For the Small and Unsung, California’s Pot Market Yields More Red Than Green

Nine months after commercial marijuana legalization, smaller enterprises continue to struggle to make it in California’s legal market. For the mom and pop grows, veterans and disability advocates who had long looked forward to a legalized industry, the post-Prop 64 world has proven to be full of broken promises.

As the Guardian notes, high taxation, fluctuating regulations, and a durable black market have made it difficult for these enterprises to compete. Even worse, state policies have given mega corporations the upper-hand despite prior assurances to the contrary. For example, as CalMarijuanaPolicy has noted countless times, a long expected provision that would have temporarily banned farms over an acre large was abandoned by the state. That paved the way for a corporate takeover of the marijuana farming industry and prompted a lawsuit from the California Growers Association.

Government officials are aware of the challenges and have taken steps to mitigate some of the problems. The state just passed landmark social equity legislation. And, while a recent effort to lower marijuana taxes statewide went down in committee, some local governments have taken it upon themselves to lower the tax burden for cannabis businesses.

The question is, will it be enough?