In what could be one of the most convincing financial arguments for the legalization of recreational marijuana yet, the state of Utah has announced that cannabis cultivators will face a licensing fee from between $75,000 to $100,000.
“The program has to be self-sufficient and pay for itself,” said Andrew Rigby, who is program manager for the state’s marijuana industry. Utah’s Department of Agriculture and Food, the cannabis industry’s regulatory body, has estimated that legalizing medical marijuana will cost the state over $563,000 in 2020. All the same, at the current fee rates, applications and licensing has been forecasted to bring in $1.1 million.
Regardless of the math, such high fees will certainly present a challenge to small marijuana businesses without a lot of capital with which to open up shop, and put the ball squarely in the court of larger or more monied firms.
“It could be a barrier for a few people,” Rigby allowed to Utah publication The Spectrum. In addition to the licensing fee, cannabis entrepreneurs will also be responsible for an application fee between $5,000 and $10,000.
Utah has seen its share of cannabis political turmoil since voters passed Proposition 2, which authorized medical marijuana. After the