June 21, 2021

GOODER AND HARDER: California’s $100 Million Marijuana Bailout Tells You All You Need to Know about Its Government.

I bring up [the Johnny Depp film] Blow in light of news that California’s legislature approved a $100-million plan to boost California’s struggling legal marijuana industry.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the industry is in serious trouble. The growth of licensed cannabis shops has been dismal and far below state projections. Just 1,086 retail and delivery firms have been permitted to date—about 82 percent lower than the 6,000 cannabis shops the government anticipated.

How is this possible? Well, shortly after California legalized pot in 2016, lawmakers began burdening the industry with so many regulations—particularly myriad compliance orders associated with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)—that businesses are drowning under paperwork, fees, and delays.

“Many cannabis growers, retailers and manufacturers have struggled to make the transition from a provisional, temporary license to a permanent one renewed on an annual basis — a process that requires a costly, complicated and time-consuming review of the negative environmental effects involved in a business and a plan for reducing those harms,” the Times reports.

Who on earth could have predicted this development? Flashback: California’s Legal Weed Is So Heavily Taxed and Regulated That the Black Market Might Survive.

Related: The Ontario government lost $42M selling cannabis in the last year.

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