California was 1 of 4 states to legalize marijuana for recreational use in last November’s ballot. California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts joined Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and D.C. in legalizing the plant for personal use of adults over the age of 21. Since then, the state has been working on finalizing regulation and distributing licenses in order to meet the January deadline in 2018 when the plant is expected to be available for sale. Los Angeles County has been working hard to finalize regulations in advance of the rest of the state to establish an industry that suits the specific needs of the city and its provinces.
Moving Toward a Final Draft
This week, a council committee backed a group of regulations which would determine how marijuana is grown, distributed and sold in the Los Angeles area. The regulations which were drafted in March were presented by City Council leader Herb Wesson, who will now present them to the full City Council for approval. At this point, the city attorney can press forward and complete the final draft of the approved regulations.
Closure of Existing Businesses
There is some concern for how the new industry will affect the current marijuana business owners including growers, manufacturers, distributors and retailers. They will be expected to cease business and apply for the appropriate licenses. While there is talk within the regulations of giving the current business owners first preference when it comes to distributing licenses, they will still need to close down in the interim. This kind of transition may be enough to push a company out of business or even into bankruptcy.
“I realize that that’s a flaw and we’re going to try to deal with it,” Wesson said during the council meeting of the potential harm caused to existing businesses. Nonetheless, he seemed eager to push ahead stating, “I’m not going to let one flaw slow down the process.”
Projected Benefits of Los Angeles Marijuana Sales
Los Angeles made $21 million last year in tax revenue from medical marijuana. With the advent of recreational marijuana, the city is expected to make $50 million in tax revenue next year. Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014 and since then has made $506 million in revenue according to VS Strategies, a pro-marijuana research company. Given that California is the 6th largest economy in the world and a high traffic place for tourism, the city is expected to earn a lot from its legal marijuana industry.
Cannabis and Tourism in Los Angeles
Smoking however will be banned in public places and even from hotels. People will not be allowed to consume the plant near schools, beaches, parks and even bars. The city may take some tips from Colorado on this issue and provide hotels where marijuana is accepted as well as smoking clubs and other such places where a tourist may be able to enjoy the city’s laws.
As the city moves forward on finalizing marijuana regulations, solutions and compromises will no doubt be found as Wesson seems determined to implement fair regulations. Some businesses may be forced out by the transition. However, only time will tell how this unfolds.