2018 has been a big year for cannabis legislation in California, across the country and around the world. According to the Associated Press, New Zealand, Mexico, the Netherlands, among others are poised to legalize cannabis in the coming year. And 2019 promises to bring even more good news for cannabis consumers.
Thanks to the 2016 MAUCRSA (Medicinal and Adult‐Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act), adults over the age of 21 can partake in recreational cannabis. Prop. 64 regulates medicinal-use cannabis and has provisions for growing, testing, and selling of cannabis and cannabis-products, like CBD.
Prop. 64 paved the way for the boom in cannabusinesses and the normalization of cannabis and cannabis-products. Thanks to Prop. 64, adults can carry a small amount of cannabis at LAX (and other state airports), adults can enjoy edibles and growing a personal-use amount of cannabis is no longer a crime (1 ounce of dried and processed marijuana and grow up to six plants).
According to a report by the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), California is one of the greenest states. Adult-use cannabis sales reached over $3 million in 2018 and are projected to exceed $7.5 million by 2022. Still, it’s difficult to get an accurate count on the number of dispensaries in the state because cannabis sale permits are issued by city and county, rather than state, governments.
Changes coming in 2019 include greater scrutiny on cannabis collectives. Collectives have existed before 2016 based on the premise that a medical card-holder could deliver product to other card holders. As of Jan. 9, 2019, the Bureau of Cannabis Control will no longer recognize these organizations (Section 11362.775 of the Health and Safety Code). This means that loosely organized collectives must obtain proper business license and documentation to continue operating legally.
According to a map created by the Sacramento Bee, about one-third of state residents live within 30 miles of a dispensary. Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento have the highest concentration of dispensaries.
But new cannabis delivery services like Eaze and Get Nugg have been breaking down distance barriers and allowing people greater access to cannabis. Regulations on cannabis delivery vary by county. California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued 73 temporary permits to delivery-only businesses in 10 of California’s 482 municipalities. Pending legislation could help regulate delivery and sale of cannabis across county lines.
California has had limited medical-use laws since 1996 (The Compassionate Care Act or Prop. 215) and medical cannabis sales were $294 million in 2018. With the increased availability of cannabis, it seems likely that some people will forgo the cost of a medical recommendation and purchase cannabis on their own. The NCIA projects medical cannabis sales will only total $133 million in 2022.
Although medical recommendations may be on the decline, general use and interest in cannabis seems to be increasing. According to a study conducted by marijuana delivery company Eaze, about half of respondents said that the legalization of recreational marijuana has it easier to talk about cannabis use with family and friends.
But cannabis isn’t just for the college-age crowd. Almost three-quarters of adults who use cannabis regularly are open with their parents about their habits – 79 percent of baby boomer versus 67 percent of Generation Z. The survey also reports that 47 percent of parents tell their children about their cannabis use – mothers (61 percent) are more likely to be open than fathers (37 percent).
These promising trends seem to indicate a bright future for cannabis users. While pending legislation regarding cannabis testing and delivery regulation may not sound all too exciting, these steps can help ensure that every ounce purchased is legally produced and of high quality. As for the trends in cannabis conversations, the numbers are looking up it seems like the stoner stigma is decreasing and cannabis consumption is here to stay.