Since last January 1, California has become the largest legal cannabis market in the world. A market that for 2018 is estimated at around 9 billion dollars, which will bring into the coffers of the state every year one billion in taxes. This is the outcome of the referendum on the legalization of cannabis that was held on 8 November 2016 and had obtained 53% of the votes in favor.
In California, the therapeutic use of cannabis was already permitted and regulated since 1996, with the so-called Proposition 215.
But today many cities still struggle to legislate. And even the federal government continues to consider the sale of cannabis illegal: every financial transaction resulting from its marketing is therefore considered as recycling, with the result that the banks refuse to accept such sums.
It is no coincidence that in the dispensaries of Los Angeles it is generally very difficult to pay with a credit card and it is impossible to settle payments by check. Those who do not have the cash amount with them can take withdrawals from the ATMs in these very particular shops.
While it is true that 64% of Americans support the free sale of cannabis, currently only 29 states authorize the sale of medicinal marijuana, which is only freely marketed in eight of them, as well as in the District of Columbia.
And in California since January 1st, chaos reigns. Each municipality is free to define and impose its own regulations or to prohibit the sale of cannabis in its own constituency. Others, such as Long Beach, have not yet decided and continue to authorize the sale of medicinal cannabis pending legislation on the recreational one.
Not to mention the age limits: 18 years to buy the first and 21 for the second. Or of taxation: California had initially decided not to tax the sale of medicinal cannabis, but changed its mind at the last minute. The tax, to which are added the municipal taxes, has therefore been set at 15% for both the medicinal and recreational.
But then, one might ask, why buy cannabis in a dispensary when one could continue to obtain it illegally at a lower price? “Because when you buy cannabis in a store you can know its origin and quality, thanks to very strict regulations,” explains a customer of a dispensary to Le Monde, “while illegally sold marijuana is often full of pesticides and other chemicals definitely unhealthy “.
To feed the thriving business there are also products derived from cannabis: from biscuits to beauty milk, from drinks to sweets, from infusions to aphrodisiac sprays. And so on and so forth.
California is one of the most inhabited American states, as well as a very important cultural center: it is therefore very likely that on the legalization of marijuana will lead the way, convincing other states to approve similar legislation.