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California Lawmakers Say New Marijuana Cultivation Laws Favor Large Corporate Farms

California’s new rules allowing marijuana cultivation favor large corporate farms despite a promise in Proposition 64 that small growers would be protected, according to a group of state lawmakers and marijuana industry leaders who called Monday for the policy to be changed.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture issued emergency rules last month that allow for small and medium-sized farms of up to a quarter acre and one acre, respectively, to get licenses for the first five years. That five-year head start for small farms was promised in Proposition 64, the initiative approved last year by voters that legalized growing and selling marijuana for recreational use.

Individuals and businesses can get only one license for a medium-sized farm, but the new rules do not set a limit on how many small-farm licenses can be obtained by one person or business.

That could allow a corporation to assemble a 20-acre farm by obtaining 80 licenses for a quarter-acre each, opponents worry.

Democratic state Sens. Scott Wiener of San Francisco and Mike McGuire of Healdsburg, Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) and the California Growers Assn. asked for swift action by the state agricultural department to change the rule. [Read more at The Los Angeles Times]


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