Extra hashish shops are coming to California after the election
The smoke cleared in the 2020 election, and one thing has come into focus: California’s cannabis masses can expect more business in more corners of the state in the coming months and years than ever before. California is slowly bringing water to its cannabis deserts.
Thirty-two of 38 local marijuana measures were passed on Election Day, November 3, 2020. The vast majority of measures allow and tax local cannabis companies.
Small, rural, Republican California towns approved shops, farms, laboratories, vendors, and kitchens. These holdout cities fueled the work of the once controversial state legalization initiative Proposition 64.
California Legalization Fact Box:
Prop. 64 approved November 8, 2016 Sales began January 1, 2018 Number of active storefront licenses today: 715 Number of active non-storefront licenses (delivery licenses): 311 Tax revenue since start of sales: 1.45 billion USD Number of jobs at end of 2019: 39,804
(Sources: Bureau of Cannabis Control; CDTFA; Leafly Jobs Count 2020)
More store optimism
The local vote of the year is another beat in the rhythm of reform – a rhythm so slow that you may miss it.
In San Francisco, vape brand STIIIZY opened its new retail store in the coveted downtown Union Square shopping district on October 9th. The store is located at 180 O’Farrell Street between Powell Street and Stockton Street.
Interior of STIIIZY Union Square San Francisco. (Courtesy of STIIIZY)
Max Mikalonis of K Street Consulting, a leading statewide lobbyist and licensing expert, is “definitely optimistic” that the state will gain more access to retail. “But I would temper that optimism by realizing that it will be some time before many of these stores are online.”
California’s lethargic pace of business development goes double for cannabis. Prop. 64 puts cities and counties in the driver’s seat – they can ban all cannabis deals completely. Most did so at the beginning of legalization, creating so-called “cannabis deserts” with no legal outlets for hundreds of kilometers.
Three years of legal sales convinced skeptics heaven wouldn’t fall, said Ellen Komp, assistant director of California NORML. She tracked local action in a voter guide for the state’s 482 cities and 58 counties.
“It takes a while for the locals to figure out where to zone things. They want to wait and see the process, ”she said. “It’s like the end of the alcohol ban. There are still some arid counties in the US. “
Fears of an increase in crime, teenage consumption and falling property values have not materialized, said Nate Bradley, executive director of the Cannabis Consumer Policy Council.
“It no longer has the fear that comes with it. No news was good news, ”he said. “It’s like a gay marriage. Almost everyone knows someone who uses cannabis. It has become normalized and non-partisan. “
Relatively conservative Mt. Shasta Voters opposed efforts to keep cannabis out of the Kids Coalition. KCAKC’s failed Measure L was aimed at reducing local cannabis businesses there. Conservative Age Community in Orange County Laguna Woods just passed a pharmacy measure. Motorious Highway 101 speed trap King City Full-fledged Police Land Ventura City and County voted to finally add business. Ojai wine area residents have stopped bothering with cannabis dollars and approved action by G. Bay The suburbs of Tracy, San Bruno, Benicia, Fairfield, and Vacaville in the area’s bedrooms are no longer being used for legal cannabis jobs and access be accessible. The forested gold country town of Grass Valley added legal jobs to its robust illegal trade. The rural town of Weed, CA, finally weed allowed!
Four years later – is Prop. 64 a success?
A victory for the criminal justice system
Prop. 64 was a mix of successes and lessons learned over the past three years since it began selling, experts said.
“Did you have hiccups? Yes. You couldn’t do it all at once, ”said Bradley of the consumer group. “Prop. 64 was not passed to make a robust, big money industry. It was passed on for social justice reasons. From the perspective of voters and consumers, it was a complete success.”
Prop. 64 erased the most common cannabis crimes. Police can’t use the mere smell of pot to stop young black men, said Bradley, a former officer. Arrests fell 27% to 1,181 in 2019, the lowest level since 1954; for a state of 40 million. Prop. 64 started automatic deletions of records. Legislature added a nationwide share program and restored the compassion programs.
Calma opened in West Hollywood in September when the number of active store licensees in California rose to 714. (Courtesy Calma West Hollywood)
(Courtesy Calma West Hollywood)
Learned tax and license lessons
The need for simpler, lower taxes and streamlined licensing are the two most important realizations, Mikalonis said.
In the economy, onerous federal illegal drug taxes can be 70-80%. That is passed on to consumers. Cities shape buyers with declining cannabis sales taxes of 10%, 15%, or even 20%. Both taxes fuel the street market.
2020 U.S. Cannabis Crop Price Report
High taxes are the main consumer complaint in Prop. 64, Comp said. “It is an important reason why the illegal market persists so thoroughly. And it makes it difficult for companies to make it. I don’t know anyone in cannabis who makes decent money; in fact the opposite. “
Expert Mikalonis said the success of Prop. 64 must be measured in context.
“California has always been a tough nut to crack because we had such a widespread illegal market and because we supply cannabis to most of the country.”
After the election, the new job of the voters
With the 2020 election on the books, local citizens will have to campaign for lower taxes and less red tape, Bradley said. Forty-page applications and two-year waiting times lock out small business owners.
“History is made by the people who show up,” said Bradley. “You can’t just be a keyboard warrior.”
Pro-cannabis voters face organized, funded opposition. Three cities rejected weeds – Yountville, Solana Beach, and Jurupa Valley.
“If you really want legal cannabis in your community, you have to take action …”
Max Mikalonis, K Street Consulting
Meet with fellow consumers to keep track of city assembly agendas, make compelling comments on local shops, low prices and lounges, said Comp. California NORML created a local action toolkit to help keep you engaged.
Present your values at the community level, Mikalonis said. “If you want really legal cannabis in your community, you have to get active and stay active and keep an eye on what your city council is doing and what they are proposing,” he said.
David Downs directs news and lifestyle coverage as chief of the California Bureau for Leafly.com. He has written for WIRED, Rolling Stone and Billboard and is the former cannabis editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and author of several cannabis books including ‘Marijuana Harvest’ by Ed Rosenthal and David Downs. He is the co-host of the Hash podcast. TW: @davidrdowns | IG @daviddowns
Show article by David Downs