SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF)— The International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco brought advocates and investors alike to the Hyatt Regency Hotel with the goal of legalizing recreational marijuana in California next year.
Marijuana growers, processors and sellers from around the world have gathered this holiday weekend and realize there are a lot of people who stand to make a lot of money if marijuana becomes legal for more than just medical use in the Golden State.
Organizer Alex Rogers pegs it a multibillion industry. “It’s the fastest-growing business in America right now,” he said.
Tiffany Wu, a Harvard grad and tax attorney, said her next goal is to take on more cannabis clients and help them navigate the confusing state and federal laws.
“It doesn’t seem fair at this time,” she said. “It feels good to be able to help.”
Lawmakers in both Washington and Colorado made recreational pot legal about one year ago — the windfall coming in lower than expected. But ask anyone at this conference and they’ll say California is next.
“The market is already here whether people know it or not,” Rogers said. “Whether it’s above ground or underground, so we better put it above ground and regulate it and take that money and toward a better society.”
Dean Becker, who hosts a weekly show in Texas on drugs in the United States, said there are a few reasons that California hasn’t been on the cutting edge of recreational legalization like Oregon and Washington.
“I think it’s been a lot of confusion in a lot of ways in what the law will or will not do. There’s also the fact that, sadly, many of those growing this don’t want to see the price lowered, which is very likely to occur once it’s legalized,” said Becker.
Conference-goers said in order to win over California’s voters, they’ll need a well-crafted ballot initiative that takes everyone in the business into account.