The American Veteran In California’s Cannabis Industry

“California Business & Professions Code §16102.  

Every soldier, sailor or marine of the United States who has received an honorable discharge or a release from active duty under honorable conditions from such service may hawk, peddle and vend any goods, wares or merchandise owned by him, except spirituous, malt, vinous or other intoxicating liquor, without payment of any license, tax or fee whatsoever, whether municipal, county or State, and the board of supervisors shall issue to such soldier, sailor or marine, without cost, a license therefor.
(Amended by Stats. 1941, Ch. 646.) “   By Joshua D. Jenkins 

Veterans in California are afforded equity treatment and this law describes how that equity is to be given. This statute has been on the books in some form since 1901, with the last amendment in 1941.

Loyal Penguin, Inc. initially found this legislation while seeking to better understand how to advance the American Veteran in the California Cannabis Industry. The initial understanding of this law is that a Veteran-owned entity that is a sales, not service, related business is not charged the fees and permits typically associated with a business startup, unless the Veteran-owned entity is in dealing with alcohol-related wares.


Screenshot 2018-08-21 12.49.39It is unfortunate that this equity has not been afforded as promised by law. Requests for further information from the Bureau of Cannabis Control have fallen to the deaf ears of the attorneys who fail to respond to multiple requests from multiple Veteran-owned businesses.

Why would such a barrier to entry be continued by the BCC? Do they truly believe that Veterans do not have what it takes to participate in this new industry? Or do they fail to understand basic economics, given that the revenue generated in the form of taxes will more than make up for the offset fees that Veterans are exempted from? Do they not understand the value that the Veteran Community could add to the industry?

The Veteran Community is the key to fully bringing the Cannabis Industry to the legal forefront. But why? Why is it that this community will drive Cannabis legalization to be a new-normal in modern-day America? It is not one thing specifically, but a myriad of much needed skillsets missing in today’s Cannabis space.

Veterans are individuals that are widely misunderstood , often viewed as a person trying to find his or her way back into society-at-large. Training and environmental conditions during service have altered typical mannerisms, leading many “civilians” to misidentify feelings of contempt, anger, or withdrawal. This leads to many situations where the communities, or individuals within the “Veteran” community and the “civilian” community, clash. The stereotype is of the angry, violent, and dangerous individual who is trying to stand for what they believe in; which to the untrained eye appears to be aggressive.

Civilians, as stereotyped by many veterans, are looked at as weak and undisciplined. This further empowers the Veteran to not conform to society; because weakness is frowned upon in the military. How then, do we merge these communities? We accept each other where we are at, and both communities work towards reintegration.

So, what benefit does reintegration afford? What gains can we expect to see as a society through affording Veterans a chance to truly be adopted by society? That can be described in one word: Innovation.

In the 1950s and 1960s the economic landscape was transformed through the reintegration of Veterans into their communities. Businesses worked together to create the well-recognized Golden Age of America and put teams of brave Americans on the moon. That innovation was led by businesses that were led and operated by the Veterans of World War-II and the Korean War. The disciplined mission-centric nature of these business leaders allowed for the economic advancement of our society, the likes of which we have not seen in fifty-years. Reintegrating Veterans in our workforce and creating opportunities for Veterans to succeed will create the same transformative effect on our country.

This is where the Cannabis Industry is posed to benefit from these men and women. The unique background and perspective of Veterans gives them the ability to bring the Cannabis community to a higher, more efficient and effective level and lends insight on government processes. Leaders like Jack Herer demonstrated how the Veteran community can properly use their knowledge of government systems and a service-oriented mindset to advance the freedoms associated with Cannabis. Today’s Veterans, many of whom are looking for meaningful employment where their contributions and their background are valued, are able to take this purpose as their next mission.

Veterans approach business situations as they would during times of conflict: with a “why can’t we” rather than “why we can’t” attitude. This mindset is why we, as a country, have the best military in the world and it is an attitude that is needed by every successful business. This drive and determination will assist in paving the way to the national legalization of Cannabis and is yet another reason why the Veteran community will benefit the Cannabis movement.

The inclusion of Veterans starts, however, by recognizing the reasons why equity is given to Veterans. While many civilians spent their 20s and 30s building professional networks, Veterans spent these years serving our country, many times overseas; Now, upon returning home and attempting to reintegrate, they are three to twenty years behind their civilian peers, as a result of their national service. The transition would be greatly improved by giving them the chance to come to the table in an industry associated with a high cost barrier-to-entry. This is exactly why this law exists: so Veterans are afforded opportunities to both catch up and rapidly begin utilizing their acquired skills that were gained during their service to all of us.

If you want to get involved begin by contacting Loyal Penguin, Inc. at or the Bureau of Cannabis Control at and inquire as to why Veterans are not being afforded the equity that is already provided by law.