For years the small family run farms have grown cannabis in California. They are said to be the backbone of the cannabis cultivation in the California area and have operated without fear of big business stepping on their toes. Could that all be about to change? It looks as though the passing of Proposition 64 has opened the door and allowed for a very real chance for this to become the case.
While the passing of Proposition has been for so many people a massive step forward in the forward to fully legalise cannabis in the state, the effect of these changes in the laws attached to cannabis will touch not just your average smoker but many more people who operate both inside and outside of the state’s cannabis culture. Of those who will be affected by these changes, the small family cannabis farmer are amongst the most at risk. Yes, the new laws will enable them to supply not only to the medical market but it will bring with it a whole host of new custom. Under the new laws it will be legal (with the correct licence) to grow for retail distribution. This means that they will also be able to supply to the growing recreational market as well. However where there is opportunity; there is money. Could this be the moment that big business have been waiting for?
The last few years that have led up to the state of California finally legalising cannabis have heard talk of what the effect might be on the small family farms if the proposition or any like it were to be passed. That talk has been more or less localised around the possibilities that it offers big corporations as they smell money from this new gap in the market. And what a market it is. California is already at the forefront of medical cannabis research and cannabis cultivation. Now with the shift in the legality a growing market will be given the space to become a booming one and this will definitely attract big business.
Many other industries have seen big business utilise its million dollar machine in order to push out the little guy. What is the difference here? There is none really. The fact of the matter is that most cannabis farming that takes place in the United States is small scale. Due to legality, the people who cultivate cannabis do so either for the medical market or for the before now (in California at least) illegal trade. That or for self-use. Now however there will be a much larger market place which will allow for not only more competition but more competitors.
These large companies have entire departments that are dedicated to cutting through the administration that small farmers have to do and pay for themselves. Not to mention the wealth of financial backing that they can bring to the table. Other places in the world have seen large-scale cannabis cultivation work either alongside small farms or in place of them to the small farms detriment. In these countries however the larger scale farming seems to serve almost a different market, at the very least a different section of that market. The large scale farming of cannabis in the Netherlands for example services the demand of the commercial coffee-shops and distributors. They or their product rather are only chosen over small farms for a few key reasons, namely price, availability and distribution. Buying from the big boys is cheaper and easier for the most part, this allows your average dispensary to pass on those savings to their customers. The product from small family farms is usually more expensive as it is grown in smaller batches and everything is done in house meaning that even the longest running family cannabis farms are fairly small scale in comparison to the smallest big business grower.
Where the customer could stand to lose however is in quality. There is just a certain passion and attention that as standard a small family farm will apply to the production of their cannabis that big business by default will not. Big business is about providing a product that costs less to make as it is grown on mass and every aspect of the outgoings attached are made as low as they can be. It stark contrast, while making money will of course be one reason that a small family farm is in business, it will likely not be the main reason. Most small family farms are driven by excellence and a real belief in not just their end product but in the way that it is made.
It seems that if Californians want to freely smoke their herb at home and small family farms are now able to supply them, they will have to also allow for big business to step in somewhere along the line. They can do that however knowing that while the big boys churn out the mass produced stuff, there will always be connoisseurs out there that like their cannabis to be grown with love.
After all; quality over quantity.