California isn’t exactly an old marijuana market — not like Colorado or Washington, which are approaching their 10-year anniversaries for legalizing the good green herb. Yet, despite having adult-use marijuana for just over two years, the Golden State, most of the larger, more populous markets within California are incredibly over-saturated, with far too many businesses striving to serve the same number of weed users. If you launch your new weed venture in Los Angeles or San Francisco, you will face steep competition — and you might even fail due to thriving black markets in these areas.
Fortunately, there are still some California weed markets worth pursuing. Here’s the present position of marijuana markets across the state and some advice on where you should invest.
Somewhat of a rarity for the Bay Area, San Bruno opted out of marijuana legalization two years ago — but it is already having a change of heart. The city has a $8.2 million deficit made much worse by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, and city officials believe that permitting adult-use marijuana and imposing a tax could bring in more than $300,000 for the fiscal year. Because San Bruno has a left-leaning constituency, it is likely that its residents are eager for legal dispensaries, and investment here could pay off fast.
Like San Bruno, Montclair is a rather liberal town relative to the rest of the country. Nestled in southwest San Bernardino County, the town is home to one of the Claremont colleges — and until this year it was the location of a thriving mall, which serviced nearby towns Pomona and Ontario. Coronavirus has led to a “temporary” closure of the mall, resulting in a budget crunch for the city and the need for city officials to turn to legal weed. Promising proposals indicate that marijuana taxes could supply more than $2 million to Montclair, meaning there is significant room for growth and profit.
Unlike the first two towns on this list, Yucaipa is not dominated by young, progressive or liberal constituents. In fact, Yucaipa, which sits just east of San Bernardino, is a decidedly republican-led jurisdiction — which remains remarkably open to the legalization of marijuana. These changes in Yucaipa reflect similar policy changes to conservatives around the country. Perhaps the result of the pandemic, Yucaipa has seen a dramatic decline in its sales tax revenues, and fearing a loss of revenue as Yucaipa residents travel to procure legal weed, city leaders are considering a reversal of their previous stance on cannabis. Developing a marijuana business in Yucaipa now could be beneficial in a few months, when legalization passes and profits begin to flow.
Sonoma is a well-known tourist destination in California thanks to its world-class terroir. One of several towns in California’s wine country, Sonoma is quite wealthy and does not necessarily need the additional tax revenue and tourist draw of legal recreational weed — but that doesn’t mean the city isn’t considering it. In August, the City Council heard several commercial business proposals and provided conditional certificates of operation for certain retailers, guaranteeing these cannabis purveyors plenty of business. You might apply should the city host another event to take advantage of this lucrative and exclusive market.
Located deep in SoCal, Lemon Grove is a bustling suburb of San Diego that has remained staunchly against marijuana legalization — until now. Not only is the town changing its tune, permitting recreational dispensaries to operate within its borders, but city officials are also enthusiastically advertising its pot shops, encouraging residents of nearby suburbs to contribute tax dollars to Lemon Grove. Like San Bruno, Lemon Grove expects over $300,000 in revenues, meaning there is plenty of profit for investors to snatch up by investing in businesses in this municipality.
Not just in California but around the U.S., states and small towns once anti-weed have witnessed its fiscal benefits have moved to legalize marijuana. This year, we are expected to see a flurry of new legalization efforts find success, opening the door for outstanding opportunities for weed entrepreneurship. By paying attention to trends and taking advantage of untapped markets, you can make the most of this marijuana mayhem with a budding bud business of your own.
Copyright © 2020 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.