Government Employees In California are working hard to come up with regulations and rules that will govern the state’s emerging recreational marijuana market.
The state of California has to put regulations in place for every part of the cannabis industry; from where and how plants can be grown to setting guidelines to track the buds from fields to stores.
In November, California was the big winner in legalizing recreational marijuana use for adults. The state will follow Washington and Colorado’s lead by treating cannabis like alcohol, allowing people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six cannabis plants at home. The law kicks in Jan. 1, 2018.
California is attempting 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.
Sen. Mike McGuire, who’s Northern California district includes some of the world’s most prized pot fields, has questioned if the state can meet January deadlines to create a coherent system.
“It’s going to take us 10 years to dig out of the mess we are in,” stated McGuire, referring to the unruly cannabis legal and illegal market.
When marijuana legalization goes into effect in California it’s likely that tens of thousands of people and businesses will need licensing. The licensening from cannabis goes beyond the plant itself. Regulations also cover protecting water quality for fish in streams near grow sites, to the best practices for safely collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes from businesses that have to operate in cash.
Lori Ajax, California’s head marijuana regulator, has acknowledged the challenges but said the state can, and must, be ready on Jan. 1 when California is required to issue licenses.
“We’re small but mighty,” she said of her staff of 11 full-time workers spearheading the project.
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 scanners will be used to keep tabs on pot as it moves from the plant product to street-level sales.