In an effort to prevent California from experiencing the same kind of shortage of recreational marijuana as Nevada, the state’s marijuana czar is working to issue early cultivation licenses to ensure the state’s dispensaries are fully stocked when the fully legal sector finally gets underway sometime next year.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation, told the state legislature earlier this week that it was necessary for the state to issue “temporary, four month licenses” to cannabis farmers in order to prevent “a break in the supply chain.”
The majority of production licenses are expected to be granted at the beginning of 2018, but the goal now is to “make sure” that some of the cultivators are able to grow before that time.
Earlier this month, Nevada launched its “early sales” program, which has allowed almost 60 dispensaries to sell recreational marijuana while the state attempts to assemble wide scale regulations. However, a stipulation in the marijuana legalization initiative giving the state’s alcohol wholesalers exclusive rights to the distribution of marijuana for a period of 18 months ultimately prevented the state from putting enough weed on the shelves of retail shops before legal sales got underway.
Although California will not face the same problem, as there are no rules dictating a temporary monopoly on marijuana distribution, state officials expect the marketplace will become so inundated with consumers once recreational sales begin that a serious retail drought could occur easily if steps are not taken to get ahead of the problem.
Some of the latest reports predict that California’s cannabis industry could be worth between $4 billion and $7 billion.