Why Isn’t The Marijuana Industry Booming In California?

By Sharelle Burt


California residents were more than excited when marijuana was made legal in 2016. Business owners were ready to cash in on the industry since it was projected to soar. However, that cash has been coming in slower than expected.

Growers and cannabis shopowners blame it on complex regulations, high taxes and the decision to ban marijuana shops in numerous cities. Law enforcement has also been concerned about crime growing around the marijuana trade. These issues are top priorities for state governor-elect Gavin Newsom when he takes office in January. Pro-legalization groups don’t think the problems will be solved. “The cannabis industry is being choked by California’s penchant for over-regulation,” director of California NORML Dale Gieringer said. “It’s impossible to solve all of the problems without a drastic rewrite of the law, which is not in the cards for the foreseeable future.”

After Proposition 64 was voted on, the law estimated close to 6,000 cannabis shops would be licensed in the first few years but the state Bureau of Cannabis Control fell short, issuing only 547 temporary and annual licenses to marijuana stores and dispensaries. They were also off on their money count, estimating $1 billion in revenue sales. But with cities banning pot sales, tax revenue is falling far short of those estimates. “I think we all wish we could license more businesses, but our system is based on dual licensing and local control,” Alex Traverso, spokesman for the state Bureau of Cannabis Control said. With taxes collected as far back as January 1, the state is expected to bring in $471 million in revenue this fiscal year.

RELATED: Here’s A List Of States Where You Can Have Fun With Marijuana Legally

Even though the voters have spoken, they are a major cause as to why marijuana hasn’t risen to the states projected standards. Eighty-two of Los Angeles County’s 88 cities bans retail sales of recreational marijuana and some voters don’t want shops in their communities at all. Some voters in Malibu approved pot shops, but in Simi Valley, residents voted for an advisory measure against allowing retail sales. One shop owner, Sky Siegel, said he recently stopped trying to open another store in Santa Monica because of its restrictions on such businesses.

The whole industry has caused a lot of tension in areas where cannabis growers operate close to residential areas. Some state there are safety concerns, and others just don’t like the smell. “The smell is horrific,” Sanjay Bagai, said. “It’s like rotting flesh. And the traffic is insane.” Bagai, who lives next door to a cannabis farm, started a group called Save Our Sonoma Neighborhoods, which has taken measures to get a preliminary court ruling against one cannabis-growing operation.

With the new taxes and fees that business is starting to accrue, the cost of legal cannabis in parts of California could increase by 45 percent.

Travel Noire

Sharelle Burt

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Black Girl Magic: Did You Know The CEO Of LAX Airport Is A Black Woman?

Black Girl Magic: Did You Know The CEO Of LAX Airport Is A Black Woman?

One of the largest and busiest airports in the world is run by a black woman. Deborah Ale Flint has served as the CEO of the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which owns and operates LAX and Van Nuys Airports, since 2015 after she was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. LAX serves more […]

Parker Diakite

Issa Rae’s New Inglewood Coffee Shop And Kitchen Is Officially Open For Business

Issa Rae’s New Inglewood Coffee Shop And Kitchen Is Officially Open For Business

If you thought she had her hands in a million things already, Issa Rae is now co-owner and partner of Inglewood’s newest Black-owned and people of color owned coffee shop and kitchen. Hilltop Coffee and Kitchen opened its doors today, and it will definitely be a space that creatives of all genres will want to […]

DeAnna Taylor

Let Loose This Summer At These Clothing-Optional Beaches Around The Country

Let Loose This Summer At These Clothing-Optional Beaches Around The Country

Indecent exposure is not a concern at these clothing-optional beaches where it is encouraged to bask under the sun in nothing more than your birthday suit. If you are looking to break free of the restraints of clothing this summer, here are a few beaches to check out. San Gregorio, California Home to the oldest […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin