Let’s celebrate because the new year marks the dawn of the state’s licensing program for commercial, recreational cannabis. It follows the voters’ approval of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which we wrote about last year.
But hold your horses, too, because it’s just the beginning. Earlier this month, the state launched its online application system, and two weeks ago, it issued its first batch of temporary licenses to retailers, distributors, microbusinesses, and testing laboratories. These licenses go effective January 1 and allow previously accredited businesses to do business while they complete the application process.
So far, only a few cities and counties are ready to go on January 1. Others, like Los Angeles, have been getting ready and will start taking applications within days or weeks. Some have opted out entirely. And most haven’t decided one way or another.
It’s a work in progress, then, and the best advice for now is to cover your backside. Run your business by the book, and invest in high-quality legal research, analysis, and representation. Invest in compliance, in other words, because it’s the only sustainable way in the end.
In the meantime, seven more states are poised to join the growing majority that has chosen to legalize, regulate, and tax medical or recreational pot.
So it may just be the beginning, but the new year looks bright.