The Cannabis Craze in California
Can the State’s Government Cope? What Do Cannabis Users NEED to Know to Avoid Trouble?
It is a day that will forever be remembered in California, and it is a day that will boldly leave its imprint on the pages of American history. It is the moment that all California cannabis lovers have been dreaming of for decades—if not, centuries—and after a long, controversial journey, this rocky ride has come to a stop. It’s time to light one up, because as of January 1st, 2018, cannabis will be legal for recreational use in California!
But should we celebrate just yet? Can the State Government handle such a feat? Will they drop the ball and lose control of the situation? Will cannabis and cannabinoid products be tested for safety? How will this affect those who are currently in the cannabis business? Most importantly, how will legalization affect California’s economy?
Pot has always been this “illegal drug,” so how does one go about legally using cannabis? What are the rules and regulations for the public?
Although the controversial journey for legalization has come to an end, the controversary and concern pertaining to this issue is still fervently raging. Yeah, I’d put that doobie down. We got some questions to address first.
Can the State Government Handle Such a Feat?
There is a lot of concern about how California’s State Government is going to handle this issue. Proposition 64 just passed in November 2016, so is the government ready for such a large change?
State officials have been coolly expressing their optimism about the New Year; a behavior that does not in any way correlate to a frazzled state government. Head of the State Bureau of Cannabis Control—the State agency that will determine licensing and quality control—Lori Ajax, expressed her excitement about January 1st. Optimistically, Ajax shared her and her colleagues’ anticipation with the Desert Sun; assuring that the State Bureau of Cannabis Control has extensively trained their team, and that everyone in her department is ecstatic about the approaching day. Ajax confidently summed up everything with two words: “It’s time.”
Another grave concern is the issue of safety and quality. Well, to answer this question, safety quality control is not likely to be an issue. Any cannabis products that are to be transported to a retailer must withstand a diligent testing process; one that includes testing hazardous molds, poisonous pesticides, and other harmful bacteria. With a third party governing cannabis products—a highly trained department of health officials—it will be impossible for tampered products to reach consumers.
Still, existing medical dispensaries and cultivators fear that they will be left out when Uncle Sam jumps into the game. Pertaining to entering the recreational market, many challenge will be prevalent due to the strict licensing process. However, existing medical dispensaries will not be forced out of business. Current patients with a their MMP (Medical Marijuana Program) cards will benefit from not having to pay sales tax, so existing patients aren’t just going to decide to pay more for their cannabis. But what about the cultivators?
Current businesses that produce cannabis and cannabinoid products will face challenges as rules and regulations will intensify. The latter is great for consumers, but has left some cultivators rickety with fear. This is a complicated issue, but not one that is going unnoticed. Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, sat down with LA Weekly and expressed his priority for existing growers by stating that, “we don’t need bigger growers; we need more, smaller growers,” however, they must all be willing to “play by the rules.”
As for California’s economy, well, let’s just say that it won’t only be joints getting lit up. New Frontier Data reported that current states with legal cannabis are likely to produce an astonishing $559 million in cannabis sales taxes alone, and that’s out of the $655 million TOTAL expected to be made retail related state taxes. Another prediction was made by Forbes when they recently forecasted that cannabis will produce a staggering $1.4 billion out of a total of 1.6 billion in tax revenues by the end of this year.
How Does One Go About Legally Using Cannabis?
Although cannabis has at last been embraced into popular society—from medical institutions to now the public—it does not mean a free-for-all is upon us. There are strict rules and regulations being implemented, and one can still find themselves in a bundle of trouble if they do not respect these laws.
We advocate the responsible and safe use of cannabis, so we stress that you take the following information seriously.
Age & Quantity
Only persons of, or over, the age of 21 can purchase, possess, or transport cannabis and cannabis products to other persons who meet the same age requirement. If a cannabis user wishes to bestow or transport cannabis or cannabis products, the limit for such activities is 1 ounce; or 8 grams of concentrated cannabis products.
Cultivation-limits vary in every county, but the standard amount of cannabis plants one can cultivate is 6 cannabis plants per household. If one is thinking of growing cannabis, they should double check the cultivation limit in their county.
Purchasing, Transporting, & Selling
If one desires to purchase, transport, or sell cannabis, the required licenses MUST be acquired; medical patients must follow the same guidelines. Failure to do so will end in a criminal offense, with the possibility up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of $500; this is for first time offenders.
One Step Closer
In the cannabis world, it is one giant stride to have this miracle plant legalized in California. For centuries people have not only been robbed of cannabis’s wonders, but they have been persecuted for partaking in the plant’s greatness. It is amazing to have the peace of mind that people will no longer be criminalized for using cannabis.
Legalizing cannabis has been a challenging feat, one that has withstood years of persecution towards fellow cannabis advocates. Although legalization has finally been achieved in a growing amount of states, there will still be many challenges to face in the future. Still, we must stay persistent and positive. The economic benefits will speak for themselves.
Now pick that doobie back up. It’s time to celebrate.