Over 2,000 new cannabis shops will open their doors in California

The state's tax revenue has been lower than expected, due to the ban on cannabis shops


Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

Bans on cannabis stores in California could soon be lifted after a group of lawmakers introduced Assembly Bill 1356, which is currently making its way through the legislature. Introduced by Assembly members Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-South Los Angeles), Assembly Bill 1356 is being steered by Democrats. It already passed its initial committee on April 23, when the bill passed with a 12–7 vote. Now, it awaits scheduled voting in the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.

If the bill is approved and the legislation enacted, cities in which voters supported California’s 2016 initiative (Proposition 64) to legalize recreational pot statewide must have either one legal weed retailer for every 10,000 residents or one cannabis store for every four liquor license-holding establishments, such as restaurants and bars.

631 cannabis stores are legally operating in California

Based on estimates released by California State officials, there are 631 cannabis retail stores currently operating in accordance with state law. An additional 2,200 stores will open their doors in “the Golden State,” should Assembly Bill 1356 pass.

So, what are the chances of Assembly Bill 1356 passing through the California State legislature? Well, considering the fact that two-thirds of California’s local governments have banned cannabis stores, it doesn’t seem like a significant majority of cities will be on board with the idea. While this is likely to be taken into account by lawmakers, so too will the prospective profit to be earned by expanding California’s footprint in the legal cannabis industry.

A total of 540 cities and counties constitute the State of California, where Proposition 64 gained the support of voters in 388 cities. With over 50 percent of cities and counties outlawing cannabis stores, the growth of California’s cannabis businesses is stifled.

By banning retail stores from selling regulated cannabis in cities whereby the majority of voters approved of statewide legalization, consumers are forced to seek out their stash from illicit sources; ultimately, this is contributing to the growth of California’s black market.

Local governments may bite back at lawmakers for introducing Assembly Bill 1356

According to the Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state’s tax revenue has been lower than expected, due to the ban on cannabis shops. For this reason, among many others, cannabis advocacy groups like Americans for Safe Access are backing California’s bill to permit cannabis retail shops.

Not everyone’s on-board with the idea, however. According to the League of California Cities, the bill undermines the purpose of Proposition 64. Local governments recently objected to a rule permitting home cannabis delivery services in cities that have banned shops. With the news of Assembly Bill 1356, more objections are likely to surface.

Higher crime rates, increased levels of cannabis consumption among teenagers and plummeting property prices are expected by leaders who are in opposition to the bill. However, it should be noted that in states that have permitted cannabis stores, crime rates and teen consumption have dropped, whereas property prices have actually climbed.