Green Gold: Californias New Cash Crop
California, already the nation’s largest producer of medical marijuana – a $7 billion industry – is poised to become the largest recreational marijuana market in the world. Anticipating strong recreational sales starting in 2018, California growers are buying up former prisons, vineyards and repair shops to stage their operations. Despite robust cash flow and consumer demand, marijuana businesses across the state still have few options for banking their cash. Most banks, wary of federal laws that criminalize marijuana-based commerce, largely decline to work with even the most established growers, distributors and dispensaries. Ripe conditions, critics say, for a black market that could rob the state of hundreds of millions of dollars in potential tax revenue.
Joe Mathews, California and Innovation Editor, Zócalo Public Square; Co-President, Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy
Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director, California Growers Association
Adam Bierman, Co-Founder and CEO, MedMen
Matthew Dababneh, Assemblymember, 45th District, State of California
Cat Packer, Executive Director, Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation, City of Los Angeles
Karan Wadhera, Managing Partner, Casa Verde Capital