California’s Cannabis Growers Stay In The Shadows

By Lisa M. Krieger
The Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) In California, Cannabis is primarily grown by small farmers on 2,500 square feet in cultivation, or one-twentieth of an acre. According to a new report, these small growers face the toughest hurdles in complying with regulations.

The Mercury News

More than a month after California’s regulation of marijuana began, only a small number of the tens of thousands of cannabis businesses have joined the system, threatening the state’s shift to a regulated market and the promise of a billion-dollar tax windfall.

Less than 1 percent of the state’s 68,120 cannabis growers have been licensed, according to a report published Monday by the California Growers Association, the state’s largest association of cannabis businesses.

Growers can’t meet the cost of complying with regulations, or are prohibited from growing because of local land-use policies, the report says.

“Without broad participation, legalization will look a lot like prohibition,” with many illicit growers, the report concludes. “The current system will not achieve its goals without fundamental and structural changes that allow small and independent businesses to enter into compliance.”

The state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control was closed Monday and officials could not be reached for comment.

Cannabis is primarily grown by small farmers on 2,500 square feet in cultivation, or one-twentieth of an acre. These small growers face the toughest hurdles in complying with regulations, according to the report.

Monterey County, for example, is issuing licenses to high-tech greenhouse growers, mostly owned by well-funded outsiders, on the edge of urban Salinas, but is rebuffing small traditional farmers on parcels in the more remote reaches of the county such as Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

As of Feb. 7, merely 534 of the state’s growers, or 0.78 percent, are licensed, according to the new report.

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