Refresher: California legalized adult use last November and passed a bill to regulate medical cannabis in 2015. California has a dual licensing program under the medical bill that requires local licensing prior to obtaining a state license (state licenses open up January 1, 2018). Adult use licenses also open up January 1, 2018 in California. The two pieces of legislation are drastically different, leaving the cannabis community a bit uncertain on things like vertical integration, distribution, ownership, etc.
Update: Cities in California are rolling out their local licensing requirements and accepting local applications. Sacramento just started accepting local applications to grow commercial cannabis. California is expected to release its draft rules by the end of the month. Earlier this month, the Governor released a proposed budget trailer to marry the adult use/medical licensing and regulation. Right now, there’s a bit of backlash from the sheriffs. Stay tuned.
North of the border
The changes taking place in Canada are arguably the biggest developments in cannabis business this year. The legislation released by the Canadian government legalizing recreational marijuana gives international investors the first chance to take a look at the marijuana industry in Canada. Entrepreneurs can look forward to a fast moving process, to be up and running by next year. And those who like to invest in the international market, Canada is expected to be nice to its international businesses looking to set up shop. If you’d like to passively participate in Canada, check out more info on the Marijuana Exchange Traded Fund (ETF.)
An awkward legal dance
Detroit’s legal dance is much less graceful than Canada’s, with new zoning regulations causing a shamble.Over 160 dispensaries have been closed down in Detroit, while at least 60 more are waiting for their doomsday notices. New state medical marijuana laws in Detroit make it look completely uncertain business-wise, leaving as few as 20-50 dispensaries in the Detroit area.
Historically, 4/20 marks the day for the largest retail cannabis sales compared to any other day of the year. The 420 holiday gives lots of users another reason to indulge, so businesses and states make extra pocket this year. Sales for this day are projected at over $25 million, eclipsing last years estimated sales of $38 million.
Not a drug war
Trump officials are jumping boat when it comes to the topic of marijuana, as the Secretary of Homeland Security says “it isn’t a factor in the drug war” This puts him directly in opposition of Mr .Trump and many of his officials, but the writing is on the wall. John Kelly said that methamphetamines, cocaine and heroin are costing the country $250 billion a year. We’re still hesitant about Mr. Session’s and the upcoming renewals of some of the bills that have protected us from the federal government.
The unfortunate truth is that with a new president who isn’t so cannabis friendly, there are concerns about canna-business-banking. Not only is it still hard for cannabis businesses to get banks to work with them, but there is a huge public safety issue by there being so much cash floating around the streets. So long as there is no supportive legislation for cannabis at a federal level, everybody is working on guidance and intuition, not law. That means things are still tentative for cannabis businesses, and it’s safe if everybody is on their toes.
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