California’s Legal Cannabis Market: A Snapshot

Written by Neil Juneja, Founder & Managing Partner of Gleam Law, PLLC.

As of January 1, 2018, California is officially the largest legal cannabis market in the world. California has long been a leader in cannabis cultivation, innovation, and medical laws. In fact, California was the first state to legalize medical use of cannabis back in 1996. Now, it is poised to be the largest legal cannabis economy in the world.

With California being the most populous state in the country, it is projected to make more revenue from Adult Use cannabis than all other legal states in the country combined. According to New Frontier Data, a cannabis data and analytics company, California’s marijuana market will be worth more than $6.6 billion by 2025.


A Snapshot of the Legal Cannabis Market in California

These facts were compiled by the Lompoc Record’s writer, Len Wood.

  • Total cannabis production in California is estimated at 13.5 million pounds per year
  • Total cannabis consumption is estimated at 1.6 million to 2.5 million pounds per year
  • The entire statewide market could be supplied by just 200 medium-sized indoor grows, but the state anticipates 14,277 cultivation licenses will be issued
  • Cannabis production could rise to between 30 million and 40 million pounds per year
  • In the past, marijuana sold for around $1,500 to $2,000 a pound, but the price per pound has dropped to around $500; some officials and industry experts expect the price for cannabis will drop to around $50 per pound due to overproduction
  • The market will be made up of around 9% medical marijuana users, 65% recreational users and unofficial medicinal patients, and 26% will be supplied by the black market


How To Get Into The Legal Cannabis Industry in California

Successfully applying for and receiving a cannabis license in California for cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retailer, laboratory testing, or a microbusiness is a complex process. Medical marijuana businesses that were established prior to Adult Use will need to become compliant with the new laws. This will mean stricter background and financial checks on business owners and investors and strict state-wide seed-to-sale tracking.

The Bureau of Cannabis Control, the lead agency in developing regulations for medical and adult-use cannabis in California, is in charge of all applications and licensing in the state. You can view the BCC’s website for helpful information on cannabis licensing in the state.

If you need help applying for a license; making your cannabis business fully compliant with state laws; legally taking on investment into your established cannabis business; securing your intellectual property rights, trademarks (state and federal), and/or patents contact our California office to speak with one of our experienced cannabis business lawyers.