Voting season is nearly upon us. After shooting down prop 19 in the 2010 election, California is once again up at bat to legalize recreational marijuana, this time in the form of Proposition 64. While Prop 64’s outcome is not yet determined, recent polls show that 60 percent of voting Californians are ready to legalize the sticky green stuff.
It might seem silly to plan around an unknown, but we’re treating this like Schrodinger’s cat. Let’s say it doesn’t pass—things will stay much the same until the next proposition comes around. In the event that it passes, however, many things will change, and that’s something worth planning for. After all, it’s only a matter of time.
What Prop 64 Means for the California Public
Before we can go into what Prop 64 means for cannabis business, we have to look at what it means for the cannabis consumer. Here are some of the big things to be aware of if Prop 64 passes.
- People still won’t be able to smoke in public places—private residences and designated business locations only
- Anyone over the age of 21 can legally purchase, carry, and transport one ounce of cannabis flowers (~28.5 grams) or eight grams of cannabis concentrates (hash, oil, shatter, etc.)
- Persons over 21 can grow up to six marijuana plants on their property, provided they aren’t in plain sight and none of the yield is being shipped
- Packaging will be strictly regulated—expect to see lab-tested percentages and other metrics on recreational marijuana products
- There will be a 15 percent excise tax on all marijuana sales, on top of California’s pre-existing sales tax (here’s how that money will be spent)
- Smoking and driving will be prohibited—some of the tax revenue will be directed toward campaigns against driving under the influence of cannabis
- Medical marijuana patients will not be much affected (although The Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act passed last year and will soon come into effect—you can read up on its stipulations here)
Prop 64 has another provision, one that’s actually quite important for you, the ganjapreneur: there’s a five-year waiting period before the biggest cannabis licenses become available. These licenses will allow for an “unlimited grow,” meaning there is no limit placed on a farm’s scale and yield. This is in an effort to prevent early monopolies in the trade. Which means that, if you want to forge a spot for yourself in the California cannabis industry, now is the time.
Red Tape and a Shifting Landscape
Cannabis will soon be easily accessible, but that doesn’t mean the cannabis industry will be easy to infiltrate. In fact, many recreational marijuana businesses in California won’t have the proper legal infrastructure until early 2018. Don’t expect to step into the business overnight.
Moreover, don’t expect the business landscape to stay still as more marijuana legislation is passed. Federal regulation will bring a bevy of changes to the industry. Scott van Rixel, founder of Bhang Chocolate, is one of the moguls of the cannabis industry. His company soared to the top with its well-crafted, sleekly packaged edibles.
Despite Bhang Chocolate’s wild success, van Rixel voiced some reservations in an interview from March 2016. He expressed his concerns that federal legalization will bring about an era of strict controls. The edible magnate reasons that once the FDA becomes involved in regulations, edibles that can be mistaken for candy or pastries (especially by children) are likely to be prohibited. In preparation, he’s diversifying his cannabis products and services as much as possible before that happens.
Don’t be discouraged from your entrepreneurial pursuits—instead, plan ahead. A shifting landscape means that only those who can think ahead will outmaneuver their competition. In the end, cannabis products, accessories, B2B services and more will experience a substantial uptick in demand if Proposition 64 passes. It’s your time to shine.
Stake your Claim in the Cannabis Industry
There’s a reason people are calling this the second Gold Rush. There’s a hoard of treasure resting underneath the fledgling marijuana market. Much like with the Gold Rush, however, not everyone will strike it rich. To succeed, you must still plan carefully, assemble the right people and tools, and stake your claim in a prime area.
Looking to ride the recreational cannabis wave? Trying to pioneer a cannabis startup? Let 4Blooms put our marketing acumen to work for you. We’ll help guide your fledgling idea from seedling to success story with competitive marketing strategies and insights gained from years in the digital cannabis marketing sector.