California is just weeks away from legalizing recreational marijuana sales and we want to know what the cannabis business landscape will look like going forward.
What makes the situation in California tricky is that medical marijuana has already been legal here since 1996, so many pot businesses (known in the industry as “legacy” businesses) have already been operating here, both legally and illegally, for about two decades. Now recreational cannabis is being decriminalized and a new legal and regulatory framework is coming into place. For some smaller businesses, navigating the regulations and applying for the necessary licensing will be a costly endeavor. How will these legacy businesses fare as new regulations come into place and as new players come into the market.
Speaking of which, legalization means that there will be new, big players, including management and investment firms, entering the fore with a corporate approach. It also means a different, more mainstream kind of pot business in California. Think pot shops with large windows and easy-to-browse strains.
There will also be medicinal dispensaries transitioning to the recreational market. And some, like LA’s “pot czar” Cat Packer, want to make sure that communities of color, which have been disproportionately affected by the criminalization of pot, will be able to establish businesses and reap the benefits of legalization.
How will these competing players negotiate and navigate the regulations and policies in place? How do those policies affect which kinds of businesses are successful? What will the cannabis business landscape look like post-legalization – one year from now? Ten years from now?
Steve DeAngelo, founder of Harborside Farms and executive director of Harborside, one of the largest marijuana dispensaries in the U.S.; he’s the CEO is FLRish Inc., a vertically integrated cannabis company; he is also the president of the ArcView Group, a cannabis investment company
Adrian Sedlin, CEO of Canndescent, cultivator of high-end cannabis
Adam Bierman, co-founder and CEO of MedMen, a cannabis management and investment firm based in Los Angeles
Melahat Rafiei, she runs the Santa Ana Cannabis Association, a trade group of all the permitted cannabis businesses in Santa Ana