Despite rough 2018, California’s cannabis industry might have reason for optimism

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the February issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.)

“The year of stability.”

That’s what Lindsay Robinson, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, is hoping 2019 will become in the Golden State.

And it very well could play out that way, especially compared to the roller-coaster turbulence California’s cannabis market experienced in 2018.

But there are many who would scoff at that notion.

The first full year of California’s regulated marijuana market was as much about survival as anything else – especially for existing companies that were transitioning into new modes of operation, with hundreds of pages of new rules (and multiple drafts of those rules) to comply with and comprehend.

There was massive upheaval right from the get-go in January 2018, with sales not reaching their full potential because state and local taxes were much higher than many consumers were willing to pay.

That led straight to the ongoing fight between legal operators and illegal ones – though many of the latter have been trying for months to obtain licenses and run their companies in a fully legal manner.

But the underground market is alive and well.

The illicit market is only one reason Robinson’s hopes of stability may be for naught.

Many others have said they don’t expect any real market stability for several more years – or until regulations are set in stone, wholesale cannabis prices stop fluctuating madly, testing processes become well-established and the supply chain in general settles down.

That’s not to say that 2019 won’t be easier for marijuana businesses in the Golden State than 2018. But it won’t be a cakewalk.

Click here to read some of the issues – good and bad – facing California’s cannabis industry this year, including:

  • Lawmakers’ anticipated actions.
  • Licensing changes.
  • Track-and-trace questions.
  • Supply chain shakeout.
  • More markets opening.
4 comments on “Despite rough 2018, California’s cannabis industry might have reason for optimism
  1. Rod Gass on

    “But the underground market is alive and well” That’s true, why?

    By all appearances , “the honest cannabis market need’nt submit to legalities”. Therefore.

    Has there ever before been a more glaring example of unnecessary government control? No, there hasn’t been. This is the first time in history where a culture has taxed to death herbal medicine. People are being harmed by ‘legal’ governmental prohibition.

    Shall we go all the way to the point of prohibiting the consumption of “honest” cannabis? It’s now obvious that we have before us a bad vs good debate over the imposition of continuing military assaults against untaxed herb. This is crazy. Nobody wants this.

    Reply
  2. Winston Carson on

    Cannabis is fully agribusiness and should be treated as such, its treated as if it’s a privilege to provide year round jobs to thousands of Californians.

    Reply
  3. Darlene Mea on

    Why is it ‘we the people’ of this planet need to fight for a life-giving plant that has been around since the beginning of time? It’s called the petrochemical industrial complex. Cannabis challenges the synthetic world and all the products that have made our planet sick while making the greed mongers fat and controlling. It’s time we grow cannabis everywhere for our wellness, environment, and economics or we may not survive our selves any longer in their prison systems! Awareness and ways to move towards our sustainable future of Cannabis is key! Together We Grow!

    Reply
  4. Kevin Murphy on

    With community support, the cannabis business will eventually stabilize. And when it does, it will be beneficial for many patients who are looking for natural means to medicate and alleviate their health conditions.

    Reply

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