Many Californians are excited for the November 8th ballot that could see recreational cannabis officially legal in the state. Unfortunately, many insiders are either undecided or firmly against Proposition 64 because of the fear of corporate entities taking over the market. And anyone involved in the medical business already has concerns about tax increases that could see patients unable to afford their medicine. With ballot day upon us, the results could leave the cannabis community heavily divided on their beliefs.
Expensive and corporate cannabis?
Most people agree that taxing recreational cannabis is a great way for the state to make extra money, similarly to alcohol and tobacco.
But if medical cannabis patients prefer a local and family fun dispensary to receive their medicine at a good price, what will happen after recreational legalization?
Californian dispensary operator Lanette Davies is predicting a not so friendly change to the industry.
Because of the double taxation and the permit fees, you are not going to have affordable medication. The people who are going to suffer are those who are disabled, who are on low incomes. They are not going to be able to get life-saving medicine – Lanette Davies
Proposition 64 has been filled with so much controversy, that even the California Growers Association cannot make a recommendation for the upcoming vote. A survey conducted within the group revealed that 31% were for legalization, 31% against, and 38% were undecided.
The argument for price increases in the cannabis community
A spokesperson for Prop 64 claims that the experience gained from states that have already legalized recreational cannabis will be a sort of carbon copy for California if the proposition passes.
While we respect the need for access by medical marijuana patients, the experience of other states has overwhelmingly demonstrated the need to tax medical and non-medical marijuana at roughly the same rate to eliminate the incentive for people who are not legitimate medical marijuana patients to remain in the medical marijuana system following decriminalization
Any suggestion that patients will somehow be priced out of access under Prop. 64 is simply wrong, especially when every economist agrees that marijuana prices will decrease when the market is fully legal and regulated. – Jason Kinney, P64 spokesperson.
Kinney also claims that if prop 64 passes, small-scale farmers should be able to thrive in the market.
Proposition 64 unwaveringly protects small farmers who want to play by the rules and work and thrive in a legal industry, and the notion that they are under any greater competitive risk under Proposition 64 than they are under the current medical system is patently false.
So, it seems like the current dispensaries owners are quite concerned about a change to the markets.
Whether that concern is justified or it is simply a fear of the unknown, the next couple of months for the Californian cannabis industry will go down in history if prop 64 passes.