How to Cure California's Emerging Cannabis Crisis

Part Four of a Four-part Series

The California Growers Association (CGA) believes that the California cannabis market is on the verge of a crisis. In a recently released report, the organization, which represents more than 1,100 small and independent cannabis businesses, details a litany of issues facing the California market; including the sobering statistic that less than 1% of the state’s cannabis cultivators are licensed.

So where do we go from here? How does California help stem the tide of this emerging crisis? In the fourth and final part of our four-part series, Green Marker Report will take you through the 36-page CGA report and break down some of the solutions it puts forward to fix California’s cannabis market.

If you missed the previous part, you can click here to view Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.

Of the many suggestions put forward in the report, the first and foremost is to eliminate emergency regulations passed by the state Department of Food and Agriculture which allows the unlimited stacking of 1-acre cannabis cultivation licenses. Opponents of the emergency regulation say that the rule violates the spirit and the letter of Proposition 64, which places a five year moratorium on large-scale cultivation, by allowing well-funded cannabis operations to essentially create mega-grows using a combination of small-scale cultivation licenses.

In addition to eliminating loopholes that favor large cannabis businesses, the CGA also suggests a total of 51 policy changes on the state and local; including the following

  • Allow smaller cannabis businesses to adjust to new regulation by creating tiered timelines for compliance.
  • Establish a temporary sales license enabling cannabis cultivators to sell directly to consumer through special event like Farmers’ Markets.
  • Remove premise requirements for cannabis transportation businesses.
  • Allow transportation businesses to reside at the same premises of another cannabis business
  • Reduce testing costs by allowing the compositing of multiple cannabis strains into a single testing batch and by reducing the number of batches required for testing.
  • Allow microbusiness license holders to operate at multiple premises for various purposes
  • Create a revolving loan fund for small cannabis businesses
  • Lower the excise tax rate
  • Streamline the cannabis tax collection process
  • Make compassionate use donations tax exempt.
  • Replace the cottage outdoor cultivation grow limit of 25 plants with a cultivation space limitation of 2,500 square feet.

Overall, the policy suggestions are aimed at reducing barriers for small, cottage, and specialty cannabis businesses; which the CGA characterizes as a “practical, economic, and moral imperative.” Noting that list of suggested policy changes was nowhere near comprehensive, the CGA hopes that it will serve as starting point for a wider discussion of cannabis regulation and encourages all concerned parties wishing to provide feedback to contact policy@cagrowers.org.

William Sumner

William Sumner

William Sumner is a freelance writer specializing in the legal cannabis industry. You can follow William on Twitter @W_Sumner or on Medium.


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