Project – Cannabis

mendocino/humboldt/sonoma counties, ca

Our project asks: what are the barriers to sustainable, equitable economic impact in California cannabis-growing communities, and what models, methods or processes could be used to lower them?

CALIFORNIA’S LEGACY CANNABIS FARMERS: Cannabis industrial development is seen as a $30-50 billion infusion of economic activity into marginalized California economies. Yet while policymakers have expressed support for legacy cannabis farmers, promoted local regulation and control, and touted community benefits (e.g., tax revenue and jobs), fieldwork by our University of California, Davis (UCD) team is finding policy does not advance these priorities [1, 2]. Current patterns of policy implementation are confusing to legacy farmers. New entrants, backed by private equity [3, 4], have resources to adapt to this disorder, strategically inserting themselves at value chain bottlenecks. Legacy farmers are experiencing new power imbalances with complex vendor contracts, proprietary lab testing, and product warehousing. These barriers are hindering legacy farmers and their communities from participating in the legalized market, raising concerns for equity and positive economic impacts.

We are working with Mendocino and Sonoma tribal and county stakeholders to: (1) characterize barriers, (2) eliminate barriers, and (3) foster economic development.