WEED FEED / John Ross Ferrara / Monday, Nov. 20, 2017 @ 10:41 a.m.

Weed Feed: California Issues Pot Regulations, Scraps 1-Acre Limit Proposed to Protect Small-Scale Growers From Big Corporations

A trio of state regulatory agencies released a long-awaited set of rules on Thursday that will govern California’s recreational cannabis industry next year.

But it’s what California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, Department of Food and Agriculture and Department of Public Health left out of the 276 pages of bureaucratic jargon that’s making headlines.

The one-acre-per-license cap included in the CDFA’s environmental impact report released on Nov. 12, was missing from the final regulations released Thursday. The cap would have limited growers to one acre of cannabis per license until 2023, to — in theory — protect mom-and-pop growers from being run out of business by deep-pocket corporations.

Executive Director of the California Growers Association Hezekiah Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle last week, that the unrestricted-acreage limit favors big business.

“This decision is likely to push most of the existing growers back into the black market and create tension between the unregulated and regulated markets,” Allen told the Chronicle. “There will be an abundant supply of dirt-cheap cannabis in the state and there is a real possibility that this marketplace could go through a bubble burst collapse.”

The Department of Food and Agriculture’s Director of Public Affairs Steve Lyle told the Times-Standard last week that decision to cut the one-acre cap was carefully thought out.

“The entire regulatory package was being evaluated right up until the time it was released,” Lyle told the Times-Standard. “After careful consideration, including input from stakeholders, the cap was left out.”

The emergency regulations, devised after Governor Jerry Brown signed the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act in June, will allow the state to issue licenses to growers, sellers and distributors on Jan. 1.

These regulations will almost certainly change as California’s cannabis industry adapts to the open market.


The Weed Feed is a weekly column written by John Ross Ferrara.

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