For years California has struggled to control the marijuana industry, but recently authorities have taken another step to take control. California has suspended 397 marijuana businesses until they complete the necessary steps in the regulation process. Effectively, all business operations must come to an immediate stop for these companies.
This contributes to about 5 percent of the total marijuana industry in California. Businesses affected by these suspensions include retailers, delivery services, microbusinesses, and distributors. Those who have been suspended can easily have their licenses returned once they complete the steps needed to complete the track and trace system. This system, created by the Bureau of Cannabis Control, keeps tabs on businesses’ marijuana supply. It also helps regulate overall business throughout the state.
The bureau has given these individuals more than enough time to finish the required steps. As simple as it is, these businesses should be able to start working again once they provide all the necessary information. Those who won’t be able to take the necessary steps will be weeded out of the industry.
“These were just the stragglers,” said Alex Traverso, spokesperson for the bureau. “It’s just a matter of getting a password, getting a log-in and doing the training.”
Although this is going to help California gain control of the marijuana industry as a whole, some believe this a step in the wrong direction. By taking out 5 percent of the legal market temporarily, it slightly opens the unregulated market wider. California has only suspended licensed operations throughout the state, leaving some customers searching for new alternatives.
“What we really need to be focused on is access and affordability,” said Josh Drayton, Communications and Outreach Director of the California Cannabis Industry Association. “We’re kind of incentivizing the illicit market, which is a much more affordable option right now for consumers.”
California has fought the unregulated marijuana economy for decades now. Since the legalization of marijuana in 2016, those businesses remained open. This has caused a struggle to control the cannabis black market. Whether this is a positive or negative decision by the state, this proves officials are concerned.
Despite marijuana being legalized for medical and recreational use, California is the only state to have an unregulated marijuana economy. The state has 7,392 licensed cannabis businesses, but delivery apps have allowed unlicensed sellers to advertise onsite. Earlier this month California announced they have seized over $1.5 billion in illegal marijuana this year.
Last year California made $385 million from marijuana revenue. The faster the state is able to control the marijuana industry, the more benefits it could reap. Marijuana delivery app Weedmaps claim to want to help regulate the market. The company claims to be removing all illegal sellers by 2020. The perfect marijuana market place won’t be a reality for a while, but at least officials are taking steps to get there.