Are Farmers in California Ready for the Rush Come January?

By Jason Marcuz

Residents of California will, from the 1st of January 2018, be able to buy marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes legally. Anyone above the age of 21 years will be allowed to purchase an ounce of pot. It will come with a tax rate of 15% per ounce. Currently, only those with medical marijuana cards can legally buy marijuana in any kind.

Regulations not in place yet
Back in November of2016, California voters passed Proposition 64 which legalized recreational marijuana. The passing of the proposition also set a deadline of January 2018 for the start of retail sales. Residents will from January be able to go to a marijuana access point to buy weed. However, the system is probably not yet ready to oversee this transition. The regulations necessary to manage, administer and monitor the recreational sale of marijuana are not yet in place.

According to proposed regulations, there will be local restrictions on the number of dispensaries that can exist in any given area. And the local authorities in California’s 482 cities and 58 counties have yet to come up with the necessary regulations, ordinances, and procedures of the sale. Currently, there are volumes of regulations and rules that involve tends of government departments.

Farmers expecting increased demand
Even then, demand for legal marijuana is projected to skyrocket in January of 2018. Will California farmers be ready for this demand? According to regulations, large farms that produce over $500,000 worth of weed annually are expected to be in compliance by January 26th, 2018. However, smaller farms will have additional years to comply.

Smallholder farmers are fortunate because they are not under immense pressure to immediately comply. However, they will encounter challenges in other areas. For instance, the fee amounts have yet to be determined. Most regulations are expected to be in place by January 2018. So if anything will slow down the farmers, it is the government.

Other regulations for production and sale of recreational marijuana are still not ready. These rules pertain to manufacturing, distribution, cultivation, and testing. Canada and other US states have successfully legalized recreational weed, but California is a large state with scores of farmers and consumers. So while farmers may produce the weed needed by consumers, they may be slowed down by regulations, rules and slow roll out by the authorities. It is hoped that things will largely be ready by January 2018.