Legal cannabis for adult recreational use has finally come to the State of California. But that doesn’t mean non-patients can legally buy it anywhere yet, and entrepreneurs are chomping at the bit in preparation to win licenses for production, distribution and sales.
Proposition 64, the historic initiative ending marijuana prohibition in the Golden State, passed in November 2016 with 57% approval, allowing for the creation of a statewide system of regulation much like that of alcohol. The law requires that licenses for the new market be issued by January 1st, 2018. While that may seem like a long time to some, it puts enormous pressure on several California governmental bodies to collaborate and create a workable system, develop criteria for the awarding of licenses, and then review and decide which businesses should be allowed to operate. This coalition includes the Departments of Consumer Affairs, Food and Agriculture, and Public Health. Still, leaders are optimistic, as Southern California Public Radio reported:
“Although it’s an aggressive timeline, we are confident that we will make that deadline,” said Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, the agency responsible for building a large part of the licensing system.“We’re looking at, probably, early March, proposing most of our regulations. At this point we’ll have, I think, a large chunk of it mapped out so people can get an idea of what direction we’re taking. And then there’ll be a chance for them to provide public comment to the bureau.”***“One of the things we heard loud and clear was people are worried about overregulation,” Ajax said. “Folks have been operating for a couple of decades … in the shadows, but if this is going to be successful we have to do a good job of bridging that … making sure that they trust us. That they can tell us what’s going on and hopefully we can get them in the regulated market, cause I think that’s a good thing for everybody.”
The road to effective cannabis regulation is long and winding, but the journey has begun in California. Will California have recreational cannabis sales by January 1st, 2018?
Be sure to stay updated on the California and other emerging markets. Join us in San Francisco on February 17th, 2017 for the International Cannabis Business Conference to know the latest legislation, trends, and market forecasts.