California begins licensing framework for $7 billion marijuana economy

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:


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