Few places in America are leading the marijuana legalization charge like California.
‘Medicinal’ marijuana growers have popped up everywhere, forming a new legal cottage industry.
Yet already, many old-time growers are starting to realise that with legalization comes corporatization… and worse, regulation.
It was inevitable that legalization would bring ‘Mcdonaldization, allowing growers to scale-up their marijuana production massively. That’s because producers no longer need to hide; this can’t be avoided.
Yet oddly, somehow government has already pounced on the newly freed marijuana industry with intense regulation.
For example, in Oakland, they’re already discussing selling licenses to produce marijuana that will cost $211,000 each per year, and require things such as $2 million of liability insurance and the payment of additionall taxes. This will add some hefty costs to any small-time producer, and clearly favours the big boys.
Other cities’ government regulations could be even more severe — As in, forced redistribution of production, trade barriers, and the creation of a marijuana oligopoly:
The Berkeley City Council last week approved a measure for the November ballot that would authorise the city to licence and tax six pot cultivation sites. Companies running the facilities must agree to give away some pot to low-income users, employ organic gardening methods to the extent possible and offset in some way the large amount of electricity needed to grow weed.
Long Beach officials want to reduce the amount of medical marijuana being sold in the city that isn’t grown there.
The city is in the process of trying to whittle its more than 90 dispensaries down to no more than 35 marijuana collectives through a lottery. licence winners will be required to grow either at their retail sites or elsewhere in Long Beach and to open their books to prove they aren’t growing more than enough to supply their members, said Lori Ann Farrell, Long Beach’s director of financial management.
Note that most of these regulations don’t have much to do with safety, but are rather the classic ways that business and governments coopt an industry with a web of expensive and complex regulation, locking it down into just a few key producers defended by high regulatory costs. Who knew that freedom could be so, regulated.
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