During last year’s campaign for Proposition 64, which made recreational marijuana legal for adults under California law, proponents of the measure repeatedly argued that it would protect small marijuana farms and mom-and-pop cultivators, many of whom have operated illegally for decades.
That’s because the initiative barred the state from licensing any marijuana farm larger than one acre until 2023 — or at least that’s what voters were led to believe when they passed Proposition 64 overwhelmingly. Nevertheless, a state agency has quietly, mystifyingly issued a rule that could circumvent the proposition and open the new state market to Big Weed.
Voters were told that the new legal and regulated marijuana market would be built around small- and medium-sized farms, at least in the early years.
It appeared that state regulators shared that goal.
So growers and other industry watchers were shocked last month when the emergency regulations issued by the department did not limit the size of marijuana farms as expected. Instead, the rules allow applicants to seek an unlimited number of small-farm licenses, each of which allows up to 10,000 square feet, or roughly one quarter-acre, of pot cultivation.