Long Beach, CA – With recreational marijuana regulations not even expected to be issued until late November, California’s emerging marijuana industry is rattled by an array of unknowns.
“We all have anxiety,” top state pot regulator Lori Ajax told an industry group Thursday in Long Beach. “It’s not going to be perfect.” Ajax shares that the state is preparing to issue temporary licenses for growers, sellers, manufacturers and distributors on Jan. 1. The temporary licenses would be good for four months and could also be extended, if necessary. Ajax adds her agency will be open for business on New Year’s Day.
Growers and sellers have voiced concern regarding how the industry can function when some operators will have licenses and others might not. Questions surrounding banking and federal law enforcement, since pot remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, are also a worry. Additionally, to obtain a state license, operators must first have a local license or authorization and many municipalities are still working on those rules.
Recreational pot was approved by California voters in 2016 and takes effect in 2018. That will unite recreational sales with the state’s two-decade old medicinal pot market. By legalizing recreational pot use, California could transform its vast marijuana black market into the nation’s biggest legal pot economy, valued at $7 billion.