California will have roughly $3.7 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2018, according to a new report from Arcview/BDS Analytics. But that is practically chump change compared to the $9.2 billion total that consumers will spend on weed in the white and black markets combined.
Another interesting part of the study reveals what could be a big part of why buyers are pursuing alternatives to legal cannabis channels: prohibition. Though cannabis is legal at the state level, county bans have made a shockingly large portion of the Golden State a no man’s land for weed.
You can see for yourself in the illustration below:Illustration via Arcview/BDS Analytics.
Now, just because a county is gray doesn’t mean there is no legal weed in it. A county ban means that unincorporated towns (which are overseen by the county) cannot license cannabis businesses. Incorporated cities and towns in a cannabis-prohibited county can still follow their own regulations.
Trying to figure out what exactly the hell is going on with California’s prohibition problem, Leafly reports that some counties just don’t have the first clue about cannabis. Rather than figure out how best to regulate it, they just decide not to regulate it at all.
One such land of confusion is Del Norte County. Though 60% of the county voted for cannabis legalization, the county came out somewhat clueless when it came to actually legalizing it themselves.
At a meeting before the prohibition vote last week, the Del Norte Triplicate writes that “Resident Victoria Dickie asked if anyone in county government had contacted federal authorities regarding cannabis legalization and the federal position on the legality of marijuana use and commercialization.”
The County Attorney Joel Campbell-Blair added that, “There’s no mechanism for the federal government to give us some kind of protection for our cannabis growers.”
Arcview believes that this kind of uninformed regulation may be behind the state’s relatively slow legal cannabis growth. Even at a projected $7.7 billion in sales by 2021, the data group says “That sounds like a lot of growth, and it is, but the forecast is conservative compared to the post-adult-use legalization growth seen in other states.”
The report concludes that “nerous regulatory environments risk pushing cannabis prices higher, inhibiting market growth, and ironically, sustaining the illicit market.”
Photo via Flickr user WeedPornDaily