The past year was a momentous one for cannabis, with voters doubling the number of states that allow recreational marijuana overnight while making medical marijuana legal in more than half the nation.
But casting ballots to support legal weed was just the first step. And in 2017, those legalization schemes will likely be largely stuck in that awkward in-between time, with lots of growing pains ahead before they can become reality.
California’s Proposition 64 set a deadline of Jan. 1, 2018 for the state to get its regulatory ducks in a row and start handing out licenses for shops to legally sell recreational marijuana for the first time.
Between now and then, industry insiders have many questions.
Which cities will welcome businesses, and which ones will regulate them into oblivion? How much will licenses cost? Will corporate growers take over? Will the Trump administration interfere? And will the state actually stick to that 12-month deadline, or will it get pushed back as it already has in Massachusetts?
“We cannot delay the implementation of recreational marijuana here in California,” said Doug Francis, CEO of Irvine-based Weedmaps, a website that helps consumers find dispensaries. “The people have spoken. The train has left the station. We have got to move forward quickly to keep California the nationwide leader.”