Ready, or not, cannabis legalization goes into effect at the start of the New Year, which means big changes in a multibillion-dollar industry. California is no stranger to the spotlight when it comes to the drug, being the first state to pass medical marijuana legislation in 1996. While the state lagged behind others in the recreational use department, how well this transition goes will set the example for others states in the future.
It is important for people in the Golden State to remember that even though the contentious substance is legal statewide, the drug is still banned on the federal level. For the most part, individuals shouldn’t have too much to worry about, whereas companies planning to wheel-and-deal in the product need to makes sure they have all their bases covered. With less than a month to go, it appears that there are still more questions, than answers, regarding what legalization will look like.
Moving Out of The Black Market
On January 1st, recreational use of marijuana will be legal for adults over the age of 21. Companies planning to dispense the product must comply with both state and municipal rules to avoid fines and legal headaches. However, it seems that various cities have yet to agree with the state concerning regulatory compliance, permits, and taxes. As it stands right now, each city has created their own standards, The Sacramento Bee reports. The overall goal is to get companies in the industry to move out of the shadowy black market that has long typified the weed business.
The process of moving into the light is not without complications. The fact that the drug remains illegal on the federal level presents problems. Banks are hesitant to work with companies moving an illicit product. What’s more, the current federal government does not appear to be keen on helping states, who are passing legal cannabis laws, make the necessary transition.
If rules are too strict in California, companies will choose to keep things business as usual; if they are not firm enough, it could have a devastating impact on the public perception of an already tenuous industry. At this point, it’s anybody’s guess as to how smooth the transition will go come the new year, but there is certainly cause for concern.
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