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High Hurdles Before Recreational Pot Sales in California

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 10, 2017 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Across the state of California, local and state lawmakers have quite a few hurdles left to jump before the January 1, 2018 deadline imposed by Proposition 64. Basically, the law required the state to set up the framework to issue licenses by that time, and as we get closer, more and more problems are creeping up. Surprisingly, none are due to inactivity or laziness.

Come January 1, the state will be required to start issuing licenses to businesses that wish to sell marijuana for recreational purposes. But because of the regulatory problems, it is likely that the first wave of licenses issued will be temporary licenses.

Greener Grass

One rather large problem for potential marijuana businesses is that to get a state license, a marijuana business must also be in compliance with local laws. While this may not sound like a problem, the fact is that in many cities and counties, local laws and regulations have not been established, and won't be ready in time. This means that some marijuana businesses may not be able to get licensed by the state.

Big Bags of Green

While consumers may be rather excited to get their hands on some legal marijuana, the marijuana businesses that plan to open up will face the same dilemma as the many medical marijuana businesses nationwide face: federal banking regulations.

Because pot is still illegal under federal law, banking regulations prevent marijuana businesses from being able to utilize federally insured banks. This means that most marijuana businesses operate with quite a bit of cash on hand, and often pay their state and local taxes in the form of duffel bags or suit cases filled with cash.

To help assuage the banking concerns, there has been talk of setting up a California cannabiz bank that could be used by medical and recreational marijuana businesses.

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