tirelessly for a better part of a year to keep shelves stocked, there is one major problem. Marijuana is not a self sustaining product. The longer that marijuana sits on the shelves, the less potent the THC levels are. This means that growers will be having to constantly turning out new product to fit the rising demand. However, if the first day of sales shows anything it is that the customer base is only growing.
Another cannabis realm to consider is the artisan product makers. Local artisans have been turning out amazing products like edibles, oils and other cannabis treats. But, how will the increase in sales effect the way they create and process their goods? When it comes to artisan products in California, it will be at a strictly first come first serve basis. While the option to mass produce cannabis products is available, some think it takes away from the essence of the community.
The hope of many cannabis supporters is that the increase in sales will convince critics to get on board the recreational train. This is especially true since the train shows no signs of slowing anytime soon. This past Monday proved to be a monumental moment in California history. The one thing that many people are forgetting is that recreational sales also help to boost the work force. Dispensaries and growers have had to hire more employees in preparation. Some dispensaries have as much as doubles their employees since last year.
Senn’s Urbn Leaf which is a popular dispensary based in San Diego hired over 15 new employees just to be able to handle the extra foot traffic. It isn’t only workers that are on the rise either. Since a successful first running, some people are even looking to get in to the marijuana business in hopes of cashing in on this forward moving trend. There are even talks of more marijuana companies going public on the trading floor.
January 1st comes as a big win when you consider the current political climate. Being able to see recreational sales of marijuana make a huge impact while the U.S. Attorney General is vocally opposed is a huge deal. Some even fear that in the future Sessions may look into ending an Obama era policy that allows for safe and legal marijuana sales. However, if the New Year shows anything it is that the only way for marijuana sales to go, is up.