California has legalized recreational cannabis use, becoming the largest state in the United States to lift restrictions on cannabis use.
Adults aged over 21 can possess up to an ounce (28 grams) of cannabis and can grow up to six marijuana plants at home in California, starting on January 1, 2018.
Oppositions to the law said the recent overturn of the long-standing policy against cannabis use will lead to more driving under the influence of the drug and give way to young people to drug use.
However, business analysts have analyzed that the marijuana industry could be worth billions of dollars in the next few years.
About 14 months ago, in a poll that took place alongside the US presidential election, Californians had voted in favor of Proposition 64 legalizing cannabis use.
Afterward, a framework of taxes and regulations has been set up to govern sales of cannabis.
Critics concerned the red tape will discourage, retailers, growers and consumers from leaving the state’s black market as only a few dozen shops have so far been approved to open.
Two major cities in California, Los Angeles and San Francisco have authorized any recreational marijuana outlets to do business.
Arcview’s CEO Troy Deyton said the first few years are going to be a mess as cities agree their own regulations, making ways for supply and demand to be established.
Mr Deyton later predicted there would be crazy fluctuation in price over the first or two years.
Arcview, a company which analyzes the global cannabis market, also estimates the illegal cannabis market is currently worth an annual $5.1 billion USD and once it is legalized it could be worth $5.8 billion USD by 2021.
It also predicts the state will generate over $1 billion USD per year from legal buyers in the newly created market which will now have to pay state, sales and municipal taxes.
However, the government has also crafted a law prohibiting cannabis use in public places with 1,000 feet of a school or while driving.
California followed six US states including Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, who previously have legalized recreational cannabis use in the US.
Despite this, the federal US government still prohibits cannabis use in general and regards it as illegal, classifying it alongside heroin and cocaine as a proscribed substance.
More details to follow. Image 1 of cannabis plantation from Huffington Post.