CA state senator leads charge against large-scale marijuana grows

In an effort to protect smaller-scale cannabis growers that are worried about being forced out of the regulated market by commercial cultivators that will be producing at scale, California state Sen. Scott Wiener has vowed to push regulators to amend industry rules that were updated last week.

“By not limiting the amount of land that can be cultivated by one operation, we are basically inviting mega industrial-scale operations into the state,” Wiener told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“It will squeeze out the small farmers that have been at the forefront of the industry for many, many years.”

Wiener told the Chronicle he hopes the rules will be changed by the legislature next year.

However, it appears the scale of cannabis production could turn into a political football, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom – who is now running for governor of California – telling the Chronicle that, unlike Wiener, he’s not opposed to large-scale grows.

The regulations and legalization overall, Newsom said, will need “constant re-evaluation,” as it’s a “process unfolding over many years,” the Chronicle reported.

“I’m watching closely to ensure that the rules are being applied with tough anti-monopoly standards that create favorable market conditions for small legal businesses,” he added.

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5 comments on “CA state senator leads charge against large-scale marijuana grows
  1. Rick Fague on

    I don’t think a rule change will matter much, the bigger fish will always eat the smaller fish, it’s just the way of the world. Bigger growers will grow more and sell more so they’ll have more money more quickly, then they’ll compress prices to try to starve the smaller growers into selling.

    I think if I were a small grower and that started happening to me, I’d either try to create a niche market product that was a money maker, like Charlotte’s Web, or I’d buy a retail license and do that instead.

    I’ve seen some of that happening here in Washington. It’s just how capitalism works these days.

  2. Hastings RH on

    So much for Prop 64’s 5 year moratorium on large scale grows.. Cali’s rec is a mess -look for another 10 years of being tied up in courts.. Medical is pretty good but I’m sure that’ll get screwed up in next five years.. If lawmakers were smart they’d deregulate and make it easy to pay taxes but their not so expect black market to thrive and investors to lose confidence and tons of money..

  3. Jared Penman on

    It won’t matter in the long run. I’ve seen what happened here in Colorado, first with the casino industry, and then with the marijuana industry. Efficiencies will always win out. I was the proverbial “little guy” and I’ve had to continue to grow my business to compete with ever decreasing margins. How do you expect a mom and pop operation with a 5,000 sq ft grow to compete with a 500,000 sq ft grow when the prices are at $99/oz and lower? Especially when you take IRS rule 280E into account? It may take 5 years, but the bigger business’ will win out. If you can’t beat em’, join em. 🙂

  4. Pat on

    Response to Rick F. :

    I think you’re missing the Ca. point. The legislature makes the law. The special interests ( pre-existing oligarch’s, etc. ) tell the legislature what to do. The legislature mostly obeys as they’re likely going to get something back from the deal. The rest of the 99.9% are left out of the deal making. Even though that 99.9% was clamoring the loudest to get their voice heard. It’s no longer one man one vote. Even though it’s still what we’re taught in school. The legislature could have easily made the licensing of cottage grows ( less than 2500sqft ) as a priority instead of the other way around. Smaller grows usu have a lot less regulatory hurdles to overcome. Smaller grows means more people get to participate and make a living w/their own business. The supply produced would be the same. The costs might be more for the smaller growers; but there would be more employed, controlling their own destinies. There would be more competition, more variety, and most importantly, more democracy around this issue. The legislature could have very easily avoided the big fish eats little fish scenario. However, it’s not a big fish eating little fish scenario as you described. It’s a big fish not even allowing the little fish to even get a start to begin with ( not even a chance to escape from being eaten ) because of all the barriers to entry that the legislature in concert with the special interests created. These were all anti-competitive ( and arguably, very discriminatory ) measures put into place to kill 99% of the competition. Even though some of that competition has been around doing what they’ve done for generations long before some of these money bags came on the scene. If this was the best Ca. was going to be able to do; a lottery system should have been the default choice, no matter who you are and how long you’ve been in the business. People don’t “own” the walnut or almond business. As no one owns the cannabis business. But, this is exactly the track that Ca. is taking with cannabis. Apparently only a very few are going to own cannabis. It’s going to fail miserably. After 21 yrs of 215/420, Ca. is on its way to prohibiting cannabis all over again. The 99% are seeing right through it. How many of then do you think are going to stop doing what they’ve been doing ( and honing their skills/building relationships along the way, etc ) since 215/420??

  5. Richardo on

    Only small farms with a true niche and super high clean product will make it in the long run…..dem dayz of making all that green are over! Monsanto is just around the corner with whacked weed at $80 oz!

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