California was always at the forefront of progressing marijuana legislation until 2010, when the state failed to legalize recreational marijuana. Things are looking different this year as the state is yet again set to vote on whether to legalize recreational use this November. California legalized medical marijuana 20 years ago and the state makes up a massive amount of the marijuana industry in the United States. If California legalizes recreational marijuana this year, it is predicted to earn over $1 billion dollars a year in marijuana sales and tax revenue. With the number of new companies that would spring forth from the fresh industry, there would be a massive influx of new jobs and new business opportunities, leaving the state of California flush with money.
Why California May Usher in a “Green Rush”
Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and D.C. have already legalized medical marijuana and 8 other states, including Nevada and Maine, are set to vote on it this November. California is a highly populated state of almost 40 million residents and it is one of the largest economies in the world. Making the move to legalize recreational marijuana use in California is likely to influence other states. Leslie Bocskor, who owns a private equity firm called Electrum Partners, advises businesses in the cannabis industry and is also an investor in the industry. He says, “I don’t believe there will be any precedent in the United States that can compare to it except for maybe the Gold Rush.”
Proponents of California Marijuana Legalization
The California Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Initiative is backed by both mainstream leaders like Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and big money people such as Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook. The Governor helped to create the regulations and taxes involved with legalization. He expressed his belief that legalization is inevitable, his concern that regulations are well written and that the industry is organized safely.
Marijuana Sales and Tax Revenue Through the New Plan
The measure would allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use and to grow up to 6 plants. Marijuana sales would be taxed at 15 percent. There would also be a cultivation tax of 9.25 per ounce of flowers and 2.75 per ounce of leaves. Rules and regulations would be in place regarding driving and for the prevention of marijuana use in children. Regulations would be in place for growing, processing, tracking and selling.
Entrepreneurs are already lining up to take part in the new booming industry of recreational marijuana sales. Since January this year, 115 businesses in California have joined the National Cannabis Industry Association which would bring the number of members up to 330. Until the herb is legalized officially, many business owners are operating on the belief that recreational legalization is just a matter of time. The chief of staff for Sacramento’s mayor, Daniel Conway, 35, left his job to start a cannabis investment company, Truth Enterprises. He says, “I’m someone of an age and of a demographic that sees the legalization and normalization of marijuana as inevitable. This was a chance not just to build companies but to build an industry.”