Tulare Sees a Pot Boom

Parts of Tulare County are looking at a windfall thanks to the newly legal marijuana trade.

Two new cannabis dispensaries will soon in open in Woodlake. Michael Dunaway, who owns one of them, compares the coming bonanza to that which followed the end of prohibition.

A team from BusinessStudent.com put together a study looking at the future of the cannabis industry.

The study examined the risks and benefits the industry could offer to the communities and business that choose to follow Woodlake and others.

Opportunities include:

• State tax revenue combined expected to total $2.3 billion by 2020. • 97 percent of recreational stores and 94 percent of medical stores make a profit or break even. • Women executives in the industry is 27 percent; 4 percent higher than the national average. • Denver boasts twice as many cannabis dispensaries as it does Starbucks.

Risks include:

• In 2017, only 368 of 12,000 financial institutions in the U.S. served cannabis businesses. • On Jan. 4, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era memos that assured cannabis businesses they would not be subject to federal prosecution as long as they followed their state’s laws.

As for those thinking about getting into the marijuana business, "the best thing young entrepreneurs need to do is read the state and local regulations," Dunaway said. "Tons of people, this goes for city and state officials, are just simply misinformed about what the laws say you can and can't do."

One thing to keep in mind: marijuana sales are currently prohibited in unincorporated Tulare. Board members have a year to decide whether or not to reconsider.

Read more at the Visalia Times Delta.