What an up and down week it was for the medical marijuana industry.
First, the good news: There are plenty of opportunities to get involved in the medical cannabis industry around the country. In Colorado, for instance, a moratorium on new dispensaries ends in less than three weeks. Residents who want to open medical marijuana centers will be able to do so for the first time in two years, allowing new players to enter the market.
Additionally, Arizona, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington DC are all moving forward with their dispensary programs after numerous holdups and setbacks. Combined, this will lead to hundreds of new MMJ businesses across the country by early next year, from dispensaries and marijuana grow operations to hydroponics shops and other companies that provide services to the industry.
Now, the bad news: The medical marijuana infrastructure in California – the industry’s elder statesman – is on the verge of collapse. There’s a very real possibility that Los Angeles will ban medical marijuana dispensaries, at least until the state Supreme Court makes a key ruling on the issue. This would wipe out what has long been the largest dispensary community in the country, forcing hundreds of MMJ businesses to close. At the same time, the government has stepped up its MMJ crackdown in California, targeting several dozen dispensaries in the state that it says are operating illegally under California cannabis laws.
Many MMJ professionals and advocates will decry the potential ban and the crackdown, saying the Obama administration is trampling state rights and is backtracking on its vow to largely leave MMJ businesses alone.
But it’s more complicated than that.
There is a reason California – and specifically Los Angeles – has experienced so much turmoil recently. The lack of regulations on the medical marijuana industry is a serious concern, and it has allowed criminal, sketchy and unethical businesses to proliferate. Every honest MMJ business owner should want to see these types of operations close, as they are a blight on the industry. Unfortunately in California, however, even the good guys are getting swept up in it all, as the backlash in cities like Los Angeles leads to outright bans.
Other top stories in MMJ Business Daily last week: