California’s recreational cannabis market will likely boost the state’s economy by around $5 billion, according to a new study from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.
It seems the Golden State is on the verge of becoming the largest in the nation in terms of marijuana tourism. However, as researchers pointed out in their analysis, it is going to a while before the entire cannabis community is ready to welcome a fully legal system.
About 30 percent of the market is still expected to frequent the black market for various reasons, the report finds.
“It’s going to take some time. While it’s unlikely that everyone will come into the regulated market on Day One, we plan to continue working with stakeholders as we move forward to increase participation over time,” Lori Ajax, director of the state Bureau of Marijuana Control, told the Los Angeles Times.
Despite this apprehensiveness, the report shows that more than 60 percent of the state’s pot buyers will spend their money in the recreational sector.
“We projected that when legally allowed, slightly more than half of the demand currently in the illegal adult-use segment will quickly move to the legal adult-use segment to avoid the inconvenience, stigma and legal risks of buying from an unlicensed seller,” the study reads.
But with life comes death…or at least a severe beating.
Researchers say that only about 9 percent of the market will continue buying weed through medical dispensaries. Sales from this sector are expected to drop from $2 billion to around $600 million as soon as commercial stores open for business.
The good news is if medical marijuana workers cannot find work in the recreational sector, there will be plenty of jobs available everywhere else, especially in industries that generate profits from tourists.
“Given that adult-use cannabis remains illegal in most other states, California’s legalized adult-use industry may attract some new visitors whose primary reason for visiting the state is cannabis tourism, as has been observed in Colorado,” the study authors wrote
If all goes well, California could be the state that finally inspires federal lawmakers to rethink nationwide pot policies.
“A lot of eyes are on California,” Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom told Bloomberg Politics back in 2015. “It’s very different than almost any other state because of the scale and the magnitude of the change and what it will represent across the country.”