Over the past two days, we’ve looked at the current prospects for Proposition 64, California’s ballot measure for retail cannabis legalization in California. We’ve examined the ways in which regulations made in California have been known to have repercussions far beyond the borders of the Golden State. Today, we’re going to explore some of those consequences.
As we noted yesterday, 49% of legal cannabis sales in the United States already take place within the California medical marijuana system. With most predictions estimating that legal sales will be more than double current figures – about $2.7 billion in 2015 – the California market for legal cannabis in 2018 is likely to be larger than the current market nationwide. And when it comes to the influence that legal cannabis in California will have elsewhere, it all comes down to money.
Today’s panoply of cannabis and cannabis related products – from dab rigs to vape pens, oils, shatters, jars, grinders, live resin, nug runs, and the ever evolving array of concentration methods – are the products of the kind of product innovation that has only recently become possible. Thanks to the relatively secure market framework brought on by the cover of state-level legalization, investment has led to exactly what capitalism does best: the “constant revolutionizing of production”, per Karl Marx.
As the size of the (semi)-legal market grows – and passage of Proposition 64 would represent the largest single growth in the American legal cannabis market to date – we’re likely to see significant advances in product innovation. This will be led not only by the bigger size of the legal California pie, but also by an expanding pool of investors willing to operate in cannabis arenas. “There is a great hunger,” said Steve Berg of ArcView Group, a cannabis investment and market research organization, at September’s Elevate Conference. “And with further legitimacy of increased legalization, we’re going to see a lot more folks jumping into the space and writing bigger and bigger checks.”
What’s more, with 55 representatives in the United States House and Senate, California’s congressional delegation is the nation’s largest. This means more Members of Congress with constituents pushing them on a federal legislative fix for cannabusiness banking; today, legal states are represented by 29 Members of Congress. Legal weed in California will mean a faster road to banking for the rest of us.
Finally, the success of Proposition 64 will – with Canada’s probable legalization next year – make way for a “green belt” of states allowing cannabis sales that will stretch from Alaska to the Mexican border. No efforts are currently in the works to create a single marijuana market. However, when we caught last week’s Oregonian sponsored Big Idea workshop, Congressman Earl Blumenauer suggested that it may be possible to find a means – whether legislative or otherwise – to allow for interstate sales of cannabis among states that have legalized.