Small Marijuana Farmers Feel Threatened by Loopholes in State’s Rules

Smaller marijuana farmers around the state feel threatened that loopholes in the state’s rules for growing may allow big corporate interests into the cultivation game, creating a scenario where the smaller farmers couldn’t compete.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has rules about how many square feet/acres growers can cultivate pot on. They’ve decided that they won’t allow permits for grows larger than 1 acre until 2023, to allow smaller farmers to make a name for themselves first, before big corporate giants to come in.

However, The California Growers Association worries that there are loopholes in these rules. There are no rules about how many “small” licenses one person or company can buy. So in effect, one company could feasibly buy a whole bunch of licenses for small amounts of land, and create one big farm that competes with the mom and pop farms.

“You get a hundred of them, you’ve got 25 acres. You get a thousand of them and you’ve got a couple hundred acres,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association.

Anna Stepp, Calaveras County pot grower.

“Is that what they want? They just want corporations? They don’t want mom and pop families, the people here for generations? I don’t know,” said Anna Stepp, a pot grower in Calaveras County.

“Taxes, with the regulations, we’re just barely making it,” she said.