Cannabis entrepreneurs and other invested everywhere in California are scrambling to meet the emergency regulations recently released by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control in anticipation of the January 1st rollout of adult-use cannabis sales. The effectiveness and ease of implementation of their current guidelines remains to be seen. We always knew there would be a lot of grumbling, but there is a LOT of grumbling. And rightfully so. Many players in the field both big and small are going to have major problems getting into and/or staying in the new adult use legalization market, and concerns around social justice are real. In an eagerness to ensure public safety, regulators are seemingly going overboard to make themselves feel better, if not to make things advance smoothly. High excise taxes and overburdensome, ever-changing rules lead to crippling or death of business and competition.

Debby Goldsberry, manager of Magnolia Wellness in Oakland, and longtime actor in the cannabis movement (including High Times Freedom Fighter of the Year!), recently opined to The Daily Californian just such concerns and calls on the cannabis community to continue its fight:

“I joined the effort to legalize marijuana way back in 1986 and co-founded my first dispensary, Berkeley Patients Group, in 1999 with goals and a vision in mind. The idea was to end cannabis arrests, to create jobs and to keep families together instead of being torn apart by a senseless war on drugs. My hope was that the barrier to enter the movement would be low enough that almost everyone could join, both those in the longstanding underground economy and new people getting involved with innovative ideas. The movement’s goal has been to creating an above-board cannabis industry, through which California could capture reasonable taxes and fair regulatory fees and where small family businesses, which make up the bulk of the industry’s backbone, could thrive.

“Now, it looks as though survival of the fittest, and only experienced, well-funded business people will make it. Mid-sized dispensaries such as Magnolia will likely push through by bootstrapping costs and fees and keeping fingers crossed that enough cultivators and manufacturers will get licenses to meet the demand of the newly regulated market. After all, we have to get our supply from other licensed businesses, and the fear that our access to marijuana will soon be cut off is real.

“… We can’t stop here. It will take years of effort to develop effective regulations and to create workable tax schemes. Thankfully, both the marijuana movement and the industry that was built from it are aligned to make changes. We won’t stop until the right to cultivate, manufacture, sell and use marijuana is an inalienable right, never to be taken away again.”

I agree with Debby. We CAN’T stop here. I’m grateful to her for her leadership on this. Let’s be like Debby and keep crafting a cannabis industry we can all be proud of.

Hear from California entrepreneurs and activists, like Debby Goldsberry, at the next International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco, California on February 1 & 2, 2018. Tickets are on sale now!