California cannabis chaos

In 2016 Californians voted to legalise the use of recreational cannabis.

California Proposition 64, the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative, was on the November 8, 2016, ballot in California as an initiated state statute. Supporters referred to the initiative as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. It was approved.

“yes” vote supported legalizing recreational marijuana for persons aged 21 years or older under state law and establishing certain sales and cultivation taxes.
“no” vote opposed this proposal to legalize recreational marijuana under state law and to establish certain sales and cultivation taxes.[1]

Effective dates:

  • November 9, 2016: Proposition 64 legalized using and growing marijuana for personal use.
  • January 1, 2018: Proposition 64 will allow for the sale and taxation of recreational marijuana.

So cannabis is now legal for recreational use in California, but it could be chaotic.

Stuff (Sacramento Bee): Making a hash of cannabis reform

California is far from ready, but the green rush is nonetheless upon us.

On New Year’s Day, commercial sales of recreational cannabis became legal for adults. No one knows exactly what will happen. There could be a mad dash to pot stores, not unlike the one to Walmart every Black Friday. Or, because medical marijuana has been legal in California for decades, people might take legalisation in stride.

But here’s what everyone should know: The rollout is going to be an absolute mess – a mess that will last longer than a day.

Last week, a few days before adults would be able to walk into a store and buy a drug that is still banned by the federal government, Sacramento’s pot czar Joe Devlin spent hours trying to understand the finer points of Proposition 64.

He wondered aloud, for example, how to enforce a new limit on how much pot a person can buy per day: “Does the dispensary have to create a customer account or do you just check ID? I don’t know how you prove you’re not exceeding the daily limit without creating a customer account.”

He also had unanswered questions about the newly required state permits for medical dispensaries. None had arrived yet. “If we don’t get an answer from the state, what does that mean? Shut them down?” he asked. Most dispensaries also had yet to meet the new labelling requirements for edibles already on their shelves. There were no stickers.

“What I hoped to see today were a bunch of people who are ready,” Devlin said. “What I see is a bunch of people who are getting ready.”

The binding referendum seems to have locked in a time frame that is difficult to work within.

Licensing of suppliers is fragmented and slow.

It’s enough to worry Lori Ajax, California’s top pot regulator. She told the Los Angeles Times she fears the state hasn’t “licensed enough people throughout the supply chain, and geographically across the state, so people can continue to do business.”

She knows that shortages and bottlenecks will only fuel the black market. That, in turn, will undermine the viability of the fledgling legal market.

Adverse effects are an issue.

There are also lingering public health questions. For the past few weeks, local and state officials have been rushing to release information to educate Californians about the risks of using pot. How much is too much? What should first-timers take? What happens if kids use it? But there isn’t enough research to effectively answer those questions, another consequence of rushing to legalise weed.

In the months to come, don’t be surprised if some pot delivery drivers and stores, with their wads of cash from customers, get robbed. Expect children to overdose on edibles left out by careless adults, and expect adults to overestimate their tolerance and get so high that they’ll end up having a panic attack or worse, scromiting, a syndrome in which regular weed users vomit uncontrollably.

In short, expect a mess.

Time will tell how much of a mess. And more time may (or may not) tell whether the adverse effects are less than or greater than prohibition and draconian laws.

New Zealand can learn from this as we head in this direction, hopefully with more care and enough time to do it properly.

 

7 Comments

  1. Kevin

     /  January 2, 2018

    “There are also lingering public health questions. For the past few weeks, local and state officials have been rushing to release information to educate Californians about the risks of using pot. How much is too much? What should first-timers take? What happens if kids use it? But there isn’t enough research to effectively answer those questions, another consequence of rushing to legalise weed.

    In the months to come, don’t be surprised if some pot delivery drivers and stores, with their wads of cash from customers, get robbed. Expect children to overdose on edibles left out by careless adults, and expect adults to overestimate their tolerance and get so high that they’ll end up having a panic attack or worse, scromiting, a syndrome in which regular weed users vomit uncontrollably.

    In short, expect a mess.”

    Complete and utter Prohibitionist rubbish and pathetic attempt at scaremongering. But then again Prohibitionists always lie (remember that).

    Cannabis is already legal for recreational use in least Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. The world has not ended and there has been no significant increase in misuse. In fact in some places where recreational cannabis has been legalised the rate of cannabis use amongst youth has decreased.

    I have to hand it to Prohibitionists. They have done a great job brainwashing the world.

  2. Zedd

     /  January 2, 2018

    Im sure there will be a few ‘hiccups’ & even a spike in use, but as in other states & countries that have gone the ‘decrim.’ or Legal route, they find the ‘novelty’ quickly wears off & use rates even drop off… unlike NZ where ‘marijuana’ use is at global highest rates per capita, mainly because many kiwis are so enamored with immature; the ‘illegal weed’ thing & being naughty.. breaking the law ?! :/

    I find that many ‘weedy folks’ are so caught up in the Black-market (buying/selling for big profit) that any thought of legalisation, goes against their grain (legal & TAXED) ???

  3. Griff

     /  January 2, 2018

    Over dose on pot?
    Nursy gives you a pat on the head and tells you to sleep it off .
    Allow the high to wear off is all that is required for successful treatment of cannabis overdose

    That some will get robbed in a legal market is true.
    I know peploe who have been robbed for cannabis or cash in NZ under our prohibition laws.. Taking the supply off the criminals running the black market will reduce the incidence of such crimes.
    Like when we legalized prostitution at lest if such incident happen in a legal market you have the law on your side and there is a chance that the perpetrators will be arrested and convicted for their crime .

    This story reads like ignorant fear mongering .

    • Kevin

       /  January 2, 2018

      F.U.D. Fear, uncertainty, doubt. Part of the Prohibitionist playbook.

  4. Zedd

     /  January 2, 2018

    They would have us believe Cannabis (aka ‘marijuana’) is something NEW ?!
    Its only been used for about 10,000 years or more :/ 😀

  5. Kitty Catkin

     /  January 2, 2018

    If the couriers have any sense, they won’t make themselves too obvious. Companies can take orders without cash, anyway.

    The children eating the hash-laced food are probably doing so now.

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  January 2, 2018

    Making a hash of….oh hahahahaha !