In the ever-evolving landscape of the cannabis industry, California presents a unique challenge. Despite being one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, the Golden State’s cannabis business environment remains one of the toughest in the nation. Over the past three years, industry advocates have placed much of their hopes on repealing city-level bans on cannabis commerce. However, despite numerous victorious pro-marijuana ballot measures and ordinances, progress has been slow.
Since 2020, at least 50 California cities have moved to allow marijuana retail shops, according to a tally by Hirsh Jain at Ananda Strategy. However, the vast majority of these shops haven’t yet opened for business due to local and state red tape. Jain calculated that in just 15 specific localities – including Fresno, Costa Mesa, and Santa Barbara County – there should be 129 legal dispensaries operating by now. However, only 18 have managed to open their doors.
The numbers paint a stark picture: