On Nov. 8, 56% of voters approved California’s Proposition 64, which legalized the use of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older. Though the new law was expected to come into full force on Jan. 1, 2018, there may be some delays.
State lawmakers are reportedly worried that the relevant agencies may not be able to set up a regulatory and taxing system by the deadline. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, a state agency, is struggling to establish rules for licensing and taxing cannabis cultivators and related business in the industry, the Press Democrat of Santa Rosa reported.
Legislators have voiced concerns about delays in the system. “Frankly, I have to say that there is a considerable amount of skepticism from some of us up here about meeting that deadline,” Democratic state Sen. Jerry Hill of San Mateo said at a hearing on Jan. 30, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, also expressed doubts about the system’s timely implementation. “There are a lot of challenges,” she said, according to the LA Times. “We are not going to be able to grant everyone a license on Jan. 1, 2018.”
Marijuana for medical use has been legal in California since 1996, but efforts to regulate it like a normal product have been elusive.
For nearly two decades the production, distribution, sale and taxation of cannabis has operated through a patchwork of local rules that can differ from one city or county to the next. What one grower or pot dispensary does in one part of the state could be illegal in another, from the number of plants producers can grow to whether or not cannabis-based edibles require warning labels.
Now that voters have approved the sale of marijuana for recreational use through November’s Proposition 64 referendum, officials involved with working out regulations are scrambling. They must establish statewide rules before the start of next year, when licenses are supposed to become available for the sale of recreational-use marijuana.
Some are doubtful that state policymakers will have everything in order by then.
“They can’t get it together about what they want the laws to be,” Alicia Darrow, chief operations manager of Blum Oakland, a 13-year-old Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary, told Salon. “I’ll be shocked if it goes live in 2018.”
The problem, she said, is that Prop. 64 threw a wrench into regulators’ efforts that began in October 2015 after the passage of Assembly Bill 266, the state’s first successful attempt to pass a law regulating medical marijuana.
Prop. 64 and AB 266 have considerable differences in the way marijuana is regulated that must be worked out. For example, AB 266 requires a small number of third-party companies to control distribution and oversee testing for pesticide contamination, something dispensaries argue is unnecessary and would increase costs. Another unanswered question pertains to how dispensaries that sell medical-use marijuana and the more heavily taxed recreational-use weed will be required to track and manage their inventories and sales. Under Prop. 64, dispensaries must have two separate inventories and tracking systems.
“It’s a big job, but we’re working hard and have every intention of meeting our goals,” Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, said in an email to Salon. “The work we’ve done on regulations for medical cannabis have given us a great start.”
Meanwhile established growers, many of them mom-and-pop operations, are worried about being muscled out by bigger, well-financed ventures backed by deep-pocketed investment groups that are chasing the potential for big gains in the years to come. California’s medical marijuana business generated nearly $2.7 billion in sales in 2015 and that’s expected to balloon to $6.45 billion annually by 2020, including sales from recreational-use marijuana, according to cannabis industry investment network Arcview.
The marijuana industry is red hot, and it has the rapidly changing views of the public to thank.
In 1995, just prior to California becoming the first state to legalize medical cannabis for compassionate use, only 25% of respondents in Gallup’s national poll wanted to see pot legalized nationally. That was essentially unchanged since 1980. However, since 1995 we’ve seen a steady uptick in support for weed. By 2005, 36% approved of its nationwide legalization. In 2011, marijuana’s approval hit 50% for the first time ever. Finally, in 2016 it topped 60%, logging an all-time high. It’s this rapid shift of opinion that’s allowed marijuana to expand so quickly at the state level.
Last year, residents in nine states voted on marijuana initiatives, and eight were approved. The lone outlier, Arizona, narrowly missed out on making it a clean sweep for cannabis by only 2% of the vote. The year ended with 28 states having approved medical cannabis, and eight states having legalized recreational, adult-use pot. We also witnessed two states in 2016 (Pennsylvania and Ohio) legalizing medical cannabis entirely through the legislative process. In other words, it wasn’t even put to on a ballot for state residents to vote on. This push from legislators to legalize pot adds an entirely new dimension to marijuana’s momentum.
THE REMAINDER IF THIS ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT: http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2017/02/05/youll-never-guess-who-wants-to-see-marijuana-legalized-nationwide.html
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —
Recreational marijuana is now legal in California, after voters said “Yes” to Proposition 64 in November.
Here are some frequently asked questions to clear up the cannabis confusion:
Q: How much pot am I legally allowed to possess on my person?
A: 28.5 grams or about 1 ounce
Q: How old do I have to be to smoke recreational pot?
A: At least 21 years old.
Q: What other states have legalized recreational marijuana?
A: Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington
Q: Am I allowed to grow my own marijuana?
A: Yes. You are allowed to grow up to 6 plants for personal use.
Q: Are there shops in the state now where I can buy recreational marijuana?
A: Not yet. You still need to have a medical marijuana card to make purchases at dispensaries. The state is figuring out the rules and regulations to sell recreational use marijuana, which will likely take most of 2017.
Q: Can I smoke weed in public?
A: No, you can only smoke in a private space.
Q: Am I allowed to smoke weed and drive?
A: “Whether it’s marijuana, a prescription drug and unknown substance or alcohol, if any of those impair your driving, you’re subject to DUI laws in California,” California Highway Patrol Capt. Josh Ehlers said.
California regulators are scrambling to put in place the infrastructure they need to oversee and monitor the state’s now-legal marijuana economy, estimated to be worth more than $7 billion once it’s fully in place.
California legalized recreational marijuana use for adults in November, and now allows adults 21 or older to grow as many as six plants at home and possess an ounce of pot at a time. But more importantly to the state, the new law is expected to rake in $1 billion in taxes once marijuana-related businesses receive their licenses and begin operating — a daunting task in a state that has long had one of the world’s largest black market for weed production and cultivation.
Douglas Chioupek, co-founder and chief executive officer of MedMar Healing Center, looks at the root structure of a young marijuana plant in San Jose, California. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
The Los Angeles Times reports that regulators are facing a massive uphill battle in creating a new framework for the industry by their required deadline of Jan. 1, 2018, with a state lawmaker likening the process to “building the airplane while it’s being flown.”
“The new law calls for nearly 20 different types of licenses, including permits for farmers; delivery services that will take pot to a buyer’s front door; testing labs; distributors; and dispensary operators at the retail level,” the paper reports. “Part of the job heading toward the start of next year falls to other agencies, including the Food and Agriculture Department, which will issue licenses for cultivators.” THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT: http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/01/31/california-marijuana.html
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The future of California’s legal marijuana industry is being shaped in a warren of cubicles tucked inside a retired basketball arena, where a garden of paper cannabis leaves sprouts on file cabinets and a burlap sack advertising “USA Home Grown” dangles from a wall.
Here, in the outskirts of Sacramento, a handful of government workers face a daunting task: By next year, craft regulations and rules that will govern the state’s emerging legal pot market, from where and how plants can be grown to setting guidelines to track the buds from fields to stores.
“It’s going to take us 10 years to dig out of the mess we are in.”
Getting it wrong could mean the robust cannabis black market stays that way — outside the law — undercutting the attempt to create the nation’s largest legal marijuana economy. The new industry has a projected value of $7 billion, and state and local governments could eventually collect $1 billion a year in taxes. the remainder of this article can be found at: https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/california-looks-build-7-billion-legal-cannabis-economy
Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, has confirmed previous reports that Jim O’Neil is being considered to lead the Food and Drug Administration.
O’Neil is not only a strong supporter of legalizing marijuana, he has actively worked towards it as a Board of Directors member for the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform, which helped legalized cannabis in California.
According to Spicer, both O’Neil and biotech executive Balaji Srnivasan “are being considered” for head of the FDA.
Both O’Neil and Srnivasan have connections with billionaire Peter Thiel, who co-founded Paypal and was an early investor in Facebook. Thiel is a supporter of Donald Trump and also supports legalizing marijuana.
Having a supporter of legalizing marijuana (or simply one who doesn’t oppose it) leading the FDA would be huge for the cannabis reform movement. For years prohibitionists have brought up the fact that the FDA finds marijuana to have no medical value, something that could easily be changed with someone helming the administration who understands its medical capabilities.
THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT: http://thejointblog.com/trump-administration-confirms-marijuana-legalization-advocate-considered-head-fda/
California pioneered medical marijuana legalization in the 1990s, but it has been slower to endorse laws that open up the recreational marijuana market.
In 2010, California’s Proposition 19 fell on deaf ears when 53.5% of voters opted against passing it. If it had been passed, Proposition 19 would’ve allowed Californian adults over age 21 to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana for personal consumption, and to grow marijuana in a space of up to 25 square feet.
At the time, supporters applauded Proposition 19 for its potential to help end the drug war with Mexico, while generating significant tax revenue. At least one report suggested that if passed, Proposition 19 could’ve saved $200 million on law enforcement expenses and added $1.2 billion annually in tax revenue.
Despite those arguments, the opposition was able to convince the majority of voters that those savings and tax receipts were overstated.
Getting it done
The recreational market has changed significantly since Proposition 19’s failure in 2010. Colorado and Washington passed recreational marijuana laws in 2012, and they were joined in 2014 by Oregon and Alaska.
So far, legalization in those states has been a success, particularly in terms of increasing tax revenue.
THE REMAINDER OF THE ARTICLE CAN BE FOUND AT: http://www.fool.com/investing/2017/01/22/how-big-could-the-opportunity-be-for-marijuana-sto.aspx