People who closely follow the the cannabis industry have had a good laugh lately at headlines like “Marijuana Shortage Prompts Emergency In Nevada.” But you’ll be none too surprised to hear that California finds itself having exactly the opposite problem. California is growing far more marijuana than it actually consumes, the head of the California Growers Association says. To put numbers on it, the growers warn that the Acapulco Gold-en State is growing 14 to 16 million tons of marijuana annually, but consuming only one and a half or two million tons of the sticky-icky.
If you would be amused by the sight of CBS 5 policy wonk Melissa Caen surrounded by big-ass marijuana plants, then the above video is for you. Caen spoke with California Growers Association executive director Hezekiah Allen, who said the 800 percent marijuana surplus is going to require legal growers to run far tighter ships with regards to their inventory and documentation.
“In the past, when a product left the farm there’s a really good chance the grower had no idea where it was going,” Allen said. “But in the future, every single license holder is going to need to know exactly where every gram of product is ending up and so conditions are going to change very quickly.”
Yeah, but will every basement and backyard grower really want to be a legitimate license-holding cultivator? “Nobody wants to operate under the radar,” Oaksterdam University professor Dr. Aseem Sappal told CBS 5. “They want to do this legally. They want to say, ‘Hey, look, what I’m doing is okay.'”
With all due respect to both of these gentlemen’s informed perspectives, these guys are full of fertilizer. Or rather, these guys are marijuana industry lobbyists and advocates pushing a party line promoting the notion that every marijuana grower will be a squeaky-clean operator eager to meet state regulatory requirements. People, that will not be the case. Plenty of that ‘excess’ marijuana will be grown by unlicensed operators, discreetly shipped or driven out of state, and sold on other states' black markets. California recreational use laws are not likely going to change something that's been going on for decades.
But on the positive side, people in California will probably be buying and consuming vastly larger quantities of marijuana once adult recreational use becomes legal on January 1, 2018. Tourists will flock to California just to buy their pot, and scores of Californians will ditch their weed dealers with the ease of over-the-counter sales. Some industry analysts worried about price deflation may warn of a “pot surplus”, but the state of California may simply chortle, pull out their gravity bongs, and huff up that so-called surplus in no time.