The huge underground cannabis economy was woven into the commercial fabric of California long before the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adult use. Transforming a shadowy, multibillion-dollar industry into a heavily taxed and regulated structure presents unique and enormous challenges. Who will gain and who will lose under the new regime? Will the expected financial dividend from legalization be broadly distributed throughout the Golden State?
PART 2. BLACK MARKETS MATTER
The California counties of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity, which comprise the Emerald Triangle, emerged as the epicenter of domestic cannabis cultivation in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. After the Golden State legalized medical marijuana in 1996, the nascent cannabis industry spread throughout much of Northern California’s remote regions and into the Central Valley. But today anxiety is high in weed country, which desperately needs the industry to survive.
On November 16, 2017, California officials released a new set of regulations for cannabis manufacturing, testing, and growing. In many respects, these updates are a significant improvement to the initial draft regulations, however, some major problems remain.
Two important issues pertain to regulations on mold and foreign filth, which are absurdly loose. And unlike the initial proposal, no statement as to the rationale behind the new regulations has been released.