Special Report: Ramping up for California’s legal marijuana industry

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — By an over-whelming majority, voters in California decided to legalize marijuana.

By approving Prop 64, California now opens the doors to a new multi-billion business.

KUSI’s Sasha Foo got an inside look at a cannabis business in San Diego, where the owner and proprietor is growing more than a ton of marijuana every month.

It’s a modest looking warehouse in El Cajon, but inside, Lincoln Fish is growing marijuana plants.

Linc, as he’s usually called, runs one of only two legal marijuana cultivation facilities in San Diego County.

Now that voters have decided to legalize recreational marijuana, Linc said he’s prepared to see more growth operations like his.

But there are still plenty of hurdles. Marijuana growers have to obtain permits for land use and right now, no city in the county is issuing those permits.

Attorney Anthony Bettancourt has been looking at what happens after marijuana becomes a legal industry.

At least four different state agencies will be in charge of regulating all marijuana.

Rules will cover a wide swath of activities, including cultivation, testing, transportation and sales.

Prop 64 imposes a 15 percent state excise tax on retail sales of marijuana. Local governments have the discretion to add another tax to that. 

Linc showed how leaves from the plant are pressurized in a machine to produce oil. The process, more complicated than it may seem, just like the regulations that will soon be imposed on the marijuana industry, about to grow into a legal enterprise in California, generating millions of dollars in a new tax revenue.

Linc said he doesn’t mind the new regulations or new taxes.

Will we see a proliferation of pot shops and growing rooms popping up on every street? That prospect seems highly unlikely, at least not in the near term.

The state won’t begin to tax and issue licenses until January 1, 2018.

And local communities will be able to pass their own ordinances that ban these businesses outright. 

Categories: Local San Diego News