Two State Representatives in Northern California are asking state officials to cap commercial marijuana farms at one-acre per person. They express that the cap will protect smaller-scale farmers from being ousted by larger commercial growers.
Cap Would Protect Small-Scale Growers
A letter was sent last week to the Office of Administrative Law asking for the cap to be added to marijuana regulations in California. Regulations are being finalized currently, with recreational legalization effective January 1, 2018.
Second-District Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood are the California State Representatives calling for the cap. Wood has articulated a desire to protect small-scale growers, expressing his feelings outside the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors chambers in Eureka early last week.
“It undermines the work that we were doing to protect the smaller growers at least at the outset,” Wood said. “We know that five years from now all bets are off, but we’ve got to give the people who are the real pioneers in this industry an opportunity to be successful and a way to bring them out of the shadows and into the regulated market.”
Emergency Regulations in California Don’t Include the One Acre Cap
In order to prepare for the legalization of cannabis, California instated emergency regulations last month. They did not include a once-acre cap. Before regulations were released, the one-acre cap had been included.
The Department of Food and Agriculture said the cap was left out from finalized regulations “after careful consideration, including input from stakeholders.”
Spokesman for the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Steve Lyle wrote that a one-acre limit “has not been in proposed regulations at any point and was not included in the emergency regulations due to the fact that Proposition 64, the law guiding the process, did not provide authority to include it. However,” he added, “local jurisdictions may impose that limitation on their own if it meets the needs of their constituents.”
Is it Too Late for Proposed Cannabis Cultivation Cap?
Wood however, says not having the cap goes against efforts previously made to limit cultivation in the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act. This limited cannabis cultivation to one acre, except for those with a dispensary license who were permitted to grow up to four acres.
Those who oppose the cap say that reestablishing the cap so close to the January 1st date marijuana is scheduled to make its legal debut in California would be unsuitable timing. There are, after all, farms already permitted to grow more than one acre.
Do you think there should be a cultivation cap for growing cannabis in California? Do you believe it would help small-time farmers interested in becoming part of the legal marijuana market, or hinder growers who are already established? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.