Ballotpedia.com maintains a database of local ballot measures extending back to the beginning of the century. According to the website, there have been 164 cannabis-related local ballot measures in California since 2000. Amazingly, 77 of them—or 47 percent—appeared this year, a remarkable spike in number.

Continue Reading Cannabis-Related Local Ballot Measures Hit All-Time High in California

Husch Blackwell is proud to support @TheNCIA Northern California #CannabisCaucus on Tuesday, October 9 in Santa Rosa, CA. NCIA’s Cannabis Caucus event series has quickly become the gold standard event for professionals serving the cannabis industry! Join the industry’s most influential leaders for an evening of hors d’oeurves, cocktails (cash bar) and the latest organizational and federal policy updates. A registration link can be found here. Please use promo code HUSCH75 for 75% off tickets to this event.

Husch Blackwell is a lead sponsor of the Northern California Quarterly Cannabis Caucuses – next of which is to be held on Tuesday, July 10 in San Francisco, CA at the Hilton Financial District. The 3rd Quarter Cannabis Caucus will bring together executive level industry professionals, policymakers, regulators, and movement leaders to network, learn about emerging topics in the industry, and plug into NCIA’s efforts to advance the industry nationally. A registration link can be found here. Please use promo code HUSCH75 for 75% off tickets to this event.

 

The state’s marijuana shops raked in $1.51 billion sales of medical and recreational flower, edibles and concentrate products during 2017, according to Colorado Department of Revenue data released last Friday. Adult-use sales topped $1.09 billion in 2017, with the remaining $416.52 million coming from medical marijuana. Cannabis sales in the state were up 15.3 percent in 2017 compared to sales growth of 31 percent in 2016.

What does this mean?

Colorado continues to have solid growth in state-legal marijuana sales but have slowed down considerably compared to 2016.  Clearly the market is moving towards a plateau or possibly even a regression in 2018 due to new adult-use markets like California and Nevada recently coming online. Operators in Colorado need to be prepared for market consolidation, tighter margins and increased competition.

Young cannabis plants, marijuanaWhile I am sure we are all fed up with the current presidential election cycle, the upcoming vote in California to approve recreational marijuana has the potential to be a watershed moment for the national marijuana industry and warrants discussion.  In addition to California, Massachusetts and Maine both have legalization initiatives on the ballot next month that seem likely to pass. Arizona and Nevada are also voting on recreational marijuana, with polls showing Nevada voters evenly split.

What does this mean?

Market participants are flocking to California in the anticipation of a medical and adult-use marijuana market of $22 Billion in just a few years.  The vested interest of these businesses and the state of California will likely demonstrate to our federal legislators that federal laws need to be changed to accommodate the will of the people.

A successful vote in California, along with Massachusetts, Maine and possibly Nevada, will likely signal the true beginning to the end of federal prohibition of marijuana.  Ending federal prohibition will still take a herculean effort from industry participants to help craft an appropriate solution that not only addresses industry concerns but the public, health and safety of our communities in a thoughtful manner.

From my perspective, first on the list should be modifying 280E of the IRS tax code to allow for state-legal marijuana business to take business expenses as a deduction.  This will free up capital for the industry and allow the industry to be on equal footing with all other legit business in America.

California has had laws on its books since 1996 allowing marijuana use for medical reasons, however, it has failed to adopt any regulations for the state and local licensing of marijuana cultivations and dispensaries.  After seeing states like Colorado and Washington reap millions in taxes, California has finally developed new regulations.  Today, California law makers reached an agreement with Gov. Jerry Brown to issue licenses for medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivators.  California will create a new Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) within the state Department of Consumer Affairs that would oversee a multiagency licensing and regulatory effort.

This is an essential step for California to take if advocates in the industry hope to end prohibition statewide in the next presidential election by legalizing adult-use as Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have already done.