There are several glaring problems with the adult-use marijuana market in California, including the high taxes and excessive regulations that make it difficult for legal businesses to compete with unlicensed and illicit sellers.
But perhaps the biggest problem with the legal recreational market in the Golden State is simply a lack of supply. To be sure, high taxes and heavy regulations have done their part to drive away investors from the industry, but the main drain on legal supply is the sheer amount of jurisdictions in the state that have banned cannabis businesses.
While 57% of voters approved Prop 64 in 2016, some two-thirds of jurisdictions in the state have banned marijuana commerce to some degree. The end result it that large portions of the state have no businesses where adults can buy legal cannabis products.
To try to alleviate the supply problem somewhat, the state Bureau of Cannabis Control issued regulations earlier this year that allowed companies to deliver marijuana anywhere in the state, regardless of what local community representatives had decided about brick-and-mortar establishments.
Many of the communities that enacted bans have called foul on the delivery regulations, claiming it undercuts the local control they say they were promised by Prop 64. These two camps are now locked in a legal battle over the issue, with cannabis businesses and the state on one side and communities that have enacted bans on the other.
While a case could be made that community representatives have the right to ban brick-and-mortar marijuana businesses within their borders – although I would argue this is a bad decision based on irrational fear – it’s hard to make the notion of banning vehicles from entering a town, delivering a product and leaving seem anything less than authoritarian.
Furthermore, if people in those towns and counties that have banned adult-use businesses want marijuana delivered to their house, isn’t that “local control?” Or is “local control” just a euphemism for “political control?”
Most of these communities that have banned cannabusinesses didn’t do so with a vote of everyone; they did so with a vote from a few people on their town council or a similar lawmaking body. If adults want cannabis delivered to their home and they are not infringing on the rights of anyone else, there shouldn’t be a problem.
Of course there is a problem, however, because lawmakers are usually not too worried about what their constituents want. They care more about the unfounded fears of marijuana they have carried from their childhoods.
Adults can make their own decision about whether or not to buy marijuana; they don’t need strangers in some building on Main St. holding their hand and telling them how to live their lives.