After years in the shadows, medical marijuana in California is aspiring to crack the commercial mainstream, says the Wall Street Journal. Sellers don’t fret about raids any more. They’ve stopped stressing over where to hide their stash or how to move it unseen. Now their concerns involve the state Board of Equalization, which collects sales tax and requires a retailer ID number. Or city planners, who insist that staircases comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
State voters said in 1996 that Californians had a right to use marijuana for any illness. Supplying “med pot” remained risky. The ballot measure didn’t specify who could sell it or how. The state provided few guidelines, leaving local governments to impose a patchwork of restrictions. Above all, because pot possession remained illegal under U.S. law, sellers had to worry about federal raids. In February, the Justice Department said federal agents no longer would target med-pot dealers who comply with state law. Since then, vendors who had kept low profiles have begun to expand; entrepreneurs who had avoided cannabis have begun to invest. Some are using traditional business practices like political lobbying and supply-chain consolidation.