The Cannabis Industry Strikes Back

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Something is brewing with cannabis taxes and industry activism in California. Recently, advocates and operatives have been collaborating on a series of actions, starting with a letter to Governor Newsom and the state legislature demanding tax reform, additional retail outlets, and a check on local control so the California cannabis industry does not continue to collapse. The letter was signed by businesses large and small, up and down the legal supply chain. I suspect other measures will be forthcoming as the industry gathers its Jedi masters and attempts to breach the Death Star.

It’s about time.

I hope the cannabis community can find consensus to be bold. I’m not sure we’re there yet but a lot of smart people in the industry are working on it. I encourage them to go big. Given that many businesses are on the verge of bankruptcy, going into collections, or becoming distressed, now is the time for risks to be taken that will get the notice of the press and the public. The truth is on our side and a little history lesson might be instructive.

Toothless politicians have been kicking the teeth in of the legal cannabis industry since voters approved the measure, known as Proposition 64, way back in 2016. The first wave of spineless adherence to conservatism came in the form of local bans of cannabis dispensaries and other companies in the supply chain. Prop 64 gave locals this power and, wow, what a huge mistake that has proven to be in California (and most of the nation). It would be relatively easy to fix in Sacramento with a democratic supermajority but no such sanity has prevailed, despite the fact that the voters in most of those banned jurisdictions approved legalization by wide margins.

The state democratic party seems fine with this despite raging against anti-democratic forces in the GOP and everywhere else. What good is protecting the right to vote if the will of the majority is not listened to by elected elites? When it comes to cannabis policy, democracy is viewed by the democrats in Sacramento through the bloodshot eyes of reefer madness bias and prohibition muscle memory. Democracy be damned, we shall not have weed shops in our neighborhood, they cry.

The second wave of artillery attacks from the jellyfish known as elected officials came in the form of state and local taxes on cannabis. Having no clue about the prevalence and history of the legacy and underground markets in California (nor any desire to learn about it), the legislatures at the state and local level taxed cannabis to their heart's content. Every local and state problem that needs money has looked at the cannabis industry as its personal ATM. This has caused the price of legal weed to be double or triple that of underground weed. And it’s been in effect for four years now since adult-use legalization.


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