If voters legalize marijuana in California Nov. 8, the cannabis industry can expect sales to increase to $6.5 billion by 2020, a new cannabis industry marketing report predicts.
Cannabis investors can expect 18.5 percent sales growth a year in
California if Proposition 64 passes, according to “The State of Legal
Marijuana Markets,” published by New Frontier Data and ArcView Group.
The 2016 report says: “Legalization of cannabis is one of the greatest
business opportunities of our time and it’s still early enough to see
In 2015, medical marijuana sales in California were $2.7 billion, the study noted.
The California Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the
state’s bishops, has officially taken “no position” on the ballot
initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.
However, the conference notes the Catechism of the Catholic Church
teaches the use of drugs except on strictly therapeutic grounds is a
“grave offense,” and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Health Care
Ministry in 2001 stated that the use of cannabis is “incompatible with
Meanwhile, a just-released Colorado study of the effects of
legalization found marijuana-related traffic fatalities increased 62
percent from 71 to 115 people from 2013 to 2015, youth use increased 20
percent and adult use increased 60 percent based on questions about
Marijuana-related hospitalizations nearly doubled from 6,305 in 2011
to 11,439 in 2014, two years after the Rocky Mountain state legalized
recreational use, according to the September report by Rocky Mountain
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which tracks the impact of
marijuana legalization in Colorado.
Proposition 64 “is written for the fat cats who are going to get
richer,” said Kevin Sabet, a former Obama administration drug policy
adviser and co-founder with former Democratic Congressman Patrick
Kennedy of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, a national anti-legalization
The “No on 64” forces have received less than a quarter-million
dollars in donations compared to more than $11 million for Proposition
64, according to filings with the secretary of state. Most of the
funding for “No on 64” has come from Sabet’s group.
Nevada, Arizona, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Florida and Maine also will vote on ballot measures to legalize marijuana Nov. 8.
Four states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana:
Colorado and Washington, in 2012, Oregon, Alaska and the District of
Columbia, in 2014. Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have
legalized medical marijuana.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana - in
1996 - and it reduced possession of the drug to an infraction with a
maximum $100 fine in 2010. An average of the results of five polls of
California voters, taken from February through August, found 62.5
percent would vote for passage, while 34.8 percent would oppose it,
according to ballotpedia.org.
Nevertheless, proponents and opponents say Proposition 64 would not
only legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older, it would change the
playing field by imposing taxes and allowing commercial cultivation,
processing, distribution, and sales of marijuana for recreational
purposes under a state regulatory and licensing structure, the Bureau of
It could raise as much as $1 billion a year in tax revenues, and
reduce law enforcement and incarceration costs by as much as $100
million, according to the state legislative analysis.
Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein opposes Proposition 64. Opponents
include the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, California
Police Chiefs Association, California District Attorneys Association as
well as the California Hospital Association, and the Small Farmers
The measure “allows marijuana growing near schools and parks because
it forbids local governments from banning indoor residential growing of
marijuana if the crop is limited to six plants,” the Catholic
conference’s summary of opponents’ arguments states.
In addition, black market and drug cartel activity will likely
increase as organized crime has skyrocketed in Colorado and the measure
“places no limit on the number of marijuana shops that can be placed in a
single neighborhood with poor, underprivileged neighborhoods likely the
ones to be most affected,” the conference summary stated.
Proponents include 2018 gubernatorial candidate Lt. Gov. Gavin
Newsom, who created the state blue ribbon panel whose recommendations
comprise most of the initiative’s language, the California Democratic
Party and the California NAACP.
Current drug policies are “a war on the poor, on folks of color and
it’s got to end,” Newsom told a National Cannabis Industry Association
conference in Oakland, the Los Angeles Times reported June 21.
Proposition 64 would generate tax revenue, decrease law enforcement
costs and provide an environment where marijuana is safe, controlled and
taxed, according to the ballot arguments.