Some of the latest reports predict that California’s medical marijuana industry stands to lose a significant amount of business due to the coming of a fully legal market. A study from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center shows the medical sector could go from a $2 billion market to one that struggles to reach $600 million.
However, Governor Jerry Brown has been kicking around a concept that would not only prevent medical marijuana dispensaries from enduring hard times, it would also stop the market from becoming overly saturated with businesses interested in slinging weed.
The idea is simple: create a situation where medical and recreational marijuana can be sold in the same stores.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the co-location rule is just one of the regulations that the Governor is trying to persuade lawmakers to push through the legislative grind. The overall goal is to merge the medical and recreational sectors, which was approved by the State Legislature two years ago, and move full steam ahead with a fully integrated marketplace.
“Being able to co-locate is much more cost-efficient for operators,” Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, told the Times.
However, there are concerns that this seemingly common sense idea may not be the solution.
Firstly, while dispensaries that sell recreational marijuana are only permitted to service adult customers 21 and over, the medical sector provides access to patients of all ages – even minors.
Some lawmakers are also confused about how to deal with physician recommendations and medical marijuana cards in an environment that sells marijuana in a manner similar to beer.
Governor Brown wants an integrated system because he believes it will prevent the state from being overrun by dispensaries. By cutting the existence of marijuana businesses in half, local and state enforcement agencies could salvage a significant portion of their resources.
Researchers from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center predict that only 9 percent of the state’s cannabis users will continue to frequent the medical marijuana sector once commercial stores come into play.
Recreational marijuana is predicted to contribute $5 billion to the state’s economy.