The state of California passed Prop 64 allowing any adult 21 and up and 18 with a
medical recommendation, cannabis consumption with some limitations to amounts.
This also allows for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail licenses. The
idea is the consumer will purchase from a regulated licensed retailer, receive safe,
tested and tracked product and the local municipalities and state can collect tax dollars.
The state implemented Prop 64 in January 2018 and set the regulations but left the final
say up to local city councils to allow or not allow a regulated cannabis business in their
A cities primary objective is to govern overall safety and regulation for its citizens. If a
city council voted NOT to allow cannabis sales in their jurisdiction, even though the local
citizens voted yes by a majority for prop 64, where are those citizens getting cannabis?
The idea that the consumers are driving to the few metropolitan cities allowing regulated
medical and adult use cannabis sales, or possibly not using it anymore because they
won’t buy from the unregulated, is not practical and now we know can be harmful. The
CDC has now given a name to the vaping disaster called EVALI. Officials with the CDC
and the Food and Drug Administration have yet to pinpoint any one product or
ingredient responsible for the illnesses. However, with more than 80 percent of cases
involving THC products, officials are increasingly focusing on thickeners and additives
found in BLACK MARKET THC cartridges.
It’s interesting when considering out of all the states allowing regulated cannabis,
Colorado is the only state that has not had a death due to the unregulated vapes.
Could this be because they took an aggressive approach to their cannabis business
strategy, which included mandating the licensing of adult use retailers in every
jurisdiction in order to compete with the unregulated?
Out of 200 delivery services currently providing cannabis to the high desert, only 10 are
licensed; 2 in Adelanto and 8 in Hesperia. This means 95% of all cannabis sales in the
high deserts are unregulated adult use black market. No testing, no regulation and no
taxes. Is the consumer safe? Is this regulating?
During the Prop 215 era approximately 75% of all cannabis consumers had a medical
recommendation. Two years ago, prop 64 kicked in and today that number has
dropped to 25%. The public believes you only need a recommendation if you are under
21 years of age, which is true. They can safely purchase from any regulated cannabis
retailer licensed for “adult use”. So why would any jurisdiction ONLY allow medical
cannabis sales or NO regulated sales at all?
The 8 licensed Hesperia delivery services are medical only. This means if a cannabis
consumer 21 years or older refuses to obtain a medical recommendation, they cannot
purchase safe, tested regulated product from any of the 8 Hesperia delivery services.
hey could drive to Adelanto or call one of the 190 other unregulated delivery services
in the high desert. Which would be more convenient?
Buying patterns have also changed dramatically since prop 64 was implemented.
Flower sales went from 75% while unregulated to 30% regulated. However vape and
concentrate sales have increased from 20% to 50%. This is significant when
considering the amount of unregulated vape sales recently brought to light with the
public safety issues.
In a recent article from the Daily Press, Hesperia city manager Nils Bentsen stated it
would take years for the local authorities to shut down the unregulated. In my opinion
the only way to stop the unregulated cannabis business is to give the consumer a better
option. The public currently chooses daily between unregulated cheaper, faster weed
recommended by a friend, or regulated safe expensive and inconvenient weed.
Additionally, it’s nearly impossible to know which delivery services are currently
licensed. The Daily press released the top 5 High Desert cannabis deliveries last year
and 4 of them where unregulated. How can a licensed medical cannabis retailer paying
50% in taxes and servicing medical only compete? The questions the cities should ask
is how to level the playing field and allow the compliant tax paying cannabis business to
connect to the consumers. Then and only then will we see the unregulated diminish.
The state of California has recently recognized the financial burden placed on this
budding industry. Recognizing the need to come to our aid, Gov. Newsom signed a bill
over the weekend allowing cannabis businesses to claim tax deductions. He also
signed the appropriately numbered AB 420, which expands cannabis-focused research
and last week, Newsom signed a bill to allow parents to administer medical cannabis to
students at schools.
Bi-partisan support is showing up as some California lawmakers are considering a set
of bills that would in ways great and small fine tune the law governing recreational
cannabis. Assembly Bill 286 introduced by California lawmakers has announced a bill
that would temporarily reduce or eliminate two cannabis taxes in an effort to help
fertilize a newly regulated industry that they say is having trouble competing with
unregulated black market operators. The bill would reduce the state’s tax from the
current 15% percent cannabis excise tax to 11% and eliminate a cultivation tax that
growers pay for 3 years.
High taxes, unfriendly banks and the unregulated black-market are some of the
obstacles that are holding back licensed cannabis companies, as they try to cultivate a
new industry in California.
For hundreds of years this product was grown and distributed through an unregulated
“connect”. This was someone referred by someone you trusted. This is not a pattern
that’s going to change immediately. It’s a lifestyle and part of the cannabis culture.
Although some of the regulated adult use cannabis brands are making an unmeasurable
impact on current regulated cannabis sales, people are still more dependent on human
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