Following in the footsteps of other legal marijuana states, California officials said this week that they are working on regulations that will allow the state to launch recreational sales smoothly beginning January 1, 2018.
During the recent Cannabis Business Conference in Los Angeles, Lori Ajax, who oversees the California Bureau of Cannabis Control, told those in attendance that her agency was developing a plan similar to what was passed in Oregon and Nevada aimed at bringing recreational marijuana sales to the adult population as early as possible.
The goal is to prevent pot consumers from reaching out to the black market, while also giving cannabis regulators the appropriate amount of time to put a more permanent plan into action.
Although the state’s cannabis regulators admit there will be plenty of challenges when it comes to establishing a system that essentially merges the medical and recreational sectors, regulatory officials say they feel confident that temporary licenses will be issued by January 1, 2018.
The application process is supposed to get underway sometime in early December, reports Leafly. Businesses interested in getting involved with the state’s recreational marijuana sales program will be asked to provide officials with some “pretty basic information,” including a map of the proposed location and some background on the proprietors.
A significant number of cannabis operations are expected to jump in to take advantage of the opportunity to secure a temporary license. However, Ajax says the real key to winning a spot in the newfound market is getting the local governments support.
“The biggest thing is that they will have to have local approval for conducting commercial cannabis activity,” she said. “They will need that before the state can issue a temporary license.”
California’s cannabis trade has expressed concerns that the launch of the recreational market will not be a smooth transition. Some folks, like Tawnie Logan, chairwoman of the board of the California Growers Association, argue that a lot of people will still frequent the underground for weed because they can get it much cheaper.
As it stands, an eighth of an ounce is $20 on the streets, while dispensary prices are closer to $50 for the same weight.
Logan believes the price difference between illegal and legitimate pot commerce will eventually have a negative affect on the market – once the novelty of retail weed begins to wear off.
Still, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control says it is doing all it can to ensure a successful beginning.
“I can’t promise everything’s going to be smooth on day one,” Ajax said. “We’ll do whatever we can to make things right."