California’s Cannabis Industry Conundrum and the Road Ahead

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Despite continuously surpassing every other state with recreational cannabis in terms of total retail sales, California’s cannabis industry has faced continuous and far-reaching issues on multiple levels that have only spread even further. From declining sales that result in hundreds of millions less in total retail sales to a massive illicit market that the state ignores, problems abound. California has even seen a pattern of dispensaries and cultivation facilities across California being burglarized and robbed. Suffice it to say, the state’s industry has colossal problems, the magnitudes of which haven’t been seen by any neighboring state.

The issues don’t even include the many internal issues that the California industry is facing, such as unpaid debts and taxes equaling millions and a lackluster effort at social equity inclusion. In fact, issues regarding the illicit market are moving into other states and impacting their total sales as well. In just the first year of operation, the Unified Cannabis Enforcement Taskforce seized over $312 million in illicit cannabis in 2023, which amounts to more than the total cannabis sales of entire states combined. But as an aside, you can read my colleague, Griffen Thorne’s take on why those

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