In 1996, California became the first state in the U.S. to legalize cannabis for medicinal use. Since then it has been one of the nation’s most progressive states when it comes to cannabis legislation (view our map of states that have legalized marijuana). Last year, California voters passed a measure to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. State officials were forced to provide a strict set of rules and regulations to govern the cannabis industry. Here’s what the new California marijuana laws that will blanket its cannabis industry looks like.
Updating California’s Marijuana Regulations
California’s regulators had a tough task regulating what is expected to become a $7-billion dollar industry fairly quickly. The new regulations needed to be ready by January 1st, 2018 – the day recreational cannabis businesses can begin operating. The rules will govern a myriad of issues ranging from drone deliveries to dispensary locations.
Dispensaries and other cannabis businesses cannot set up shop within 600 feet of a school or youth center. This will help protect children from early exposure to cannabis. All cannabis businesses will be forced to have 24-hour surveillance systems and will have to close by 10 p.m. The new regulations were crafted for both the cannabis businesses themselves and the communities they will be located within.
Much of the new regulations are geared towards the manufacturing, packaging, and sales of cannabis products. For example, businesses will be prohibited from incorporating cannabis into products that contain nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, or seafood.
California consumers can expect taxes on cannabis products to be steep. Right now it is estimated that, in Los Angeles dispensaries, 3.5 grams of quality cannabis retails for an average of $35. Some projections estimate the price rising to $50 or $60 after January 1st.
Curbing Children’s Access To Cannabis
The new regulations address the important issue of children’s access to cannabis head on. With the hopes of restricting cannabis products that appeal to children, the upcoming California marijuana laws prohibit any cannabis products from being sold in the shape of a human, animal, insect or fruit.
Similarly, cannabis products may not contain the word “candy” – so that young children do not mistake an edible infused with cannabis as a piece of candy. Cannabis products also cannot advertise in outlets where at least 71.6 percent of the audience is ”reasonably expected to be 21 years of age or older.”
New California Marijuana Laws Take Effect January 2018
California’s new cannabis regulations address many of the main concerns about what the United States’ largest legal cannabis industry will look like. However, Lori Ajax, head of the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (the group who led the writing of California’s marijuana rules) says “there’s still a lot of work to be done. No rest for the weary.” She and others with eyes on the emerging cannabis industry wholeheartedly expect to address concerns about how the rules affect cannabis owners and consumers up to and beyond January 2018.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.