Failure to crack down on illegal pot shops undercuts legal marijuana sellers

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tate regulators are bending over backwards to help the cannabis industry get up and running in California. As the Los Angeles Times reported Monday, regulators are willing to provide another 90-day extension to cannabis companies, which already on Jan. 1 received a 120-day extension on paying required fees and complying with business regulations. This makes sense. Proposition 64, the 2016 measure which legalized recreational use of marijuana by adults in California, put the state into uncharted waters. A heavy regulatory hand may someday be appropriate, but that day has not yet arrived.

Yet what doesn’t make sense is that so many authorities don’t grasp that their laissez-faire attitude toward illegal dispensaries makes it far more difficult for legal dispensaries to stay in business. To obtain a regular annual license from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, marijuana shops may have to spend as much as $73,000. This is not a burden borne by the 13 unlicensed dispensaries that weedmaps.com says are operating in Spring Valley despite a county ban on such shops in unincorporated areas. Unsurprisingly, they appear to have much cheaper products than regulated shops.

Plainly, there needs to be coordination between local and state authorities that doesn’t yet exist. Making pot sales legal but accepting a status quo where illegal sellers have a huge advantage is daffy.

By: The San Diego Union

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