California begins legal recreational marijuana sales in 2018 and along with that, there are a host of questions about exactly how the system will work and the rules people need to follow. Wochit
A newÂ gold rush is sweeping California as the state prepares to launch legal marijuana sales Monday, bringing the powerful and largely underground economy finally into public view.Â
Marijuana has long been one of Californiaâs most important cash crops, albeit one manyÂ visitors would never see amidÂ the vineyards and avocado farms. Now,Â tens of thousands of entrepreneurs are rushing to carve out a slice of an about-to-be-legalÂ market that has grass-growing cannabis evangelistsÂ collidingÂ with out-of-state suits eager to make a now-legal buck.
And there's a lot to be made: The state's existing marijuana black market is worth $13.5 billion, according to cannabis financial analysis firm GreenWave Advisors, while the legal market could be worth $5.1 billion in 2018.
More: Marijuana's legalization fuels black market in other states
âYouâre taking an industry that was completely underground and making it the most regulated product of all time,â said Jessica Lilga, who runs a medical cannabis distribution service in Oakland, Calif., and hopes to expand into recreational pot. âItâs just insane.â
Legalization through voterÂ approval of Prop. 64, which created a system for legally growing and selling cannabis, also raises concernsÂ about whether kids will start using more marijuana thanks to increased visibilityÂ and whether the state is creating a new Big Tobacco industry that puts profits ahead of public health.