California has long been a strong influence on the marijuana industry. It was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 and, to this day, makes up almost half of the legal marijuana sales in the U.S. This is the case even now that Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Colorado and D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana and 25 states have legalized medical marijuana. So now the state faces the next turning point in its relationship with cannabis as residents have the chance to vote “yes” on Proposition 64 and legalize recreational marijuana this November. The move is predicted to have a big influence on other states and countries’ policies regarding legalizing cannabis.
$6.46 Billion by 2020
Arcview Market Research have just released a report, projecting that legal marijuana sales would reach $1.6 billion in the first year and $6.46 billion annually by 2020. Medical marijuana sales are projected to remain relatively the same with the possibility for a slight drop by 2020. California is projected to be the “epicenter” of the marijuana industry, having a big influence in how legal cannabis will be regulated and how the industry will be run. The report from Arcview predicts that legalizing cannabis in California will also influence Mexico and other Latin American countries to legalize marijuana also.
How Legalizing Cannabis in California Produces That Kind of Money
Proposition 64 will implement a cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce on flowers and $2.75 per ounce on leaves. It also places a 15% sales tax on all marijuana related products. This high level of annual tax revenue on top of the thousands of new jobs and business opportunities that legalizing cannabis would create is projected to stabilize and flush the California economy with much needed funds. In fact, legal cannabis is projected to bring in $1 billion annually in tax revenue that will go towards funding youth programs, environmental protection, law enforcement training, research, drug prevention and education as well as drug and alcohol treatment.
Details of California’s Proposed Marijuana Laws
The law allows for adults above the age of 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and 8 grams of marijuana concentrates for personal use. It will not be allowed to be consumed publicly. The same laws will apply for driving under the influence. For those who have been convicted for marijuana related crimes, they will be eligible for resentencing. Those with a record that has marijuana related offenses listed will be allowed to have their records cleared. The savings in court, jail and law enforcement costs will also in and of themselves bring the state an immense amount of new income to be distributed towards much more beneficial causes.
While the state did not choose to legalize in 2010 when the opportunity was presented on the November ballot, a lot has changed since then. The introduction and successful implementation of legalized recreational marijuana in states like Colorado have eased residents into the idea and benefits of a legal market. According to polls, the majority of the state is in favor of legalizing marijuana in California. The advantages certainly seem clear.