November 27, 2018, California
California is moving in the right direction with its legal cannabis program. Yesterday, we discussed some indicators of that improvement. In this article, we will continue to discuss the development and maturation of the Golden State’s cannabis program.
Regulatory Work is in its Final Phase
Apart from the commencement of permanent license issuance to cannabis businesses, the state is also on the verge of issuing the final draft of marijuana regulations. It has only become possible after a protracted course of public hearings, revisions after revisions to the language of regulations and feedback from the stakeholders. The last public hearing alone attracted more than 6,000 responses.
The debates on the regulation of cannabis have been majorly centered on some issues, such as operating hours for retail stores, rules pertaining to delivery services, insecticide testing requirements for cultivators and financial framework and services for businesses.
The most recent public hearings have resulted in the amendment of fee structure for the annual license. The fee will now be determined through the annual revenue generation of every individual cannabis business. Moreover, businesses will be able to make license payments in installments. Experts believe that the regulations will continue to evolve as the state’s cannabis market grows and expands.
Social Equity is Finding its Feet
One of the main talking points on the favor of cannabis legalization and its decriminalization is the provision of social equality by cutting down the persecution of racial communities. Therefore, Proposition 64 also puts emphasis on social equity program to facilitate people who have taken the most brunt from the war on drugs.
Cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco have started working on their respective social equity measures. The state also approved a budget of $10 million in September for local social equity programs. The progress on this front is quite slow. However, social equity measures will eventually turn into some solid remedial work to reverse the effect of war on drugs to some extent.
Increasing Tax Revenue
Even though cannabis tax collection is far from what was projected, it has been gradually increasing this year. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration released the collection figures for the first two quarters of 2018, which suggest an 18 percent increase in the second quarter. The department also plans to introduce new reforms to improve cultivation, sales and exercise tax collection.
Job Market is Thriving
According to a staffing agency that enlists positions for cannabis businesses, the cannabis job listing is generally on the rise in the US. Even before the legalization of recreational cannabis, 38,233 people were directly employed in the marijuana industry. With the ongoing growth trend, it has been estimated that approximately 100,000 Californians will be directly employed in the statewide industry in the next three years. The state’s licensing agency is currently facing staff shortages and is looking to hire more people.