The state of California is about to make economic and legal history as recreational marijuana will become legal on Monday, January 1, 2018. Despite the state already having a thriving marijuana industry, it was all geared towards medical marijuana and users had to possess a medical marijuana card to legally purchase and use the weed. Although it is relatively easy to get such a card in California, it still limited availability and gave rise to an illegal market worth an estimated $13.1 billion according to according to cannabis financial analysis firm GreenWave Advisors.
California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative was also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act by advocates passed in 2016. As a result, anyone 21 and over can possess up to 1 ounce of the whole plant and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana such as oils. Adults are allowed to consume the product in their homes or in approved businesses that have the proper permits. According to marijuana analytics firm New Frontier Data estimated tax revenue for the state can be as much as $300M to $500M in the first year of recreational sales. The new law also strongly regulates how marijuana can be grown, which will force small growers to either shut down or join growing collectives that have popped up in areas across the state.
Now that recreational weed is legal in California it will also have an impact on the local weed man. Customers no longer have to risk arrest or robbery when purchasing marijuana if they simply go to a legal store. In addition, the chances of getting bad quality weed will be greatly diminished because all marijuana products must be sold prepackaged, labeled and tested. This has many businesses engaging in branding to set their product apart from others as well as billboards and ad wrapped vehicles. Even businesses that don’t sell weed are employing creative marketing strategies to attract marijuana users. The fast-food chain Jack in the Box will offer “Munchie Meals” that includes two tacos, five mini churros, three crispy chicken strips, a serving of half curly fries and half regular fries and a small soft drink. A treat for 420 users at a price of $4.20 will be sold at select Long Beach, Calif., locations between Jan. 18-25.
Marijuana still remains illegal on the federal level and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated that he thinks the plant is evil. However with the potential for so much money to be generated the Trump administration has taken no significant action against the 8 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized marijuana. Not since the end of prohibition has a once illegal commodity in California been brought into legitimacy.