I think it's fair to say the California cannabis industry has some problems that are plaguing the current landscape. High start-up cost, high taxes and high regulation both locally and on the state level make for a playing field that ultimately is rather challenging for small and large operators alike.
Consumers and patients bear the cost burden and ultimately have to make a choice between a legal or illicit market based on a value proposition or the ease of access to licensed outlets.
With those problems in mind what questions should we collectively as a community, be asking?
How can we further assist small operators, farmers, retailers and community members?
How can we enable communities disproportionately harmed by cannabis laws benefit from its commercialization?
How can we create a tax structure that encourages people to join the industry and encourages more local, state and ultimately interstate/national commerce?
How can we help further promote California as the finest growing region on the planet?
How we can we as a California market lead the way in education, research, sustainable cannabis / hemp based production and solutions?
A rising tide lifts all ships and California really has an opportunity to change the tide.
According to the CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) most recent 2020 crop report the top agricultural commodities were the following;
Dairy Products, Milk — $7.47 billion
Almonds — $5.62 billion
Grapes — $4.48 billion
Pistachios — $2.87 billion
Cattle and Calves — $2.74 billion
Lettuce — $2.28 billion
Strawberries — $1.99 billion
Tomatoes — $1.20 billion
Floriculture — $967 million
Walnuts — $958 million
California's Cannabis industry now supports 83,607 jobs according to Leafly, in comparison California Dairy Products and Milk supports approximately 207,770 jobs according to data extrapolated from 2018 UC Davis economic impact study.
Total taxable cannabis sales in 2021 totalled over $5.2 billion according the the CDTFA. As for the total size of California's cannabis market many outlets vary in estimation but seem to value the illicit market right around $8 billion, yielding a total potential market of over $13 billion. For context that's around 650 million $20 eighths.
Cannabis is not only a key contributor to California's GDP now but is likely to be California's most valuable crop within the next few years (If it isn't already). As more states across the US give their residents more freedoms concerning their medical and recreational cannabis usage, California will continue to play a vital role in it's supply. As it has done for decades in the prohibition era.
The key issues to watch over the coming months are likely to revolve around Cultivation and Excise Tax reform, local and municipal tax reforms and a renewed push to allow retail access in areas that haven't yet adopted licensure.
The question for now is can California's legislature adopt new measures and structures to further support the demand of California and beyond.
What steps do you feel should be taken to better create a fair and sustainable Cannabis landscape in The Golden State?