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.
It’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.
Up on the North Coast, we take cannabis seriously. So when our northern neighbors – Oregon – gross $11 million in their 1st week of legal cannabis sales, it gets us thinking. The North Coast – consisting of the Emerald Triangle (Mendo, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties) – produces a large chunk of California’s cannabis, and as legalization looms, our community contemplates boom or doom. So we crunched the numbers and the results aren’t gloomy at all.
Based on population, California is about 10 times larger than Oregon, and based on anecdotal evidence, Cali must have similar demand for cannabis (if not greater). Therefore, if we use these numbers, California would gross $110 million in its first week of legal cannabis sales.
Delving deeper, utilizing the taxation framework provided by Reform CA’s newly filed cannabis legalization ballot measure, California would net $30 million in tax revenue.
This might be a rough estimation but one cannot deny that legal cannabis will be big business in California.
Email us if you want our math…
The Underground Gaze posts the top photos, articles, art, poetry, etc submitted by members. All entries are submitted anonymously.
This week: The Underground Gaze has has a special edition…
A story was anonymously submitted to HU and we decided to submit it to Emerald Magazine. They liked it so much it was selected for their My Bust section! We hope you like it as much as we did. Check out the September edition of Emerald Magazine – available now!
Check it out (click here)!
In our current epoch the cannabis plant resides at a unique crossroad. Agriculture, nutrition, religion, resource management, medicine, art, fashion, gastronomy, academics, law, politics, athletics, and alternative lifestyles all intersect with the plant. From Miles Davis to Michael Phelps to President Obama, we all smoke weed – even Newt Gingrich said it’s the thing to do! The plant can ease sore bones, cultivate creativity, be processed into fuel, stimulate conversation, symbolize a culture, or simply make dinner more enjoyable. The vast utility of the plant is still unknown due to years of culture war – stigmatizing, scapegoating, and excluding the plants supporters. Now mainstream – TIME dedicated a special edition to cannabis legalization – consumers want to devour Northern California’s normalizing cannabis industry and culture, McDonaldizing and Disneyfying as they go – everything in neat tidy boxes. Will Humboldt’s cannabis farming forefathers go the way of Burt of Burt’s Bees? What role do younger generations play with cannabis legalization looming? How do we walk the line between saving Humboldt’s cannabis industry and staying true to our community, values, and culture: our elders? We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants (unknown and otherwise) and due credit is deserved. HU is dedicated to this end and as the Underground Review trudges on to its inevitable fate – legalization – HU will continue to unearth the people of our emerging cannabis industry.
After meeting with Humboldt NORML at Humbrews, HU staff collected back at headquarters for a spliff and a thoughtful conversation, contemplating all the different view points…
Posted in The Underground Review
Tagged Bill Maher, Cannabis, Cannabis Industry, Emerald, Hemp, Humboldt, Judging Cannabis, Marijuana, Napa, NORML, Outdoors, Water