Sweet Flower’s Tim Dodd said illegal operators cut into legal market share. Photo by Ringo Chiu.
Cannabis is on the ballot in six Los Angeles-area cities this November.
Voters in Commerce, Calabasas, Hawthorne, Costa Mesa, La Habra and Laguna Woods will decide on initiatives establishing, expanding or laying the groundwork for legal local cannabis sectors.
None of the individual ballot measures would constitute a sea change in the cannabis industry. Taken together, however, they represent a push toward broadening the L.A.-area’s legal marijuana market.
These moves, spurred on in part by the Covid-19 pandemic, could have a subtle — but significant — impact on the local industry.
In Los Angeles County, Calabasas and Hawthorne currently prohibit marijuana businesses. The ballot measures in those cities would approve taxes on future cannabis companies — a key precursor to establishment of a legal industry.
Commerce residents will vote on six measures that would support the growth of cannabis businesses in the city.
In Orange County, Costa Mesa and La Habra will decide whether to establish and tax retail cannabis sectors in their cities for the first time, although La Habra’s measure would only permit delivery businesses.
Voters in Laguna Woods, which currently prohibits all commercial cannabis businesses, will cast their ballots on a nonbinding measure that asks if they support the future establishment of retail cannabis businesses in the city.
This patchwork of regulatory systems and often slow-moving, incremental change are persistent features of California’s legal cannabis market.
“When I look at the state of California, the number of cities online really represents the true addressable market,” said Sturges Karban, chief executive of cannabis logistics company ManifestSeven Holdings Corp. “There is a lot of fragmentation and a very small market size overall because few cities have allowed (commercial cannabis).” Unlike other commercial U.S. cannabis markets, such as Colorado or Washington, California’s model delegates most of the authority in cannabis decision-making to local governments.
Published: October 19, 2020