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Editorial: California must correct course to create a healthy cannabis market

www.sfchronicle.com
Date:
Tuesday, Jan 1, 2019

California’s first year of legal cannabis offered lots of promise — and failed to deliver.

Part of the reason why California’s legal cannabis market has hit the skids has to do with outsize expectations.

Proposition 64’s political backers were looking to score points with the public. Business interests were eager to exploit a massive new market. Government officials expected a deep new revenue source for their budgets.

Nearly all of these promises have fallen short.

California voters didn’t make a mistake. Legalizing cannabis was the right choice for public opinion and public health, and it’s allowed the state to make important steps toward equity in its justice system.

But creating a successful legal cannabis industry will require the public to temper its expectations. It will also require the state to make course corrections in 2019.

Slash the red tape

California’s eagerness for new taxes and regulation is driving growers and retailers out of the legal market: The cost of legalization was so high in 2018, they couldn’t afford to stay in business.