As we continue to navigate the transition from Proposition 215 to Proposition 64, more and more is revealed. This is not a quick process, nor was it intended to be. However, Prop. 64 left so many loopholes that closing those gaps is creating rifts in the cannabis industry.
The California Growers Association (CGA) is suing the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Within the new regulations, there is a plant canopy size cap at one acre per licensee, but what is misleading in Prop. 64 is that a singular large parcel can obtain an unlimited number of smaller licenses. This creates an advantage for large and financially-backed grows and puts the cottage growers at a huge disadvantage.
How Prop. 64’s Loopholes Affect Small and Medium Cultivators
There was the intention to take care of the small and medium-sized farmers by creating a cap to the acreage allotted per license. However, a large farm can now stack multiple licenses and grow in an unlimited canopy, which isn’t an option for smaller farms. This puts those small and medium-sized farmers at a devastating disadvantage.
Those loopholes are proving to be significant barriers to entry into the regulated marketplace for those small, local businesses. Companies that thrived under Prop. 215 are now being forced out of dispensaries because they can’t obtain a license. Prop. 64’s loopholes threaten the very people who fought tirelessly for legal cannabis. Many cultivators and business owners who want to continue in the cannabis industry are being priced out of the legal market, which forces them back to the black market.
Why Cottage Farms Are Essential
Cannabis is primarily grown by small farmers. Whereas other crops are grown by the acre or hundreds of acres, in cannabis, 2500 square feet in cultivation (1/20 of an acre) is still not licensable in most counties. The culture of cannabis is an artisanal, cottage-grow style cultivation. The current regulations do not support these craft farms and the industry that we know and love will be unrecognizable if legislators continue putting profits over people and corporations over medicine.
“The separation of medical and adult use products is going to be labor intensive and expensive for producers, with no added benefit. It puts my business in a unique position because we primarily make non-psychoactive products focused on health and wellness and would prefer to continue to support those patients who go through the effort of getting a medical card and can save the sales tax.”
– Fiddler’s Greens (Sonoma County)
Small business owner and entrepreneurs think globally and act locally. Sustainability for both the community and the planet are built-in morals when creating a small business. We support our local community by employing community members, buying our supplies within our area, and collaborating by all means possible. I don’t know about you, but these are elements of this industry we are not willing to compromise. Stay tuned in the following weeks for more on this topic as it pertains to Medicine Box and our beloved cannabis community!
Read part two of our exploration of the changing cannabis industry: The 4 Corners of the Cannabis Industry.