When I went to Humboldt County in 2015 to find facts for the California Blue Ribbon Commission, I heard informally that a marijuana grow of 10,000 square feet was enough to make a decent living. So that figure was bandied about as a hard cap – as a way to share the wealth that was about to open up. https://newrevenue.org/2015/08/23/sharing-the-wealth-from-legalization/. Being friends with a lot of Democratic Socialists, I’ve been interested in sharing the wealth, and thinking smaller farms would be an experiment in that direction.
Ten thousand square feet, about a quarter of an acre, was the smallest area I heard, but one acre is the hard cap in Proposition 64, the recreational legalization initiative to be voted on in November, (That acre limit sunsets after a handful of years.) [UPDATE: A friend in California indicates that the initiative allows one person to own several grow licenses. So the only remaining hope for spreading wealth is that regulations will cut back on the ability to have multiple licenses.]
Here’s what the Blue Ribbon Commission said about capping production:
“There are many small players already in the marijuana market in California, and bringing these players into the fold of a legalization system is a valid goal, as is the goal of spreading the economic opportunities and benefits of a legal market. If that is the goal, it would be appropriate for the state to adopt laws or regulations that either encourage more small entities, or even go further, and limit the size of any individual actor involved in cultivation or sales in this market.”
Now Humboldt County is about to have a seven-acre grow. It sounds like the Planning Commission has the last word (“cleared all the hurdles set out by both the state and the county.”) https://lostcoastoutpost.com/2016/jul/8/going-legit-planning-commission-grants-permit-54-a/
I get it that this big grow is authorized under MMRSA, the medical cannabis laws adopted by the California Legislature earlier in 2016.
On the basis of two days in Humboldt County last year, I thought that there were so many growers there that it would hold out for small grows. Now, not so much.