Californians Seek Pot of Gold in MJ Legalization
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Californians Seek Pot of Gold in MJ Legalization
Posted by CN Staff on July 03, 2016 at 06:35:53 PT
By Sharon Bernstein
Source: Reuters
Sacramento, CA -- There is no guarantee California will vote to legalize recreational marijuana in November, but political operative and father of four Daniel Conway has already staked his future on it. Conway left his job as chief of staff to Sacramento's celebrity mayor, former Phoenix Suns NBA basketball star Kevin Johnson, to help start the marijuana investment company Truth Enterprises.He is one of hundreds in the most populous U.S. state already pushing ahead with plans to enter a market experts say will be worth $4 billion by 2020.
"I'm someone of an age and of a demographic that sees the legalization and normalization of marijuana as inevitable," said Conway, 35. "This was a chance not just to build companies but to build an industry."With a population of nearly 40 million people, and a thriving medical marijuana trade legalized 20 years ago, California already has the United States' largest legal marijuana market. Legalization of recreational pot would generate an estimated $1 billion in additional taxes per year.If voters in November approve a measure to legalize and tax marijuana that qualified last Tuesday for the ballot, California would be the fifth U.S. state - and by far the largest - to allow marijuana for recreational use, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia.A similar ballot initiative failed in California in 2010, but recent polls show strong support for legalization. The latest effort is backed by mainstream leaders including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who helped negotiate the regulations and taxes it would impose.Eight other states, including Nevada and Maine, also have recreational or medical marijuana proposals headed for their 2016 ballots. California's sheer size as the world's 6th largest economy means a decision by its voters to legalize marijuana could accelerate the trend elsewhere."I don't believe there will be any precedent in the United States that can compare to it except for maybe the Gold Rush," said Leslie Bocskor, whose Nevada-based private equity firm, Electrum Partners, advises and invests in marijuana-related businesses.The lure of wealth in an uncharted industry is so great that thousands of people are jostling for position, said Bocskor.Since January, 115 new California companies have joined the National Cannabis Industry Association, bringing total membership in the state to 330, said Deputy Director Taylor West.New companies include cultivators, dispensaries, laboratories, law partnerships, accountants, software developers, insurers and more, she said.Their challenge is to set up an infrastructure for a business that is not yet legal. Conway and his business partner, General Hydroponics CEO Ross Haley, for example, recently purchased farmland in Northern California that they hope to use to grow marijuana but would not say where before the measure is passed.Newport Beach-based Terra Tech is trying to prepare for recreational sales while building a legal business within the state's medical marijuana marketplace, which has annual sales of $2.7 billion.The company spent more than $800,000 designing and remodeling its Oakland dispensary to look more like a high-end lounge than a drab medical clinic, said CEO Derek Peterson. It also developed colorful packaging for its marijuana instead of dispensing it in prescription bottles.Despite such optimism, passage of the California measure is not certain. It is opposed by many of the same law enforcement and health care groups who helped defeat the 2010 initiative.But this time backers have the deep pockets of former Facebook president Sean Parker, support from Newsom - a Democrat expected to run for governor in 2018 - and a switch in attitude among voters who saw legalization come on line in other states.The measure would allow adults age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, cultivate up to six plants and sets rules for commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale. It includes rules aimed at keeping cannabis products from children, preventing impaired driving and requiring licenses for sellers.Newsom said he is backing it as a way to responsibly manage legalization, which he views as inevitable but necessary to handle carefully."As a guy with four kids, who doesn't like the drug, doesn't like the smell, doesn't want my kids to think it's normalized, this is my number one concern," Newsom said. Reporting by Sharon Bernstein; Editing by Ben Klayman and Andrew HaySource: Reuters (Wire)Author:  Sharon BernsteinPublished: July 3, 2016Copyright: 2016 Thomson ReutersCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #7 posted by Sam Adams on July 05, 2016 at 09:04:24 PT
It's OK Gavin, we don't like your smell either.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 04, 2016 at 05:18:30 PT
Happy 4th of July
I hope everyone has a nice day.
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Comment #5 posted by Had Enough on July 04, 2016 at 00:47:05 PT
Happy Independence Day...
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on July 03, 2016 at 18:57:20 PT
lets all get normal
I am glad California is moving ahead with this, moving toward cannabis normalization. People will get so used to it being normal; it won’t even be an issue any more. The whole West Coast from Alaska down to the Mexican border, not to mention all of Canada, will be normal. Come on the rest of you other states, get normal. Years from now people will wonder why the people in the olden days ever made it illegal in the first place.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on July 03, 2016 at 11:33:48 PT
I would vote no
read the full text! Vote no and stick with what's left of Prop. 215.
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Comment #2 posted by HempWorld on July 03, 2016 at 08:04:30 PT
Interesting quote by Newsom at the end!
This quote is from the same guy who helped draft the language and put it on the ballot? That guy?"doesn't want my kids to think it's normalized, this is my number one concern," Newsom said."We don't need to know anymore. This means that this initiative Newsom helped draft and put on the ballot for all legal Californians to vote on is not meant to "normalize" marijuana.Ok, Newsom, if you have 4 kids and I have 2, do you want your kids to pass out on too much alcohol and possibly die from respiratory arrest?Have you (ever) talked to emergency ambulance drivers and asked then what the No. 1 problem was in their line of work? I have, besides being a 1st aid instructor, we all know, especially in the medical field and among emergency medical and rescue personnel that alcohol is the main culprit.I would think that 'normalizing' marijuana would be a good thing in light of this backdrop, don't you?Mr. Newsom, have you pulled any stats on the annual death rate in the USA on alcohol? (88,000 per year) or marijuana ( 0 per year) I did not think so.So, in short, especially when you are a parent, I do not see how you can not favor marijuana 'normalization.'Have a happy and safe 4th of July all, and I hope we get a better ballot initiative to pass so we have an alternative to the one Newsom put together, I don't trust that one.Beware, snake in the grass...
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Comment #1 posted by Vincent on July 03, 2016 at 08:01:01 PT:
Why are these so-called "Liberal" politicians afraid to admit that they smoke herb, or even that they are in favor of legalization in a joyful way? Gavin Newsome is a case in point. Why must he say that legalization is "inevitable", and that he "doesn't like the drug, doesn't like the smell, doesn't want (his) kids to think it's normalized"? Be natural, I say. Admit that you smoke it, and that you DO think that it should be "normalized"!It would cost Newsome N-O-T-H-I-N-G. The people who voted for Newsome and Jerry Brown already know that those two are liberated folks. Those voters are already Pro-Marijuana legalization, they don't need that "kid's gloves", go-slow approach.If Gavin actually believes that he can still get people from, say, "Operation Rescue" (an extreme anti-abortion group) to believe that he is one of them, and that they should vote for him lover the Republican candidate, he is DREAMING! No "conservative" will cast a vote for him...or Jerry Brown...or Barbara Boxer...or ANY Democrat. We pot-smoking "liberals" WILL support them. They need to wake up!
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