According to a recent report, several cities and counties in California could approve new recreational cannabis markets through ballot measures later this year. This could add nearly 150 more retail licenses to the state. It could also create numerous business opportunities in the marijuana supply chain, such as retailing cannabis accessories.
Changes are seemingly inevitable for approximately 28 municipalities that will include marijuana ballot measures in the November polls. This initiative is very encouraging for cannabis entrepreneurs and companies, especially those who received revocations on their provisional licenses last year.
Similarly, this would help minimize wide gaps in consumer accessibility since many cities and counties within the state restrict commercial marijuana operations. The prohibitions are mainly because local authorities can ban cannabis retail businesses even though the substance is legal in the state. Lawmakers in a few municipalities feared that a recreational marijuana market would lead to an influx in crime and opted to ban adult-use weed sales.
As a result, most of the state’s marijuana companies, including 1,100 dispensaries and over 500 delivery services, are in densely populated areas. Furthermore, research shows that less than 40% of California cities and counties have authorized these marijuana retail enterprises.
The ballot measures will also help to minimize retail deserts. These are vast areas without marijuana retail stores and could span as far as 100 miles in some rural counties. For instance, only one out of 34 cities in Orange County has cannabis retail establishments. Weed retail deserts are one of the reasons why the illicit cannabis markets in California continue to flourish while the legal marijuana industry struggles to maintain pace.
Most of the impending ballot measures in the coming polls are straightforward and invite voters to approve or prohibit marijuana businesses within their communities. However, a few municipalities will have to address marijuana business tax measures first to pave the way for a regulated market.
Municipalities such as Healdsburg in Sonoma County and Huntington Beach in Orange County will use marijuana tax measures to approve retail businesses in the region. Essentially, this entails allowing the county government to tax cannabis businesses.
If cannabis ballot tax measures are successful in the November polls, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego Counties could approve 10 to 40 recreational cannabis retail stores each. This increase in trade will help businesses get things up and running after years of back and forth with local marijuana authorities.
Some local businesses are even spearheading signature and ballot campaigns to entice consumers to vote. Catalyst Cannabis Co, for instance, is aggressively pursuing a strategy to break into cities that still prohibit retail cannabis sales. The company has allocated nearly $500,000 to fund initiatives to ensure the cannabis measures succeed.
Although this change may seem slow and long overdue, it shows that the marijuana industry in California has started gaining momentum. Given the state’s reputation as a pioneer in the world of marijuana, this move is likely to influence other jurisdictions to follow suit.