Marijuana Stores Move Closer to Reality

In terms of marijuana legalization and what it means for the people of the USA, all eyes are on the state of California. It produces more marijuana than any other state, and total sales are estimated to be in the region of $5 billion next year, when recreational marijuana comes into force on January 2, 2018. It is the eight State to legalize recreational weed and probably one of the most significant so far, as it is proving to be the catalyst for other states to move ahead. But it has not all been clean sailing, and California has been running into some difficulties in terms of black market weed, regulations and illegal growing operations which are killing the environment and generating toxin laden low-quality weed to consumers.

Marijuana in Culver City

It is up to each local city and/or region to decide whether or not it wants to implement weed, and cities have to develop their own criteria after Proposition 64 was passed last year. These decisions range from the weed itself to the number of dispensaries to zoning permits. Culver City has moved one step closer to allowing the sale, distribution and cultivation of weed.

With the high price of land in Culver City on the western side of the region, it remains doubtful that commercial cultivation would be profitable.The stores would be required to be located at least 600 feet from schools, daycare centers and parks and would require a minimum distance of 1000 feet between the stores. The retail stores would have to seek approval from the residents in the area, however council wants the power to override the residents’ rejection of potential sites. The proposed ordinance is being drafted by the city attorney and will be presented to the council for an initial vote. Despite these advances weed is most likely not going to be sold in the city center, as the majority of city council panel members are opposed.

Marijuana in other Cities

Culver City is just one of many cities who are making these types of decisions in California. In fact, every region has to create their own criteria, and many are far behind. However, many cities in California have seized the opportunity to make lots of money on weed legalization. Five of the biggest cannabis cities in California are LA, San Francisco, Oakland, San Bernardinoand Humboldt County. San Francisco has a reputation as one of the most marijuana-friendly cities in the nation. There are medical marijuana dispensaries everywhere. L.A. County boasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 360 weed dispensaries. This is said to be the highest concentration of legal medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. And as for Humboldt County, it is probably the greatest cannabis producing region in the country, though it has had some difficulties with illegal growing operations.

At this stage,other cities should really start putting the infrastructure in place for cannabis communities and retail outlets to get established. These businesses could be in the region for decades generating piles of revenue. As per Proposition 64, the state will levy taxes on weed. But local jurisdictions can add their own taxes to bolster revenues in the region. Economists have warned that high taxes and fees on the industry could backfire, fueling the black market and pushing weed businesses to move towards towns where it is more affordable to operate. For many city and county officials across California, however, the promise of new revenue to fill budget gaps and fund services is too enticing to pass by.Proposed marijuana taxes in Gonzales, with a population of 8,400, are projected to hit $1.6 million, more than the city collects annually in sales and property taxes combined. No other industry can generate these types of revenues and the opportunity is simply too good to pass up.

The Boom and the Bust

The tale of California marijuana is remarkable thus far. The state is taking the lead in marijuana cultivation and distribution, and there is widespread acceptance among all factions. But there are two constant dangers that loom. The first and most obvious is that it is all happening a little bit too fast. Cities are happy to let marijuana roam freely and companies are eager to start operations. But the fact is that California has too much marijuana and this has already been noted, particularly in Humboldt county, where black market operations are proliferating. This means that toxic marijuana is flooding the market and that black-market criminals are selling the goods in other states. With Colorado recently shown to have taken a 40% hit over course of the year in the price of its marijuana, California could well be next. A similar hit would decimate a lot of industries in California, given how many there are, and the fact that most of them are startups instead of established growing operators.

The second threat lies in the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, who is said to be launching a campaign against marijuana, which is still illegal at the Federal level. Marijuana could easily be a California wonder story if all goes well. But there does seem to be a sense of trepidation that the industry is due a setback, and it is not going to be so easy moving forwardas the region reaches peak marijuana.



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