The statewide legalization of marijuana for adult recreational use as of January 1st thanks to Prop. 64 wasn’t the end of California’s cannabis conversation. Far from it. Long-time California marijuana lawyers, businesses and policymakers are paying close attention to this November election, particularly in several local conservative strongholds set to decide whether to commercial cannabis should be given the green light to set up shop in their communities. Because while the Control, regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016 gave the statewide blessing, it didn’t automatically open the floodgates. Local counties, cities and towns were given the option whether to allow the cannabis industry to operate inside their own borders.
Many leaders saw the passage of Prop. 64 as a major hurdle clearance to legitimizing a promising, lucrative market. While most have let go of the long-debunked reefer madness hysteria of the past, the stigma still remains for some. As marijuana lawyers, we can’t wholly discount all of their concerns, though most have been met with reasonable regulatory response (though some argue certain restrictions go too far). One of the biggest compromises was to allow local control. California marijuana business lawyers and economic experts mostly concur that communities outright refusing cannabis industry access are likely to be at an economic disadvantage, though the extent isn’t yet clear.
Some examples of the dozens of cities set to weigh the future of local cannabis commerce via ballot measures Nov. 6 are rural areas like El Dorado County east of Sacramento and Hemet, a town in the Inland Empire less than an hour south of Riverside. Most areas where the issue is up for vote are expected to pass it by a wide margin, according to The Mercury News in San Jose, but in the more right-leaning regions, predictions are a toss-up. Continue reading