California marijuana growers face industry extinction event as government incompetence stands poised to destroy the entire legal cannabis industry
03/19/2019 / By Lance D Johnson / Comments
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California marijuana growers face industry extinction event as government incompetence stands poised to destroy the entire legal cannabis industry

When the cannabis industry took off in California, thousands of cannabis growers had to seek a temporary license. In essence, marijuana growers had to give up their rights and register with the government in order to become “legal.” The state granted cannabis growers the privilege to mass produce marijuana; cannabis growers became licensees of the state. This was the sacrifice cannabis growers made in order to avoid prosecution. They had to forfeit their rights to the state. Now their very existence and livelihood is at the mercy of the state. Up to ten thousand licenses are about to expire as California’s marijuana industry hangs in the balance.

Thousands of temporary license holders are at the mercy of the state

After the passage of Prop 64, growers applied for a state license that was only good for 120 days, with a 90-day extension. This temporary license gave growers time to apply for a one year provisional license in order to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act. This also gave growers time to apply for a full annual license.

According to state Senator Mike McGuire, more than 6,900 applications were sent to the California Department of Farm and Agriculture for a provisional license, but only four were granted. And, only fifty-two applicants received a full annual license. If a new bill isn’t passed to keep these growers “legal,” up to ten thousand temporary licensees could be stripped of their “legal” status and plummeted to the black market.

State Senator McGuire from Healdsburg is trying to keep the growers “legal” with Senate Bill 67, which will grant another extension to temporary license holders. The new legislation grants a one year extension to the December 31, 2018 deadline that is leaving temporary license holders at the mercy of the state. As the rest of the nation watches, California is on the verge of wrecking the multi-billion dollar cannabis industry that was so glorified when it became legal. Now, government incompetence and the forfeiture of rights has pushed thousands of marijuana growers to the brink of collapse or else descend into the black market.


To advance a lucrative marijuana industry, California may abandon thousands of small cannabis growers

As a select few cannabis growers receive full annual licenses, the remaining businesses, at the mercy of the state, may have no choice but to die out. California is picking the winners and the losers in the marijuana industry and snuffing out small competitors. It is likely that California picks favorites because the state and its marijuana industry must keep legal demand high and legal supply low in order to maintain a robust and highly profitable marijuana industry. Many of the small growers who wanted in on the “pot” could be forced out of the legal market and back in the shadows. Is it by design that thousands of growers may be denied a license extension and forced to operate illegally again?

Regardless, if the problem is not remedied by bureaucrats, it could cause “an extinction event” — putting an end to what was once projected to be a multi-billion dollar agricultural boon for thousands of cannabis growers. (Related: Legality means overregulation in California: The state is placing even MORE limits on CBD products such as edibles.)

“We can’t afford to let good actors who want to comply with state law fall out of our regulated market just because timelines are too short and departments have been unable to process applications in time due to the sheer number of applications,” says McGuire.

Terra Carver, executive director for the Humboldt County Growers Alliance also commented on the boondoggle: “If nothing is done, there will be dire consequences such as imminent market collapse of hundreds of businesses in the region and through the state.”

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