California is ringing in 2018 by beginning recreational weed sales, a change that countless believe has been a long time coming. California residents 21 and older can now legally possess up to one ounce of weed, as well as grow up to six plants at home.
Not All California Cities are Ready to Sell Legal Pot
Even though there’s more people in California than anywhere else, there were only about 90 businesses that obtained licenses to sell recreational cannabis. In Los Angeles and San Francisco people will have to wait to buy weed until these popular cities pass local regulations that allow licensing.
While people in LA and San Francisco were left dry when the clock struck midnight in Cali, folks in Santa Cruz, San Diego, Palm Springs, and the Bay area rejoiced as legal sales began.
Pot lovers living in Riverside, Bakersfield, and Fresno weren’t as enthusiastic, however. These are some of the areas in California that have forbidden any kind of recreational sales.
What You Need to Know About Legal Weed in California
Welcome to 2018, California. Recreational cannabis sales in the Golden State officially start today.
General Laws…What’s Legal and What’s Not
People 21 and over can legally buy, possess, and consume up to one ounce of cannabis per day. Residents of the state can also grow up to six cannabis plants.
People who want to light up are forbidden to do so in public. Smoking cannabis while driving is also illegal. Consuming marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center where children are present is also illegal.
Taxes, Taxes…and More Taxes
Recreational weed in California isn’t expected to come cheap. A 15 percent tax will be enacted on all retail cannabis sales, medical included. Local governments also have the ability to legislate additional taxes of their own. Growers will also be responsible for paying taxes on their plants (including flowers and leaves). This is something that several people believe retail consumers will have to pay for.
Taxes on legal cannabis in California are expected to significantly drive up the price for a bag of weed…something some people fear will drive people straight back to the black market. It’s estimated that a bag of weed sold legally in LA could be increased by some 70 percent with all the additional taxes. That $30 eighth is suddenly stupid expensive.
California’s seen what kind of money marijuana taxes can bring in. Colorado is at the forefront, easily bringing in $1 billion in 2016 alone. California estimates that it can bring in $684 million in marijuana taxes by 2019, and projects to see $1 billion in just a few years.
Will Recreational Cannabis Sales Drive Out the Medical Market?
Some people wonder if medical marijuana in California will be blanketed by a thriving recreational market. While it might dissipate a bit, people with medical cards will still pay lower city taxes. This is something that could keep prices down and the medical market still running. Medical cards in California are also issued to residents 18 and over, which will undoubtedly keep medical marijuana in business.
Although recreational weed sales passed in California with flying colors, weed still remains illegal at the federal level. Will 2018 bring the federal cleaning of cannabis house Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened? This is something we’ll have to wait to see. For now, we’re celebrating the New Year…and legal cannabis sales in California.