As it is described by the Washington Secretary of State’s office, I-502 shall “license and regulate marijuana production, distribution, and possession for persons over 21; remove state-law criminal and civil penalties for activities that it authorizes; tax marijuana sales; and earmark marijuana-related revenues.”
“All retail products under I-502, including infused edibles, must have laboratory-submitted passing test results and data in the traceability system before they can be unlocked for shipment to retailers,” Vo relates.
“It’s important to note that, whether a person or organization is for or against marijuana legalization, all can agree that proper tracking provides an important means of accountability and compliance for this emerging industry,” Vo adds.
Fastest Growing Industry in America
In 2014, according to ArcView Group’s executive summary, the legal cannabis industry expanded 74 percent to reach $2.7 billion in combined retail and wholesale sales, and thus firmly established itself as “the fastest growing industry in America.”
Five states now boast markets greater than $100 million, the executive summary continues, while one additional state posted 2014 sales above the $50 million mark. Legal adult use sales began for the first time in Colorado and Washington in 2014, adding $370 million in new sales dollars.
Colorado became the new epicenter of the industry as the first active adult use market, and recorded $315 million in 2014 adult use sales, for $805 million total combined retail (adult and medical) and wholesale sales, the ArcView Group’s research elaborates. Washington also successfully opened its adult use market mid-2014 and added $65 million in adult use sales. Both states launched these markets with relatively few problems, which has led to a growing public acceptance of adult use legalization as a safe workable model with economic benefits for the states that choose regulation over continued criminalization, the ArcView Group reports.
On the downside, Cannabis’s Schedule 1 narcotic status presents a major roadblock for those in the industry who seek financing. “Banks insured by the FDIC will not typically lend openly to cannabis companies for fear of repercussion from the government,” Carella explains. “And because of 26 U.S.C. 280E tax regulations, cannabis entrepreneurs are not allowed to write off many of the usual operational expenses incurred in more traditional businesses.”
Despite the financial, legal, and regulatory challenges associated with cannabis, Carella jumps at any opportunity to extol her high (no pun intended) level of satisfaction with a career in the edibles industry.
“For me, edibles production is a long term commitment,” she emphasizes. “I’m active on the board of the California Cannabis Industry Association because I want to be involved and have a say in our industry.”
“It’s really fantastic to help people with their health problems,” Carella says, “and to get them to eat, rather than smoke, cannabis, which is healthier. We get lots of testimonials, which is very rewarding. The positive feedback keeps me and my team going.”