California Cannabis Market Needs More Retailers

The marijuana industry has become a big part of the California business market – but, according to a new poll, it could be bigger.

The US Berkeley Institute of Government Studies recently conducted a study for the Los Angeles Times, gauging public interest in further opportunities to purchase legalized marijuana. As it turns out, a vast majority (68%) of respondents to the survey considered its sale to be “a good thing”.

But that’s not all – 63% of Californians say they would support dispensaries selling cannabis products in their home communities. When you compare this to the 57% of voters that were in favor of Proposition 64, which legalized growing, selling and possession of marijuana for recreational use, it’s clear that the last three years have gone well in terms of public perception.

Why Aren’t There More Cannabis Retailers?

Given the lucrative nature of a new market like this, it’s curious that there aren’t more dispensaries in operation. It would be easy to assume that, if anything, a poll like the one conducted by UC Berkeley would have found Californians to be oversaturated with opportunities to buy marijuana.

At the time of Proposition 64’s approval, state officials estimated there would be up to 6,000 licensed cannabis retailers. In truth, there’s only around 600 currently in operation.

Why is there only 10% of the cannabis retailers there could be?

Because municipalities have the power to ban recreational marijuana businesses. With that power, about 75% of California businesses have made it impossible for retailers to open up in their areas.

Power To The People

This poll illuminates a key disparity between public opinion and the local governments’ action – if a majority of respondents are in favor of marijuana retailers, then why have 75% of municipalities outlawed their operation within their towns?

Assemblyman Phil Ting posed this very question to the Los Angeles Times, referencing a bill he had introduced which would require marijuana retailers to be permitted to operate in cities where a majority of voters supported Proposition 64.

The bill would sanction one licensed cannabis retailer for every six restaurants and bars with liquor licenses or every 15,000 residents, whichever would have resulted in fewer dispensaries in a community. This would only have allowed for approximately 1,200 more cannabis retailers, but that’s better than the 600 that currently exist. Regardless, Ting’s bill has been mothballed for the time being.

The Downside Of Growth

Given the stats exposed by UC Berkeley’s study, it can be easy to assume that growth in the California cannabis market is a matter of when not if. Ting’s bill can still get passed, eventually, which will open up close to 400 incorporated cities throughout the state.

That’s good news, right?

Well, for the most part. With the rapid growth of the cannabis industry comes a key downside for businesses like yours – how do you set yourself apart from your competitors?

Even with the municipal bans, new cannabis businesses are flooding the market – in fact, cannabis industry employment is expected to rise by 34% this year alone. With so many competitors to deal with, you need to smart about how you manage your cannabis business so that you can gain every advantage available.

Given how crucial IT is to your inventory management, compliance-based surveillance systems, and otherwise, in your business, you need to make sure you have the right IT support.

You don’t just deserve better than generic IT services – you need them. You shouldn’t accept anything less than a team that knows about the cannabis industry. What your pain points are, what your primary line of business applications are, what the future of your industry is, etc. Make sure they know their stuff before you agree to work with them.

In the end, a major factor in optimizing your cannabis business is about recognizing how crucial IT is to your success. Especially if you’re first to market in a new city thanks to Ting’s bill, you need to be confident you won’t suffer any critical missteps because of your IT.

Like this article? Check out the following blogs to learn more:

Are You Complying With The BCC Requirements For Video Surveillance?

The Journey To Legalize Recreational Cannabis In California

Cannabis & Computers: A Critical Relationship

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