Emergency regulations adopted by CDFA seemed to have created a loophole by allowing a single corporation to aggregate unlimited smaller cultivation licenses to operate a cultivation site larger than the legal limit.
According to the California Code of Regulations, Title 3 Food and Agriculture, Division 8, Cannabis Cultivation:
Section 8209. Medium Cultivation License Limits.
A person shall be limited to one (1) Medium Outdoor, or one (1) Medium Indoor, or one (1) Medium Mixed-Light A-License or M-License. This section shall remain in effect until January 1, 2023.
This implies smaller licenses might not be limited and directly conflicts with the intentions of Prop. 64.
Dec. 5, 2017-CA NORML sent the following letter about the Emergency Regulations:
December 5, 2017 – Cal NORML has sent comments to state regulators regarding their emergency licensing regulations for cannabis cultivation.
“We are concerned that the CDFA’s proposed emergency regulations on cannabis cultivation licensing fail to limit the total amount of acreage that any one applicant may accumulate. This opens the doors to large-scale, industrial mega-grows that could monopolize California’s limited available acreage, exacerbate environmental harm, and stifle participation by smaller growers,” CaNORML wrote.
“California does not need any new, large-scale, industrial grows,” the comments continue. “Rather, it needs to accommodate existing growers into the legal market with as few adverse impacts as possible. The total acreage needed to supply the state’s entire adult-use market is only about 1,000 outdoor acres, assuming one ounce/sq ft average yield and 2.5 million lbs. total state demand. It’s essential that acreage be allocated in a way that is fair to the many existing modest-scale growers who wish to participate and not thrown away on new industrial mega-grows.”
CaNORML suggests a licensing priority scheme, designed to minimize environmental impacts, which would allocate licenses in the following order:
(1) outdoor licenses of all types, up to a total of no more than one acre per applicant;
(2) indoor mixed lighting licenses, up to no more than one acre total per applicant;
(3) indoor high-intensity licenses, up to no more than one high-intensity license (1/2 acre) per applicant.
If there remains a shortage of applicants to assure adequate production, the recommendation is to continue issuing licenses for additional acreage in the same order:
(1) outdoor licenses in excess of one acre per applicant;
(2) indoor mixed lighting in excess of one acre;
(3) indoor high-intensity – firm cap of one acre maximum per applicant.
Jan.23,2018-California Growers Association Files Lawsuit to Close Loophole in Cultivation Regulations:
California Growers Association (CGA), a California Non-Profit Mutual Benefit Corporation filed a lawsuit challenging the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s decision to allow unlimited stacking of cultivation licenses.
Jan. 30, 2018-Humboldt NORML Supports Efforts for CGA and Cannabis Cultivation Acreage Cap:
Humboldt NORML supports CA NORML and CGA efforts to ensure that cannabis regulations will advocate for small farms/ businesses as intended by Prop. 64 and CA voters. Humboldt NORML agrees the commercial cannabis market should have priority state licensing for small scale cultivation/ business and local jurisdictions should also respect the acreage cap. Unfortunately, Humboldt County has already permitted certain individuals/ entities more than one acre despite the proposed one acre cap intentions for small business. If everyone is limited to the acreage cap throughout the state, then Humboldt County and other municipalities would not have to compete with mega-business and this would be a more fair and equitable cannabis industry. Some entities are already operating on a large scale with goals of being on the shelves of every dispensary, at the same time they are advocating to limit the supply as their large scale operations face competition from both small and even larger operations. We need the small business/ farmer to thrive in a free market economy and not jump directly into large scale operations for both social, economic and environmental purposes.
The commercial cannabis industry exists because of a grassroots movement that has supplied many. Humboldt NORML does not think we need mega-grows at this time or possibly ever. If the small farmer/ business cannot supply the demand, then larger permitting may be appropriate if absolutely necessary. According to CA NORML, this is may not be the case: “The total acreage needed to supply the state’s entire adult-use market is only about 1,000 outdoor acres, assuming one ounce/sq ft average yield and 2.5 million lbs. total state demand. It’s essential that acreage be allocated in a way that is fair to the many existing modest-scale growers who wish to participate and not thrown away on new industrial mega-grows.”