As the entertainment industry vacillates in ever-expanding sexual assault lawsuits and the exodus of blockbuster film productions out of state continues, Los Angeles can take profitable pride in the legalization of recreational ganja, to take effect January 1, 2018. Last November by a chill, healthy margin, Golden State voters approved the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), on the ballot as Proposition 64. The full name of the measure is the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Though not nearly as boneheaded as the UK’s ill-planned Brexit embarrassment, how aspects of AUMA will all be implemented is not yet clear, therefore it seems Californians will be blazing forward into learn-by-doing nebulous territory. NBC News analyzes the circumstances:
“The state and hundreds of cities are faced with the challenging task of trying to govern the vast, emerging industry with a projected value of $7 billion. Some places have banned all commercial pot activity, while other are embracing it.”
Los Angeles, a place where Snoop Dogg and Miley Cyrus have been encountered by TMZ smoking out, seems to have a leg up on reaping in tax revenue as soon as possible. The City Council has established common sense regulations (no sales in residential neighborhoods, buffer zones around schools, libraries, parks), and voted on December 6 to license commercial sales and cannabis cultivation starting first thing 2018. However, January 1 is right around the corner, not leaving much time for businesses to be ready for folks whose New Year’s resolution is to acquire their weed legally on Day One.
As medical marijuana has been legal since 1996, there is already a network of cannabis corporations operating, and a whole host of newly formed industry groups waiting to legally jump into the gold rush. With change comes anxiety (or paranoia?), as some dudes have expressed concerns that regulation structure and permit pathways won’t be clear quick enough for 2018 to satisfy customers.
“…you are just giving oxygen to the black market we all want to eradicate,” said Adam Spiker. Spiker is executive director of the Southern California Coalition of cannabis businesses.
Recreational pot businesses will need local permits before applying for required state licenses.
Los Angeles city officials and residents know the business end of a spleef, which is why the City Council has been scrambling hard to pave the way for getting baked legally.
“As lawmakers we have a responsibility to reasonably regulate this industry in a manner that is safe, inclusive, and practical,” Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. said.
In early 2017, city voters approved regulations for local cannabis businesses, which shows an eager yet practical civic embrace of the onetime derided industry and the money it will generate.
With Colorado’s pot-tourism boom as a demonstrated example, L.A. will be the largest U.S. city accommodating recreational Mary Jane. Since marijuana is federally illegal, there is worry that President Killjoy and his flunkies who hate California will interfere with this level of states’ rights, even though he just fucked with Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in the name of (business-friendly) states’ rights (for red Utah).
The other uncertainty, federally speaking, is with banking, as financial institutions are reluctant to do business with the cannabis industry. Reportedly medical marijuana business is largely conducted in cash. With the coming influx of large pot dollars, this will need to be ironed out.