Lawmakers have doubts that the system to license marijuana sales in California will be in place by deadline

Patrons shop at Bud and Bloom, a Santa Ana marijuana dispensary.

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:


California Looks to Build $7 Billion Legal Cannabis Economy

January 30, 2017

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.”

Sen. Mike McGuire

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:

Trump Administration Confirms Marijuana Legalization Advocate Being Considered to Head FDA

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.


How Big Could the Opportunity Be for Marijuana Stocks in California?

The market for marijuana is exploding as Americans overwhelmingly embrace legalization. Analysts are projecting tens of billions of dollars in future marijuana sales, making this an intriguing market for investors.

 Todd Campbell
Jan 22, 2017 at 3:02PM
In November, Californians overwhelmingly voted to embrace pro-pot laws that clear the way toward creating the United States’ biggest recreational marijuana market. Is California’s marijuana market a boon to marijuana investors? Read on to see how big California’s marijuana market could become. 

First, some historymarijuana-on-top-of-money-getty_large_large

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.



California’s pot czar on upcoming marijuana regulation: ‘We will not fail’

JANUARY 18, 2017 7:31 PM

Proposition 64 establishes one ounce of marijuana, or 8 grams of cannabis concentrates, as the legal limit for recreational pot possession for adults over the age of 21. Here are examples of actual amounts of products someone could carry now that California voters approved the ballot measure on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Sharon Okada

Read more here:

In a coming together that once seemed highly unlikely, California state regulators Wednesday greeted a hotel ballroom filled with marijuana growers, promising that a licensing program to bring thousands of pot producers out of the shadows will be operational in the state by Jan. 1, 2018.

It was hard to ignore the landmark nature of the informal meeting between California officials – including the head of the new marijuana regulations bureau – and members of the California Growers Association, a 2-year-old trade group representing marijuana farmers.

For years, some of those participating in the growers association’s two-day “Envision 2026: California Cannabis Policy Summit” at the Holiday Inn in downtown Sacramento had operated in the black market of illegal trafficking or the gray market of the California’s long unregulated medical marijuana industry.

Read more here:

‘End of Prohibition’: Investors Hope to Cash in on Exploding Marijuana Market

With the passage of Proposition 64, investors are hoping to cash in and take advantage of California’s growing marijuana industry.

Hundreds of investors looking to cash in on the state’s growing marijuana industry traveled to West Hollywood on Monday to tour MedMen, a West Hollywood dispensary. 

The dispensary refers to itself as the “Whole Foods of Cannabis” and its goal is to normalize marijuana now that the industry no longer needs to hide. 

“We want people to feel like they can explore and really take their time looking at all our products,” said Jocelyn Pettway, director of facility design. “It’s really just like any other store.”


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Branding Bud: Marijuana companies want California to issue trademarks for pot



The sandwich baggie brimming with buds is gradually becoming a thing of the past in California. In its place, an era of name-brand marijuana is emerging. real-mccoy-pen

Celebrities—including actress Whoopi Goldberg, rapper Snoop Dogg, rocker Melissa Etheridge and the family of reggae legend Bob Marley—are branding their own herb. Law firms have sprouted to help marijuana sellers brand their goods. Pretty packages of cannabis-infused products bear labels like “Highland Pantry” (almond butter), “Madame Munchie” (cookies) and “Sweet ReLeaf” (skin cream).

Branded pot products gained footing in recent years as California sanctioned medical use of marijuana, and other states began permitting recreational use. Now that California voters have approved a ballot measure allowing all adults to use the drug, cannabis businesses want more authority to brand their products.

But officially trademarking marijuana is a tricky legal task. The federal government still considers it an illegal drug, and won’t grant patents or trademarks for pot or anything made from it. Cannabis brands fear they are at risk of being copied. So marijuana businesses in California—eyeing what could become a $6.4 billion industry—have turned to the state government for help.

“Not being able to trademark your brand is a huge setback if you’re trying to get capital investment,” said Nate Bradley, who lobbies for marijuana sellers as the executive director of California Cannabis Industry Association. “If you’re not able to protect what you’re asking people to invest in, you’re not likely to get investments.”

A bill recently introduced in the Legislature would create a state-level trademark for California cannabis products, providing marijuana businesses new legal protections and greater access to cash from investors as the state ushers in a sanctioned commercial marketplace.

The California Secretary of State already has the power to register state-level trademarks, but only for items recognized by federal trademark law. Assembly Bill 64 would change that by allowing the Secretary of State to register trademarks for cannabis goods and services.

“Cannabis businesses are like other businesses, lawful and regulated. They should be able to protect their intellectual property,” said bill author Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat from Alameda.


Marijuana News Roundup: California’s Cannabis Crop Worth $23 Billion

The value of California’s marijuana crop in 2015 has been estimated at $23.3 billion. That’s more than the combined value of the state’s next five largest crops. And that’s before recreational use was approved by voters in November and 2 years before recreational use is expected to be implemented.

Because growing pot for anything but medicinal use is illegal in California, the estimate of the crop’s value was based on the number of plants seized from federal lands. According to the Orange County Register, federal agents seized 2.64 million marijuana plants from national forests in California in 2015.

A United Nations report estimated that global law enforcement agencies seized 10% to 20% of produced drugs in 2015. Using that as a base, California would have had a total of 13.2 million plants. If each plant produced a (conservative) one pound of cannabis and it sold for $1,765 per pound, the total value would have been $23.3 billion.