In a complete political reversal from the last several decades of fighting the War on Marijuana, eight states and the District of Columbia (DC) have now legalized adult recreational use of cannabis. The US population is clearly ready for a new approach to marijuana policy. Although medical marijuana exists legally now in 28 states plus DC, US citizens support legalization for adult recreational use for reasons beyond humane treatment of the sick and suffering. US citizens understand that marijuana use is not amoral and that justice system has created a juggernaut of failed policy through criminalization of cannabis.
Legalizing and taxing cannabis will reverse a trend of government monetary waste, and provide a new stream of revenue into public coffers. With the recent passage of State Proposition 64, nowhere in the country stands to benefit more than California in that regard. Governmental bodies are moving forward to prepare themselves for the boom.
According to the International Business Times, the Golden State could bring in a billion dollars in new tax revenue:
“The California Board of Equalization approved a proposal Tuesday (November 29th) to ask for funds to hire staff in anticipation of 2018 when legalization of recreational use kicks in after California voters decided Nov. 8 to approve Proposition 64. As many as 25,000 cultivators are expected to register and begin paying taxes. The board expects to need $20 million by 2021 to support a staff of 114.
State analysts estimate local governments could see $1 billion in revenue from the production and legal sale of marijuana even though pot remains illegal on the federal level, and it is unclear how the incoming administration will deal with the patchwork of laws across the country.
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Because of federal prohibitions, the board and local taxing bodies will have to figure out how to collect those taxes. Federal law prohibits banks and credit card companies from handling money associated with the drug trade, forcing many marijuana businesses to operate on a cash-only basis.”
Navigating the quasi-legal world of cannabis requires great attention to detail and an awareness of constantly changing parameters. The International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 16th-17th will address many of these critical and emerging issues for the cannabis industry. Anyone considering entering this brave new market would be well served to join the array of talented speakers and advocates participating in these historical discussions.