Anxiety Grows as Legal Recreational Pot Nears in California
In about three months, recreational marijuana sales will kick off in California, yet no one knows exactly how the pot economy will work.
Anxiety grows as legal recreational pot nears in California
By Michael R. Blood The Associated Press
LONG BEACH, Calif. — In about three months, recreational marijuana sales will kick off in California, yet no one knows exactly how the pot economy will work.
It could take until late November for the state to issue regulations that will govern the new marketplace.
Meanwhile, growers and sellers are wondering how the industry can function when some operators will have licenses and others might not. There are also questions about banking and federal law enforcement, since pot remains illegal in the eyes of the U.S. government.
“We all have anxiety,” top state marijuana regulator Lori Ajax told an industry group Thursday. “It’s not going to be perfect.”
Last year, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized recreational pot sales to adults in the nation’s most populous state.
The law takes effect in 2018, when newly legalized recreational sales will be merged with the state’s two-decade-old medical marijuana market.
Operators, others raise concerns
Ajax heard a range of concerns from operators and consultants who are trying to maneuver through a maze of new rules that will dictate where pot can be grown, how it’s tested, distributed, taxed and sold.
Ajax said she doesn’t know how many operators will come forward to seek licenses. It’s a critical question, since the state’s legitimate pot sales could be undercut by illegal operators.
Speaking in Long Beach, Ajax said the state is preparing to issue temporary licenses for growers, sellers and manufacturers on Jan. 1. It expects that businesses that receive licenses will only work with others that hold them.
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