What started out as a small grassroots effort to get patients their much-needed medical cannabis has become a billion-dollar industry. While we often hear about how much money is being made in Colorado, which was among the first to legalize marijuana for recreational use, it is California that is leading the nation in sales, according to a recent news article from San Francisco Weekly.
As discussed in the article, even though Proposition 64 passed in the last election, in order to buy marijuana in California, patients still need a doctor’s recommendation and marijuana ID card, as the dispensaries will not be able to sell marijuana to the general public for at least several more months. This is in stark contrast to states like Colorado and Washington, where anyone who is over the age of 21 can walk into a dispensary and purchase any number of cannabis products. In the District of Columbia, marijuana is technically legal to buy and sell based upon a ballot initiative, but Congress tried to deny the voters the law they directly passed because of the complicated mechanism in which D.C. Home Rule works. However, the D.C. mayor vowed to fight Congress, and it turned out that now people can legally purchase and possess up to two ounces of marijuana, but it cannot legally be sold. This created a very healthy black market cannabis economy.
Even though there are states with full legalization and the odd situation in the District, California still leads the nation in marijuana sales, and this is with the medical requirement still in place. Taking a look at the numbers, California accounted for 27 percent of all legally (state law) sold marijuana in the U.S. On the other hand, Colorado accounted for 20 percent and Washington state represented 11 percent of all marijuana sales in 2016. It is hard to say what the numbers are for areas where it is still not legal to sell under state or federal law.
This means that there is a lot of money being made in California involving the sale of medical marijuana, and, when recreational use marijuana and cannabis products hit the market, that number is expected to jump even higher. A lot of this is likely due to the higher population in California than many other states and the state culture regarding marijuana use.
This is good news for those in the medical cannabis industry, as well as for those wanting to get into the business. However, even though it will be legal to sell cannabis in California, there will still be a lot of regulations that must be followed, and it is still against federal law. This wasn’t as much of a problem under the Obama administration, because the enforcement of federal marijuana laws wasn’t considered a priority; however, Attorney General Jefferson Sessions has vowed to once again go after those selling and buying marijuana for recreational use, even though it is legal under state law. For this reason, the best thing you can do is to speak with an experienced medical cannabis lawyer in Los Angeles to learn about your rights with respect to your new or ongoing business venture.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
California Leads Nation in Legal Marijuana Sales, March 28, 2017, By Joe Kukrua, SF Weekly
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