On Jan. 1, Proposition 64 took effect and California became the sixth state to legalize adult-use marijuana, with Maine and Massachusetts to follow later in 2018. By the end of 2018, over 20 percent of United States citizens will reside in a jurisdiction with legalized adult-use marijuana.
In California, this is an exciting time for residents and tourists alike, with sales of marijuana products to customers age 21 or over. A number of cities such as Los Angeles and Sacramento are moving towards more expansively legalizing marijuana retailers and supplies, which will improve consumer access. Additionally, after decades of persecution of marijuana users, California has also opened the door to expunging the records of those convicted of marijuana crimes.
It is also worth noting that not all marijuana dispensary services and delivery services will be licensed to service the adult-use market. Some retailers will only be licensed to sell medically, so check the business listings prior to ordering to ensure you can buy without a medical recommendation.
Some of the anticipated consumer benefits and options stemming from adult-use legalization include:
• Brand development: While California is already a leader in the variety of marijuana brands, we anticipate that the ability for marijuana cultivators and manufacturers to operate openly will help enable the rate of innovation and development of new products.
• Lab testing: When California’s lab testing requirements fully take effect later in the year, consumers can expect to see more consistent lab testing results on products, including both cannabinoids (e.g. THC, CBD) and terpenes. This will be important in helping consumers understand the effects marijuana has on the consumer.
• Delivery: Proposition 64 ensured that cities could allow delivery and ensured that delivery drivers have open access to public roads. This should greatly increase consumer access and convenience.
• Ability to possess openly: Starting Jan. 1, all people over 21 may possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana, 8 grams of concentrate and up to 6 marijuana plants.
Although California legalization offers the hope of improved access and benefits for marijuana consumers, it is not without its pain points. While many had hoped for an orderly transition to a legal adult-use market, California was slow to develop regulations, only releasing emergency regulations in late November that caught most of the industry by surprise. This left…