Introduction: Marijuana is
big business. This article explores the things you need to know as of the
upcoming deadline on January 2, 2018 and what to consider before joining
the thousands of people wanting to get into the business. Because these
articles are written based on immediate needs of clients and issues in
the news, I apologize for any grammar mistakes.
Issue #1. The Marijuana Business is More Difficult Than You Think. Many people have a perception that those in the marijuana business are
merely “potheads”. They get this view because of movies like
“Fast Time from Richmont High” or from characters like Harold
and Kumar. Understand that those in the marijuana business have been zealously
advocating from legalization for nearly 50 years. They are intelligent
and extremely business savvy. If you are looking to trick a pothead in
business, you are likely to find that they are more intelligent than you
– especially in the business of marijuana.
Issue #2. Proposition 64 Has Nothing to do With Medical Marijuana. If you are looking to engage in the medical marijuana business, the law
on January 2, 2018 (Proposition 64) has nothing to do with you.
Issue #3. There Are More Ways to Make Money Apart from Actually Getting a License. I frequently tell people that getting a license is not the only way to
make money from marijuana (aka cannabis). If you have real estate or have
been a landlord, leasing or renting to a commercial or residential tenant
is an excellent way to make money from an industry without heavily involving
yourself in the marijuana business.
Issue #4. There Will be Heavy Government Regulation Coming in 2018. Do not think that legalization means no oversight. I believe that there
will be heavy government action in 2018 to shut down and prosecute many
illegal acts in the marijuana industry. Understand that one of the basics
to legalized marijuana is a 15% state tax. A portion of the income that
California receives will be used for enforcement of the laws. Let not
legalization full you. There will be many business owners wishing for
deregulation because of the sudden inspections that will commence in 2018.
Issue #5. Yes, Marijuana is Legal in California. No, the Federal Government
Considers It Illegal and Still May Prosecute. Indeed, the fear of many people is whether the federal governmental will
prosecute California marijuana businesses. The answer is simple, under
Obama no, under Trump we do not know. Since 2014, the US Congress and
the President has prevented prosecutions over acts that are legalized
by the state. However, President Trump and Attorney General Sessions has
reopened the door on prosecution. While there has been no formal statement
either way, yes marijuana remains a risky business and once every business
owner considers prior to entering into the marijuana industry.
Issue #6. Read Proposition 64. No business owner can get away from reading Proposition 64. I recommend
that you read Proposition 64, in full, along with the legislative notes.
The actual law, word for word, can be found here:
Issue #7. Get Familiar with These Websites Today. Anyone that is interested in the marijuana industry needs to become familiar
with the following websites: (1) the Bureau of Cannabis Control
www.bcc.ca.gov; (2) the California Cannabis Portal
www.cannabis.ca.gov; (3) CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing
www.calcannabis.cdfa.ca.gov; (4) and the California of Public Health
Issue #8. There Are Two Main Licenses to Get. One for Your City. One from
the State of California. Although California has a license to issue on January 2, 2018, that license
does not permit you to do business in any city. You must still get a license
from the city or county that you intend to do business in. Also, even
though you have a city license, you must still get a state license on
January 2, 2018 to remain in compliance with the law. The state license
application can be found here:
Issue #9. Giving Money to Politicians Without Reporting it is Illegal and
Will Lead to Prosecution. Many clients have come to our office stating that they are being told
that government officials are asking between $250,000.00 - $500,000.00
in “contributions” to get a marijuana business. Giving money
“under the table” is illegal and will lead to prosecution,
which includes the person giving the money. Avoid any city where the politician
(or employee) asks for money and report it to the police immediately.
Issue #10. You Must Keep Abreast of All New Regulations in 2018. Because of the size of the state and the complexity of the law, you can
expect on a weekly basis new laws, and interpretations of those laws,
to occur in 2018. California, as of December 20, 2017 still has only provided
guidelines for the January 2, 2018 deadlines. Very few concrete steps
have occurred to help the person seeking to get a license. That being
so, expect a flurry of activity by multiple government bodies to push
out regulations. Some will be confusing. But all will be exciting because
California is entering into a new era – that being that marijuana
is now legal.