Article by Zach Harris, Merry Jane
To the naked eye, California looks perfectly set up to institute their newly legal recreational marijuana policies. There are operating dispensaries all along the Pacific Coast, from Humboldt down to Huntington Beach, and everywhere in between. And with more product readily available than anywhere else in the world, it would seem that California’s existing pot shops could just change their signs from ‘Medical’ to ‘Recreational’ and call it a day – right?
Not so fast. Lawmakers in the Golden State aren’t quite convinced. And if you let California Senator Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) tell it, the state is nowhere near ready to regulate and tax the recreational sale of cannabis. Massachusetts lawmakers have already pushed back their recreational sales start-date back six months, and this California lawmaker sees similar problems on the West Coast.
“Being blunt, there is no way the state of California can meet all of the deadlines before we go live on January 1, 2018,” Sen. McGuire told the Sacramento Bee. “We are building the regulatory system for a multibillion dollar industry from scratch.”
After passing Prop 64 in November’s election, California residents are legally allowed to posses and use cannabis, but as of now, there are no regulations in place that allow weed to be bought or sold without a medical card. Those businesses are slated to get their start at the beginning of next year, and according to McGuire, there’s no way that those regulations will be ready.
“In order to dole out licenses, the state will need to develop regulations on taxation, testing, tracking, growing, distribution, delivery and more to ensure that Californians are using safe products and the state receives the tax it’s due,” McGuire said.