Miss Mary Jane, the reefer, the devil’s lettuce or, as the legislation-wielding folk prefer it, cannabis – it’s legal. Now, in a puff of the law-maker’s smoke, the over-the-counter medical treatments, as well as the under-the-table recreational usage exist side by side. So, what is really changing?
Some fear that the recent legalization of recreational marijuana will increase the presence of smoke in the midst of a largely smoke-free, health-conscious city. While the fear is valid, retail shops carry a variety of popular edible and topical alternatives. Santa Barbara officially sanctioned three businesses in the area that sell these new products as well as the plant itself: Coastal Dispensary, Farmacy SB, and Golden State Greens.
The establishments provide a vast inventory of products ranging from cannabis-infused edibles, extracts and oils to infused beverages like tea, coffee and soda. They even sell ingestible capsules containing cannabis, for those who prefer their “medicinals” in pill form.
Cannabis contains two main elements (Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol, respectively known as CBD and THC) that introduce two very different effects to the consumer. CBD is known for its calming properties and is not responsible for psychotropic results. THC on the other hand, is guilty as charged. Both CBD and THC are naturally occurring elements in cannabis. The levels, and thus effects, of these elements depend on their origin: Indica plants, Sativa plants or a hybrid strain of the two.
Before storefront approval is granted, there are over 20 different categories of license types that must be processed through the cultivation-to-retail procedure. Once approved, California will enforce three separate taxes for the sale of cannabis and its products: $9.25/oz. weight tax, 15% excise tax and 7.25% sales tax. These taxes are estimated to bring in over $600 million per year in revenue for California.
Let’s be honest, the reefer’s been lit for decades. Lawmakers are choosing to defuse the smoke, rather than prune the weed, through a strategic compromise that will, in theory, improve the state’s economic health. And for those who fear it, the move may even reduce the potential exposure to secondhand high. So, what’s really changing? Well, your dealer’s not making as much as he used to, but you may see an increase on your tax refund…