California legalized cannabis for good reasons — but it isn’t reaping significant rewards because its regulations aren’t as practical as they could be.


Despite its reputation as the center of the cannabis revolution, California has struggled to manage a successful legal recreational cannabis industry. Since the state first approved regulations in 2016 until now, the cannabis industry in California has stagnated — even though the number of regular cannabis users continues to increase.

Though California lawmakers place the blame for the relative failure of their legal industry on the persistent cannabis black market, the truth is that a black market for cannabis would not exist if the state’s regulations better catered to the needs of the public. Here are a few ways California might change its laws and regulations to kill the criminal cannabis industry and help legal businesses flourish:

Cannabis Taxes Are Too High

A compelling reason for states to pass recreational regulations is for a boost to tax revenues. Just as alcohol and nicotine products are typically subject to additional tolls like luxury taxes, sin taxes and excise taxes, recreational cannabis is subject to additional taxation. Most states take full advantage of the opportunity to increase tax revenues — but by all accounts, California takes it a bit too far.

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How California Can Improve Its Cannabis Regulations