California Cannabis in Crisis

The Golden State’s rollout for legal weed has already hit big problems

Comments

1

There's only one measure of success I care about: have the cops stopped throwing people in jail and otherwise ruining lives over it?

2

@1 -- Exactly. None of this should concern anyone. Of course it sucks if California rakes in a bit less money than expected, but compared to the gigantic California budget, it is still peanuts. If anything, the savings that come from not jailing everyone for smoking a little weed are much bigger. Start commuting sentences of non-violent drug offenders, and soon you could start closing some prisons.

Anyway, if I had a joint for every time someone whined about how the Washington Cannabis system was doomed, I would have ... well, a lot more weed. First there were folks scared about everyone getting busted for DUIs (didn't really go down that way, did it). Then there was this sort of whining -- prices too high because the regulations were all fucked up, etc. Now we have a glut (of course).

So it is sad that California didn't learn from our mistakes, but they will figure it out soon enough. Within a couple years you will see plenty of high quality, lost cost weed with decent revenue for the state. The big benefit though, will be the fact that so many people won't have their lives ruined just for smoking a little bit of weed.

3

How does Washington avoid the testing bottleneck?

Everyone knew prices would have to be comparable to what they were on the black market to make this work well (aside from @1's point, which I also agree with)—instead, Los Angeles probably has more illegal sales than licensed dispensaries, for example.

Just like booze, these laws will be refined ad infinitum.

4

Hello - I’m the author of this piece, and the issue of expunged cannabis arrests and no longer arresting people for simple consumption, possession and production are all important reasons to celebrate, and have been covered and explored fairly extensively in my three plus years writing this column. However those important benefits of a regulated cannabis program are not the issues being discussed, as great as they are especially for communities of color who have been and continue to be disproportionately impacted for cannabis “offenses”. The “whining” to which you refer is an examination of the impact the bungled rollout has had on the industry stakeholders, tax revenue, and access for medical patients. Some dispensaries have gone from 45 strains to 5. For patients dependent upon a particular strain(s), that can have tremendous impact on their well being, in addition to driving them to the unregulated marketplace. My point was that California failed to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors and those mistakes are now impacting a number of entities and individuals. I support and applaud all efforts for full decrim and release of anyone locked in a cage for a plant, but that doesn’t run contrary to calling out government agencies when their greed and incompetence negatively impacts the burgeoning industry and patients who depend upon safe easy access to medicine. Thanks for reading, its rare the column gets shared with the Mercury’s mothership publication up north.

5

jokes can get you high (ask me i know), but i'm wondering, will product shortages and taxes get you high? it doesn't seem like they would, makes me wonder if policy makers bumble on purpose. here's an idea tho- if you taxed the product shortages, that would make up for the lost taxes plus there would eventually be less product shortage.

6

So, California has had legal medicinal pot since time immemorial (okay, I may be exaggerating just a skosh) and doctors' prescriptions are supposedly about as hard to get as a pack of Zig-Zags... so how much of the recreational sale shortcoming is due to people just buying it "medically"? How do the taxes and prices differ?