Ripple effects of marijuana legalization in California

Photo by James Ulvog.

I have seen two amusing ripple effects of soon-to-be-legal recreational use of marijuana in California.

The first impact is visible in hotels. I am sure you have seen the disclosures at hotels that if you smoke in a no smoking room you will be hit with a large cleaning fee charged to your credit card.

I recently stayed at a hotel which had the typical comment of a $250 smoke cleaning fee on the check-in form, which I had to initial.

In the room, there is a sign in the bathroom, which you can see above. Just in case you weren’t aware that smoking marijuana constitutes smoking, the sign reminds you that if you smoke either tobacco or marijuana there will be a $250 cleaning fee.

Just in case you hadn’t made the connection when you checked in, the sign is a reminder.

(For those not already following this blog, I am paying attention to the emerging legal-marijuana market in order to see what level of disruption is caused by heavy-handed regulation of a new industry.)

Title insurance

The other amusing ripple effect is related to a property title insurance document I read recently. Amongst the long list of disclaimers and legalese discussion was one particular paragraph of note.

The comment said something to the effect that since there is a conflict between federal and state law regarding marijuana, no title insurance will be issued on any property for which there is any indication of any usage of marijuana. I don’t know how broadly that applies, but it obviously would stop any title insurance for a business that was used or is going to be used in raising, processing, or selling marijuana products. I don’t know whether it would apply to a property where a homeowner is raising marijuana for personal use.

The ironic impact is the federal-state dichotomy might result in a situation where a property sale cannot be completed because no title insurance can be obtained.

In other news:

7/10/17 – Fox News – Colorado tries to fight homeless problem that may have been triggered by pot law – The number of homeless people living on the streets in Denver has surged recently. Official stats say that in 2016 the homeless population decreased by 3% across the country but increased 13% in Colorado.

The new Denver official in charge of reducing the number of homeless says it is because the economy is improving faster than the amount of housing stock. He says the number of new workers in construction and service industries can’t afford housing so they are living on the street.

Others link the surge in homelessness to people moving to Colorado for the legal marijuana. Anecdotal reports suggest some sort of link.

Stayed tuned for future reports.

9/10/17 – Ars Technica – Startup buzz kill: California bans drone delivery services of legalized pot – The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (yes, there really is such a thing) is rapidly working on rules to deal with recreational use of marijuana starting January 1, 2018.

One of the new rules is marijuana may not be delivered by any unmanned vehicle. Biggest impact is that drones may not be used to deliver pot. This will shut down three specific startups.

Other specifics in one particular rule is that only an enclosed vehicle may be used. The goodies cannot be visible to the public. Vehicles may only be left unattended if they have an active alarm system. Finally, any delivery vehicles must have a GPS device allowing the dispensary to identify the specific location of the vehicle.

Article says the Bureau expects to issue 11,500 retail licenses in 2018.

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