Michelle Mabugat and Alexa Steinberg Share Insights on the Business of Cannabis

August 14, 2023Media Mention
Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing

Cannabis attorneys Michelle Mabugat and Alexa Steinberg were featured in Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing discussing the latest developments within the business of cannabis.

Q: Are cannabis sales still climbing?

Michelle Mabugat, Counsel, Greenberg Glusker LLP: No. Legal sales in California are on a declining trend, hitting their lowest quarterly point since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state is currently on track to hit $5 billion in sales this year, which would be a 7% drop from 2022. If projections hold true, it would be the second consecutive annual decline since recreational use was legalized in 2016, a first for this market. This decline coincides with a surge in illicit market sales and is attributed to high taxes, a lack of retail access across the state, and a years-long credit crisis with the industry. But even with this downturn, California’s cannabis sales numbers still comprise nearly 20% of the country’s $26 billion industry and even exceed the entire GDP of some small countries.

Q: How can a consumer determine which businesses are licensed?

Alexa Steinberg, Counsel, Greenberg Glusker LLP: Both the state and local jurisdictions have safeguards in place to ensure consumers are aware of which businesses are licensed and which are not. At the simplest of levels, licensees are required to display their state and local licenses. Los Angeles, for example, has taken this one step further with the implementation of their new emblem program aimed at discouraging the operation of unregulated cannabis retailers. Just as food operators are required to display a health rating, the program requires licensed cannabis retailers to display a unique emblem so that it is highly visible to the public from the exterior of the store.

*This panel was originally published in Los Angeles Times B2B Publishing and can be accessed here.