SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Communities across California are still working out how to regulate legal marijuana, but one major group is worried it will be pushed out of the market its worked so hard to get access to.
In 2016, more than 750,000 people in the state of California were registered medical marijuana users, making up nearly 2 percent of the state’s population.
So what will change for the medical industry since the legalization of marijuana? Prices.
Leslie Solomon turned to cannabis to treat chronic bone pain. But the retired nurse says her concern over the rising price of medical marijuana runs deeper.
“It’s very scary and very upsetting too because the cost shifting burden is being put on people on the people who can least afford it,” said Solomon.
Kimberly Cargile says the legalization of recreational marijuana will soon take pot prices to an all-time high. Cargile, the director at A Therapeutic Alternative in Sacramento actually lobbied for regulations that are coming with a price tag:
- new licensing, labeling, and packaging fees.
- and a new 15 percent tax on marijuana
“I am concerned for everyone who works with me in this industry,” she said.
Nate Bradley heads California’s Cannabis Association. Advocates are working with the state’s new “Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation” to tweak regulations, so they don’t work against them.
“If the price goes too high people will not go to the legal market,” said Bradley.
That’s a point even opponents agree with. Anti-legalization groups, which spent millions on the fight in California, say legalization will create a bigger black market here.
The largest of those groups, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, recently wrote Governor Brown a letter stating, legalization “takes control away from law enforcement.”
Regulators will soon finalize new rules on the industry. state lawmakers can return to the table in a few years to change California’s new taxes on marijuana.
Either way, Leslie plans to leave retirement for the workforce, to help pay for higher- priced pot.
Public comment period
The Bureau of Marijuana Regulation is holding its next public meeting Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Department of Consumer Affairs Hearing Room, 1625 North Market Blvd, Sacramento, CA 95834.