CALIFORNIA DOWNGRADES EXPECTATIONS FOR CANNABIS REVENUE
The coronavirus pandemic initially led to a spike in cannabis sales. But that spike soon evaporated as consumers lost work, supply chains suffered, and tourism declined.
The impacts are now being reflected in the latest cannabis revenue projections from the governor.
“Newsom projected in January that the state’s cannabis excise tax would bring in $479 million this year and $590 million in the fiscal year starting July 1, but his revised budget now forecasts just $443 million this year and a decline to $435 million next year,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
The outlook could improve considerably, but the governor believes the cannabis market is affected by some unique factors. These include “an economically fragile consumer base, a persistent illicit market and the continuing challenge the industry faces in accessing traditional banking liquidity solutions,” said Nicole Elliott, senior cannabis advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom.
CA AUTHORITIES REMOVE CANNABIS LICENSEES FROM PUBLIC DATABASE TO PREVENT LOOTING
California authorities are limiting or completely removing information about cannabis businesses contained in public databases amid a spate of looting incidents connected to nationwide protests.
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have both removed the licensing databases from their websites. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has stopped displaying some sensitive information such as business addresses.
The decisions followed a May 31 letter from the California Cannabis Industry Association, which read in part:
“While we are unified as an industry, a state, and a nation in overcoming social injustices through peaceful civil unrest, CCIA has learned that dozens of cannabis businesses across the state have been subjected to vandalism, looting and even violence over the past few days. Some of the attacks appear to be well- coordinated break-ins taking advantage of the civil protests and unrest that are occurring in many cities across the country.”
With additional demonstrations anticipated this evening and possibly throughout the week, we respectfully request that the BCC make every effort to safeguard licensees from additional exposure to individuals targeting cannabis businesses. Such efforts include the prompt removal of the physical addresses of these licensees from the website.
CANNABIS REGULATORS WANT MONEY FOR A NEW POLICING FORCE
The Bureau of Cannabis Control is requesting funding for an 87-member police force devoted entirely to marijuana enforcement, the Sacramento Bee reports. The budget request comes as California’s legal market struggles to compete with a glut of illicit cannabis operations. The black market generated $8.3 billion in sales last year, compared to $3.1 billion for licensed operators.
“Not only does this put the public in danger but it circumvents the control points set by regulations to ensure a safe product is available to the public, all while preventing access to youth under 18,” said George Tiongson, president of the California Association of Criminal Investigators, the union that represents BCC employees.