With some Californians threatening to secede due to Trump’s controversial policies, the state may not need the federal funds which our newly elected President plans to withhold if California refuses to comply with his demands for ‘Sanctuary Cities,’ places where illegal immigrants are thought to be given refuge. The legalized marijuana industry will provide California with a projected $7 billion dollars, rivaling the industries of Washington and Colorado.
On top of the $7-8 billion that will flood California in sales revenue, state and local governments could take in as much as $1 billion in taxes for legal recreational and medical pot sales.
Though the state’s emerging legal pot market requires some tweaking of regulations and rules that will outline where and how plants can be grown as well as tracking buds from fields to stores, “the plane is being built while it is in flight,” says Sen. Mike McGuire, a Democrat whose sprawling Northern California district includes some of the world’s most prized pot fields.
McGuire also says it is a daunting task to organize decades old laws that are meant to change an enormous illegal market into a legal one. Though he laments the process, with new laws requiring 20 different types of licenses, including permits for farmers; delivery services that will take pot to a buyer’s front door; testing labs; distributors; and dispensary operators at the retail level, the probable income for California would make other industries drool with envy.
As a comparison, the state’s produce industry, which supplies half the country with all its nuts, fruits, and vegetables, as well as a large portion of its livestock and dairy earned $45 billion in recent years. Legalized pot sales will likely double that number. Analysts also believe there’s another $24 billion to be earned in “unregulated pockets.”
Vivien Azer, a cannabis analyst, believes the nation’s legal market will grow ninefold over the next decade, with consumer spending on recreational and medical marijuana hitting $50 billion by 2026.
Cannabis is already as big a market in California as coffee and Indian gaming but only one in five dollars is accounted for on the legal market. As regulators make it easier for pot to be sold legally, mom-and pop shops that have been struggling to be legal will enter the tax stream. California stands to be one of the richest states in the country for a single crop.
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