Almost a year ago, four more states made the bold decision to vote in favor of cannabis legalization – and California is preparing for legal sales of recreational marijuana to begin at the start of the new year.
While Nevada followed Oregon’s model, allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to sell to adults 21 and older while they prepare licensing and regulating new cannabis businesses, California, Maine and Massachusetts all decided to hold off until 2018 to begin sales to recreational customers.
California is shaping up to be the first state to have their fully functional recreational cannabis market open for business. The Bureau of Cannabis Control put their proposed regulations up for review in September in Long Beach, Fresno, and Sacramento.
“We obviously still have a lot to do, but yes, we’re going to be ready to go on Jan. 1,” said Alex Traverso, spokesman for the Bureau of Cannabis Control in California. “We will be issuing new regulations in November, so we’re hard at work on those at the present time.”
Cannabis sales are expected to reach $3.8 billion in 2018, and up to $6.6 billion by 2025, according to projections from New Frontier Data. This could increase nationwide sales of the plant to $24.1 billion by 2025 – a number that is only going to continue to grow as more states enter the legal cannabis market in the coming years.
Figures like these are estimated based on legal cannabis sales in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska over the last few years. Considering Nevada nearly sold out of cannabis within a week, medical marijuana dispensaries looking to expand to the recreational market in California are stockpiling early in preparation for legal sales in January.
“We are in the process of stockpiling cannabis in order to fulfill the market needs,” said Zach Lazarus, COO of the Green Alternative. “We believe there will be a huge rush. We go through two to four pounds [per day] on average, and we anticipate going through three to four times as much when we open the doors for recreational.”
California already has the oldest and most profitable medical marijuana market in the country – which stands to suggest that they will have one of the most successful recreational markets as well. At least in California, lawmakers have been working diligently to stick to a one year plan to get the new market up and running, while Massachusetts and Maine must wait for later in 2018.