When California voted to tax and regulate cannabis, which became effective on January 1, the regulate part went slightly neglected and now certified, compliant growers are not only a rarity, they just can’t keep up with the rate of new dispensaries opening weekly and their demand.
This leads to the potential of black market marijuana costing less than legalized recreational marijuana and may drive some imbibers back underground. The absolute opposite effect wanted with full blown legalization.
Of course, full blown is a little blown out of shape. As long as cannabis remains a Schedule I drug, making it illegal at the federal level, there’s going to be a stigma that yet permeates and adjusts the marketplace. Wary officials are already worried about an increase in fatal accidents and youth usage, though there is no evidence to warrant their concerns.
At this point, only around 10 percent of producers in the state have registered to be state authorized and compliant growers. California has been doing things its own way when it comes to pot since the original enactment of Prop 215, which made California the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.
Prop 215 was a lenient law that allowed most patients to obtain a card and visit a dispensary. It was revolutionary and paved the way to all other states that legalized both medical and recreational cannabis.
Now the landscape isn’t as giving and regulations have become more than a buzzword. A fire need be lit under the feet of growers who still want to operate below board or who have been reluctant to step up to the legalization table. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rabble rousing or not, states have pretty much given his rhetoric a very cold shoulder. Vermont went ahead and legalized recreational pot despite his threats and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy just expanded the medical marijuana laws in his state and is expected to legalize this year.
When California first went legal, the predictions were that cannabis was going to be dirt cheap. Somewhere between pennies on the dollar and through the roof would be the option that makes the most sense, especially to quash the black market and the dangers that come with it. Hopefully more growers will hop on board as the legalized California continues to grow itself.