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Around the state, a nascent network of specialized distribution companies is springing up to connect these centers of licensed marijuana growers and processors to hundreds of retail outlets, providing something entirely new in the marijuana industry: A legitimate supply chain.
The widening state-by-state legalization of recreational marijuana across the U.S. is bringing growers, distributors and sellers of the drug out of the shadows to stitch together businesses under a unified supply chain as the industry scales up.
California’s market is by far the largest in the U.S. in both geography and in the number of users, experts say, even though recreational pot use became legal only this year. Lawmakers designed a regime in which state-licensed distributors, the middle link in the supply chain, take possession of the goods before selling them to retailers. That’s injected new capital into the business, from finance to cultivation and transportation, that operators say will help it to grow faster.
California distributors say that by developing reliable logistics to support this state’s cannabis market they’re creating a model that could work for distribution in other regions. If pot is legalized at the federal level, mass distribution could then be in position to overtake the illicit trade.
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