California voters approved marijuana legalization in 2016, and by the largest margin of any state that legalized via citizen initiative. That distinction is fitting since California was the first to legalize cannabis for medical use (1996) and has been a national leader in cannabis policy and industry ever since.
The population in California is larger than all of the other legal cannabis states combined. It is estimated that over half of the entire legal cannabis industry in the United States is located in California, which isn’t surprising considering that California is the sixth largest economy on the planet.
Regulated adult-use cannabis sales began in California earlier this month, and the state is currently reviewing applications for more licenses. The last statistic that I read put current licenses issued at roughly 745. How many there will be when the dust settles is anyone’s guess, but it will definitely be a lot. Competition in California is going to be fierce.
That is why the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco later this week is so timely. California is at the beginning of a very significant transition period. It reminds me a lot of how Oregon was in 2015 when temporary licenses were being issued and legal adult-use sales began.
A lot of details will still be smoothed out in California, but the adult-use train has left the station and it’s never going backward. Now is the time for cannabis entrepreneurs to be learning as much as they can, networking with the right people, and positioning themselves to be as successful as possible in California’s cannabis industry.
Now is also the time for cannabis advocates to dig in their heels because the fight is not over. Sometimes people make the false assumption that the fight to legalize cannabis ends after a successful vote on Election Day, but that is simply not the case. Local government bans, shifting rules, public hearings – California cannabis advocates need to be on alert at all times and band together with other advocates to make sure legalization is implemented in California the right way.
There’s no better place in California to network with leading members of the industry and advocacy movement than at the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco February 1-2. On February 1 there will be a VIP reception featuring DJ Muggs from Cypress Hill, followed by the full day event on February 2 as well as a conference after party.
The event is the longest currently running cannabis industry event in California and is going to feature top speakers like Lori Ajax from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control and many, many more. Anyone who has attended an ICBC conference will tell you that it’s the experience of a lifetime. No other event combines industry, advocacy, and entertainment in the way that ICBC does. Get your tickets now before they go up in price!