The cannabis tourism industry in California is facing a significant hurdle – high taxation – which is affecting both businesses and consumers alike. This challenge was recently brought into the spotlight by California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who pointed out the detrimental impact of these taxes on the legal cannabis market.

Bonta noted that the barriers to entry for cannabis operations are exceptionally high, largely due to the state’s tax structure. The current regime includes a 15% excise tax on cannabis, which is just one component of the overall tax burden faced by businesses in this sector. This situation is not just a concern for cannabis businesses, but also for tourists who are drawn to California for its legal cannabis experiences.

The high taxes are driving a significant portion of the market underground, contributing to the growth of the illicit cannabis trade. This creates a dual market – legal and illegal – where consumers often opt for the latter due to lower prices. For tourists, this means that the legal, regulated, and arguably safer options are more expensive, potentially deterring them from engaging with the legal market.

Bonta’s call for the state to lower its cannabis-related taxes is a response to these challenges. Reducing taxes could level the playing field, making legal cannabis products more competitively priced and attractive to both locals and tourists. This change could enhance the appeal of cannabis tourism in California, encouraging more visitors to explore the legal cannabis market.

The high tax burden in California’s cannabis industry is a complex issue with far-reaching implications. It impacts not only the economic viability of cannabis businesses but also the overall experience of tourists looking to explore cannabis culture legally and safely. The state’s response to these challenges will be crucial in shaping the future of cannabis tourism in California.

What’s your perspective on this? Do you think lowering taxes would significantly boost cannabis tourism in California?