On Tuesday afternoon, March 7, at the California Cannabis Business Expo in San Diego, Lawrence Horwitz and Justin Beck together presented “What license will you need in 2018?”
The significance of the question is clear: in January 2018 two distinct California state laws will come into effect, the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, a reworking of the by now somewhat-familiar system for the regulation of cannabis use for medicinal purposes, and the Adult Use Marijuana Act, the mandating act for a new adult-recreational industry, representing the will of the 57% of the voters who said yes to Proposition 64 in November.
So the question is: what hoops is an entrepreneur going to have to jump through to avail himself of this double opportunity?
Beck, the CEO of Irvine-based Cultivation Technologies Inc., talked about how one can deal with localities as an entrepreneur, largely on the basis of his and CTI’s experiences with Coachella, in Riverside County. Horwitz, a founding partner of Horwitz + Armstrong, elaborated Beck’s points and offered his own perspective as an experienced attorney.
Not New York or Massachusetts
In particular, Horwitz made the point that the situation in California as of January will be very different from that coming into existence in certain northeastern states.
“In New York and Massachusetts,” he said, “there’s a limited supply of licenses to be given, and those are statewide licenses.” Though the localities will have input, the structure of the system is top down. But that isn’t how it will work in California. California will follow the model established in Colorado. An entrepreneur will have to start with the locality.
Beck made the point that one doesn’t simply go to a city council meeting and ask for help establishing a cultivation or manufacturing operation in its city. One starts at the beginning. Learn who the decision makers are, what their records and their concerns are. Talk to them, one on one. Get to know them and make sure that they know you.
“There are well-financed companies that are getting ready for our great state,” and for this coming January, Horwitz said. The cities are becoming increasingly comfortable with the well-financed players.