Tag Archives: AB 243

CA Medical Cannabis Farmers: Should I get a License?


The game has changed, at least on paper… After years of uncertainty, California has passed much anticipated medical cannabis oversight. California’s government will finally attempt to regulate its cannabis industry. The new laws impact many people in many ways…

For government officials, the newly passed Medical Marijuana Regulation Safety Act (MMRSA) reduces harms, woo’s voters, and makes headlines. For consumers, risks are minimized, options are made available, yet, not much is new. For advocates, abusive punitive justice is reduced, environmental impacts can be mitigated, and safe access has been bolstered. For businessmen and businesswomen, a new market has emerged; money is to be made and business-as-usual. For police, boundaries are defined, new challenges have emerged, and a page has been turned.

But what do these new laws mean to the people who have provided cannabis over the last 5, 10, 15, 20 years? It’s a hot topic within the cannabis community. Everyone is trying to make sense of it all. Is this real? Is it time? Should I get a license? What are the risks? What are the incentives? What do I need to do to comply? Where do I start?

Essentially, for those who make up Northern Cali’s cannabis industry (namely farmers from the Emerald Triangle), this boils down to one question: what does MMRSA mean to me? The following will attempt to inform those asking this question. First, we’ll overview the laws, then look at the different types of licenses, determine what it takes to become compliant, and look at deadlines and incentives.

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The Underground Review

IMG_0047It’s a busy time of year in Northern California. It’s harvest season and many have hauled tents and sleeping bags up dirt roads to remote gardens – ‘the hill’ as its referred – to harvest, cure, and trim. Our little towns have filled with wanna-be trimmers from the mid-west, Europe, and elsewhere – ‘trimmigrants’ as their known. The European presence is strong this year as many think they’ll be plucked from roadside camps to trim for $200 a pound (good luck, however you say that in French). Here at HU we are on skeleton crew, but there is no-rest-for-the-weary, the approach of legal cannabis is on the horizon and things are heating up.

Cali Governor – Moonbeam – Brown signed new medical cannabis oversight into law – providing an avenue for the medical cannabis growers to legitimize themselves. ReformCA filed their recreational cannabis ballot measure with some last minute drama on behalf of the Drug Policy Alliance. And in Oregon, legal sales grossed $11 million in their 1st week, leaving us wondering whether Cali can gross over $100 million in our 1st week of legal sales. Also of note, Bay Area tech big wigs have a target on legal cannabis profits and it’s still untold which initiative these players will throw their money behind. All in all, this thing is starting to move fast and things are getting serious.

For growers, the decision to become compliant, start jumping through the hoops, and get in line for a license, is a difficult one to make. Underground networks are well-entrenched and going legit holds its risks. Some growers will decide a do-nothing-approach is best for business. After witnessing the Feds buzz over our heads, threaten our local government, and subvert Mendo’s zip tie program (subpoenaing records and raiding Matt Cohen), trust is an issue. However, as cannabis normalizes nationally, Humboldt is becoming obsolete – a relic from the past, like Appalachia and whiskey.

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Truth and Change in Northern Cali as Cannabis Goes Mainstream

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In life, there is only one guarantee: change (i.e. nothing is guaranteed). Not to be confused with Obama’s ambiguous change campaign, the change we are speaking of is the social kind. Transcendentalists beware universal truth is subject to Cartesian doubt. Truth and meaning can only be understood through differences – relativity – meaning and truth are always subject to change depending on ones viewpoint. As the French postmodern social-theorist Jean Baudrillard would argue, through power and technology, we are seduced into believing we can understand the minutiae of human life, an understanding of universal reality and values (as used by politicians and police to make and enforce law). 

However, this “universal reality” is nothing more than simulations from the past – an agreed upon reality that became false the second it became “universally understood.” In other words: because of our constant movement through time and space – social location – and because all meaning exists in a web of semantic distinctness, truth is an ever moving target. The moment “truth” becomes isolated from social, spatial, and temporal movement it ceases to be true. Depending on time, space, and an individuals’ standpoint, truth constantly changes, and therefore universality, Truth, reality, society, and value are impossible to reconcile.

Deep shizz… but to get to the point… if truth (reality, society, etc) is always changing then our values are always changing. Going deeper… let us think about the values we have all come to universally accept as true. Foregone values from the past, the same values that policy and law were created under and still enforced. Under what pretence (social located truths) were these laws establish and created (i.e. cannabis law)? There are many layers of complexity associated with creating policy – and policy inevitably favors some groups over others. When it comes to the history of cannabis policy, this statement couldn’t be more relevant. Throughout the history of cannabis prohibition there are many examples of old ideas (simulations from the past) that influence the policy and law of the present.

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