California cannabis businesses weathered 2020 better than many industries, but challenges persist

No one would say Year Three was the charm for California’s legal cannabis businesses, as many in the industry spent 2020 struggling with a global pandemic, high tax rates and illegal competitors that the state just can’t stamp out.

But marijuana businesses are faring better this year than some other sectors thanks to their “essential” designation, which allows retailers and others in the supply chain┬áto stay open during lockdowns. Some also believe the “essential” label is providing an image boost for an industry that’s long been stigmatized.

“I think it shows a real cultural shift in how cannabis is being viewed,” said Josh Drayton, spokesman for the Sacramento-based California Cannabis Industry Association trade group.

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