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Five Years Since Prop 64, California's Cannabis Industry Is in Disarray

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The California Compassionate Care Network (CCCN) marijuana dispensary's grow operation is one of the stops on the cannabis tour organized by L.A.-based Green Tours, January 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)

It’s been five years since California legalized marijuana under Proposition 64 and opened the doors to a new legal market. Yet today, the majority of cannabis consumed here is not legal. A key reason: it’s difficult and costly to start and maintain a state-licensed cannabis business. Meanwhile, a robust system for setting up shop as part of the illicit market has been in place long before voters approved Prop 64. Last week cannabis farmers, business owners and advocates gathered at the State Capitol to demand reform to the burdensome tax system that’s frustrating businesses and growers of all sizes but making small businesses and farms especially vulnerable to collapse. In outlining next year’s state budget proposal this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he “supports cannabis tax reform and plans to work with the Legislature to make modifications to California’s cannabis tax policy to help stabilize the market.” We’ll take stock of California’s cannabis industry and proposed reforms.


Amanda Chicago Lewis, journalist covering cannabis

Nicole Elliott, director, California Department of Cannabis Control

Amber Senter, co-founder and executive director, Supernova Women; founder and CEO, Makr House

Blaire AuClair, small-scale cannabis grower, Radicle Herbs


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