California will ring in the New Year with fireworks, champagne and a little buzz of marijuana.
Hoping to cash-in on what some analysts have determined to be a $13 billion industry, California is following the money like other states including Colorado, Oregon, Nevada, Alaska and Washington have in recent years. Massachusetts and Maine are also considering the additional revenue stream or fields in this case.
Medical marijuana has been legal in California for decades and account for roughly $2 billion in annual state revenue.
Legal cannabis will become a reality in California starting on Monday, January 1, 2018. The Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64, was passed back on November 8, 2016. The law allows those who are 21 years of age and older to hold up to one ounce of weed. However, they can also have up to six plants at their residence.
In simple terms, no matter what state you reside, if you are at least 21 years of age, you can buy and get high in California.
Assemblyman Tom Lackey has introduced legislation that would make the California Highway Patrol the point agency for enforcing state marijuana laws, especially those seeking to stem the flow of weed out of state.
However, while it is legal to buy marijuana in California, it is “illegal” to smoke it in public.
California’s strict anti-tobacco laws prohibit you from smoking marijuana in public.
However, you can eat products containing cannabis in public places where other types of food are consumed. Interesting…
What’s a little concerning is what appears to be a total miss regarding public safety.
Local police departments are not using pot breathalyzers, so is it very unclear as to what happens if and when an individual is suspected to be driving while impaired “by marijuana”.
The newly created state Bureau of Cannabis Control, which licenses retail outlets, said it has hired several officers to help crack down on unlicensed shops and plans to hire more in the coming months. But much of the work of arresting illegal operators will still rely on sheriffs and police departments.
Temporary licenses from California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, have already gone out to a handful of stores who will be selling cannabis January 1st. Most are located in Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, West Hollywood and Cathedral City.
Oddly enough, Los Angeles area stores will not be licensed in time for the January 1st kick-off as they attempt to work out their own regulations.
It is also worth mentioning some cities within Los Angeles County, like Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank, are not allowing recreational pot dispensaries, citing health and safety concerns.
More cities and states will probably follow the new revenue model of cannabis-capitalism. Hopefully, public safety programs will see their fair share of money earned from this industry.