California’s Adult-Use Cannabis Market Experiences Growing Pains

On January 1, California opened the largest legal adult-use cannabis market in the world. The marketplace, however, has experienced a resoundingly unimpressive launch, with sales numbers hovering at about 50 percent of pre-legalization predictions.

At the heart of the market’s tumultuous start, there lies a mess of issues — including over taxation, burdensome regulations, local licensing delays, and even hiccups with altruistically intended equity programs — but the bottom line is that consumers, entrepreneurs, and cannabis industry workers are all experiencing negative side effects in the new marketplace, including product shortages, employee layoffs, and more.

Matthew Nathaniel, General Manager for The Heavy Grass, highlighted issues with banking and a lack of laboratory testing standards. He argued that regulators “missed the opportunity” to learn from other states’ transition process from medical to adult-use cannabis.

“Ultimately, the problem is policy makers who either don’t understand business, cannabis culture, or both,” he told Ganjapreneur. “It’s really falling on business leaders to guide this industry into the future in a responsible manner.”

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