Many business owners and entrepreneurs are excited about the oncoming legalization of marijuana in California 2018. California will be the 8th State to legalize recreational marijuana along with Nevada, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, Maine, Alaska and Washington. The piece of legislature that makes recreational marijuana a reality for Californians is known as Proposition 64, and was voted in on November 2016.
Fortunes will be made as the California pot industry is bigger than other states. Growth in California marijuana has been explosive and projected estimates are in the region of $7 billion. This is twice the marijuana revenue of Washington and Oregon combined, despite the fact that marijuana has been legal in both these states for years. Already there is are a plethora of businesses and operations in place for the long-awaited marijuana legalization. Business people from a number of different industries are coming together to make marijuana work, from wine growers to branding specialists to farmers. Many are adapting and changing and innovating and working together.
Big Marijuana Conventions
Last week LA held the Fourth Annual Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition. This was a huge networking events for business people eager to make connections in the marijuana industry. The convention was a massive success and was bustling with activity. It consisted of over 200 booths exhibiting practically everything you can imagine. The uses of cannabis are practically endless, given that it is one of the most versatile plants on the planet. It can be used for nearly anything. Some items included pop paper, THC concentrates, marijuana shampoo and many more innovative and exciting marijuana products.
One of the more appealing items on display is biodegradable plastics made from hemp. This could solve the millions of plastic bottles destroying the environment every day, primarily from water and fizzy drinks as well as milk cartons. One booth consisted of investor advice for those interested in investing in marijuana. Such advice is badly needed. Marijuana is a new industry and the regulatory framework surrounding the market is practically non-existent. Marijuana legalization is happening too fast for frameworks to be put in place. And the fact that marijuana is still an illegal plant at the Federal level means that investing can be tricky. But risk and reward go hand in hand. And investors may well be rewarded for taking risks with profit margins that are higher than any other industry.
All of the workshops were understandably optimistic about the growth of marijuana. But there is more risk that they are letting on. Parallels can be drawn with the cryptocurrency industry, which recently took a huge hit when China issued a regulatory ban on exchange trading some currencies were down 50% and most were down around 20-30% in total. The China of marijuana stocks could well be Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is stoutly against marijuana stating that it is a gateway to harder drugs and is associated with increased crime levels.
A Promising Workshop
Perhaps the most promising aspect of the whole convention is the practical approach to regulatory laws as well as cannabis awareness and certification. Standardization and regulation are fundamental to the growth and security of the marijuana industry. People need to be able to get quality top name brands so they know what they are getting. The result of decades of marijuana criminalization has meant that dealers can label their marijuana whatever they want and customers would not know the difference. This era is coming to an end, and if people want to get their favorite strain of OG Kush, White Widow or Blueberry, then it will be certified and regulated, meaning that it is of a sufficient quality with acceptable levels of toxins.
Max Montrose, President of Denver’s Trichome Institute, which offers cannabis certification and education, led his “Interpening: The Art of the Cannabis Sommelier” workshop. Montrose explained to attentive business minds, millennials and retirees alike how he developed his discriminating palate in Colorado, the first state in the US to legalize medicinal marijuana, in 2012. “I was a kid on a cocktail of pharmaceuticals. At 13, I started noticing how different types of cannabis strains affected me,” said the self-described weed nerd and creator of the Island Diesel Skunk sativa strain.
Montrose then adeptly pointed out a huge gap in the classification of marijuana types, one which could potentially create a giant headache in a national weed rollout. “I’ve bought six different types of ‘blue dream’ at four different dispensaries. Many experts don’t know much about the actual plants, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said, advocating strongly for marijuana DNA testing – to ensure customers know the strength of what they are buying.
The Importance of Certification
Indeed, correct labelling of cannabis strains is the most important element of the success of the industry and the biggest problem at present. Many vendors do not know what they are getting and do not test, but accept what they are getting from the suppliers at face value. And the customers will not know the difference either. Presently there is little point in buying a “high qualityOG Kush” strain of marijuana. If it has not been tested how are you to know if it is “high quality OG Kush” as opposed to 6 months old Sour Candy? The only way to know this is through regulation and certification. Until this happens the marijuana industry will remain in its infancy. But overall the symposium was a testimony to the strength of an industry that is set to grow.