State cannabis tax revenues have nearly doubled last quarter compared to the same quarter last year. While many industries have struggled during the pandemic, cannabis businesses—which were deemed essential and allowed to operate throughout the pandemic and stay-at-home orders—are thriving.
The industry has been gaining new customers at an impressive rate, local experts say. “Every day you have so many people who are first-time users,” said Adam Hijazi, president of the Long Beach Cannabis Association.
Still, Hijazi said the jump in tax revenues from $171 million in the third quarter of 2019 to $371 million in the same quarter this year, should be considered in context of the legalization timeline that was kicked off with the voters’ decision to legalize recreational cannabis sales in November 2017.
“As each year progresses, we have more legal shops that are open,” Hijazi said.
If anything, he said, the steady growth in tax revenue the state has seen over the years is “an indicator that the legal market is still growing and there’s still so much more potential.” Meanwhile, a large portion of the cannabis trade still happens in the illicit market, he said.
On Tuesday, the Long Beach Economic Development and Finance Committee will be discussing adding new license types, shared-use manufacturing and delivery-only retail in an effort to create more opportunities for the legal local market to thrive and create more equity in ownership.