Some California growers have already voiced their concerns over the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and during a Humboldt State University panel discussion, one researcher called marijuana the “last small farm industry in California.”
In the Times-Standard report, Fred Krissman, a research associate with the HSU Anthropology Department and Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, pointed out that Proposition 64 allows for large-scale grows five years after the law’s passage which could allow large companies to take over the industry as it has in other agricultural markets.
“This is a major threat to small scale grows,” he said in the report. “Most best practice growers that I have met oppose AUMA on that issue alone.”
Kristin Nevedal, a local cultivator and consultant to Americans for Safe Access who appeared on the panel, said that the law doesn’t allow grows larger than 1 acre during the first five years and prevents non-California residents from securing a business license for the first two – which allows smaller operators a “small window” to carve out their market share. She said that the language of the law provides strong anti-monopoly language and farmer protections.
“It does prohibit the act of selling a crop below the cost it takes to produce it,” she said.
According to the report, most members of the panel said the tax issue, which provides for total taxes of 10 percent on retail sales, is worth scrutinizing. Sequoia Hudson, member of the True Humboldt cooperative, said that if the retail prices are not competitive with the informal market, the latter will continue to thrive.
Another HIIMR member, Tony Silvaggio, noted that until the drug is decriminalized on a federal level the informal market would still compete with legal sales, and that Prop 64 doesn’t make it any easier for researchers to study cannabis.
“Without federal prohibition being removed, we’re going to have pressure on our ecosystems here as every year it gets worse and worse,” he said.
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