Following the passage of Prop 64 last year to legalize marijuana, California is due to launch its adult use market this coming January. But don’t get too excited just yet. Despite its status as the up and coming cannabis capital of the world, California is far from having a seamless cannabis industry in place.
Less than two months before the launch of the 2018 market, the state released regulations that cannabis businesses are now scrambling to adhere to. Many are applying for temporary licenses so they can still operate while they navigate the application process for an actual state licence — which they can’t even get, unless their local jurisdiction grants them licensing, as well. And many jurisdictions have yet to get their own regulations in order, hence crippling cannabis businesses that have already been operating under California’s old medical marijuana program.
Point being, and for lack of a better term, it’s a mess.
So if you live in the Golden State or plan to visit, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Don’t get rid of your medical marijuana card
Come January 2, 2018, you likely won’t be able to walk into any dispensary and just buy weed. Marijuana businesses are navigating tricky application processes at the state and local level, and many won’t be able to sell adult use cannabis immediately. If you’re a medical marijuana patient, hang onto your recommendation. It will come in handy, both by granting you access to more retail options and by helping you save on the extra taxes imposed on adult use cannabis.
Get ready for taxes
Speaking of which, adult use cannabis is expected to cost 14 to 20 percent more than medical marijuana, and be subject to a state sales tax of 7.5 percent (that’s not including all the excise and other taxes that growers, distributors, and dispensaries will have to pay on the wholesale level). Cannabis industry folk are generally dissatisfied with the tax situation, and some fear it may give a boost to the black market.
If you like weak edibles, you’re in luck
Adult use cannabis edibles will be capped at 10 milligrams of THC per serving and no product can have more than 100 milligrams of THC in a single package. If you like to go heavy on edibles, you may have to buy a couple packages, but if you’re more into microdising, a 10-milligram dose is perfect.
Become a weed snob
Ethical, environmentally conscious, mom-and-pop organic cultivators will only survive the legal market and Green Rush competition if educated consumers step up and demand high quality, small-batch cannabis products. If you care about cannabis becoming an exemplar industry that values its employees, ecology, and safe products, educate yourself on where your cannabis comes from, how it’s grown, and what the grower stands for.
Don’t just settle for organic
Just because a grower uses “organic” pesticides or “sustainable” cultivation methods, be rigorous in how you evaluate these terms. While the law mandates cannabis products be tested for toxic chemicals and pesticides, opt for cannabis grown in conditions that go above and beyond the bare minimum. Get to know your farmer, and find out if they’re using regenerative agricultural techniques to improve the environment, while they grow cannabis.