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Petition Seeks Help Protecting Small Cannabis Farmers in the Emerald Triangle

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The cannabis industry’s famed Emerald Triangle is made up of the lush growing regions in Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties of Northern California—but high taxes and large corporations are threatening this community of multi-generational farmers who want to grow high quality weed as a passion, not just for profit.

One local Humboldt advocate and farm owner, Rose Moberly, is bringing awareness to the plight of the Emerald Triangle by circulating a petition to gain support.

Moberly has an impressive and extensive history working in the cannabis history. Starting from her roots interning for the Colorado Senate as an environmental lobbyist to rising in the ranks of a trimming job, grow facilities and even a track-and-trace METRC auditor, she’s explored many facets of the cannabis industry. Things really took off two years ago when she was invited to travel to California to educate small farmers about the track-and-trace system.

Ultimately, this path led her not only to find love, but also to her current role as co-operator of a second-generation farm called Huckleberry Hill Farms. “Long story short, I wound up falling in love with a certain legacy farmer [John Casali], who challenges me to be a better woman everyday, and I moved out [to Humboldt] over two years ago.”

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Photo Credit: Ben Neff

Moberly describes Huckleberry Hill Farms “as mom-and-pop as it can get!” and her passion for cannabis advocacy and growing knows no bounds. However, small farmers in the Emerald Triangle are facing a dire situation. The tight-knit region of farmers are being challenged by corporations, who jumped onto the cannabis bandwagon once it hit mainstream popularity, without little effort in advocacy or legalization assistance.

“I think it’s important for people to realize where a multi-billion-dollar industry is being created from, and what they had to go through with the War on Drugs in order to legalize this amazing powerful plant,” Moberly told High Times.

More importantly, the shockingly high cultivation taxes that are required to grow in California makes operation difficult for all small farmers, not just those who operate within the Emerald Triangle region. If the current trajectory for taxes doesn’t change, it could be game over for small farmers everywhere. “All farmers no matter where they are in the state of California are suffering from over taxation and over supply,” she explained. “Together we need to communicate with regulators that if they are going to continue to permit farms without federal legalization, they will continue to drive the price down. The Emphasis on the Emerald Triangle has to do with protecting a culture that is not found anywhere else in the entire world, not just California.”

Moberly is confident that some of the nation’s best and most unique cannabis strains are bred in the Emerald Triangle, and if those farmers are forced to shut down due to exorbitant tax requirements, those strains could also disappear forever. “Furthermore, the Emerald Triangle is like the Amazon jungle of genetics. Some of the Legacy Growers here, I’m sure, hold a unique strain of cannabis that might even have the cure for cancer, or Autism, epilepsy, etc,” she said. “If those Farms aren’t able to make it in today’s climate some of those strains and cultivars might possibly be lost forever.”

Moberly shared that a recent local survey showed that 50 to 60 percent of cannabis farms won’t survive through 2022 if some kind of emergency regulations are put in place. Which is why she decided to take action and start the petition “Save the Emerald Triangle Legacy Cannabis Farmers.”

“As a result, farmers who sold flower products last year at $1,400 a pound are now forced to sell their products at $300 per lb to pay their bills,” she wrote on the petition webpage. “Due to the state’s fixed dollar tax, those farmers will be asked to pay a 53 percent cultivation tax of $161.28; while the remaining leaf product which some farmers had to offload as low as $15 per pound will be charged $48 per pound for state taxes. At that price, they’re being subjected to a 320 percent tax rate!”

With enough signatures, she will send a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as state legislature, to plead the case on behalf of California farmers everywhere. In the meantime, you can help support the cause by visiting the petition here.

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2022 brings new markets, opportunities for California marijuana firms

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More than a dozen California cities are opening new recreational cannabis licensing opportunities this year, either by embracing the legal marijuana industry for the first time or by increasing the number of available business permits.

Several other cities, meanwhile, are laying the groundwork for new markets down the road by drafting and/or developing cannabis ordinances.

The rollout of new adult-use markets and business opportunities come as cities across the state are eager to bring in additional tax revenue after the pandemic and other factors depleted public coffers.

The ongoing shift is a welcome sign for the state’s struggling marijuana sector, which remains forbidden in the vast majority of California cities and, at the same time, must compete against a thriving illicit market.

Map showing where California cities are looking to expand marijuana markets“Expanding doors is critical if we expect the legal cannabis market to survive,” said Harry Kazazian, chair and CEO of 22Red, a marijuana brand based in Pasadena.

“Communities that shut out legal retail stores will be serviced by the underground market.”

According to Hirsh Jain, founder of Los Angeles-based cannabis consultancy Ananda Strategy, only 115 of the state’s 482 cities, or roughly 24%, have a licensed dispensary open today.

But that is starting to change.

Retail expansion across the state

The retail expansion is far and wide, from urban centers in San Diego and San Jose to small towns such as Madera in the Central Valley and Oxnard along the Southern California coast.

Madera, about 25 miles north of Fresno, is issuing its first eight retail licenses, including two designated for social equity applicants.

The agricultural town, which hadn’t disclosed application timelines as of press time, also is offering unlimited permits for vertically integrated operators, an emerging shift among city and county governments in California.

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Hemet, a midsized town in Riverside County that’s struggled to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-09, has foregone licensing caps altogether and is instead relying on zoning allowances to dictate the number of retail outlets.

“This represents cities moving away from this limited-license framework,” Jain said.

Elliot Lewis, CEO of Long Beach-based Catalyst Cannabis Co., welcomes the competition.

In October, the retailer was approved for a storefront in neighboring East Hemet, in unincorporated Riverside County.

“Without good, legal, safe access, the industry is drowning,” said Lewis, who expects to open the location in March. “It needs retail outlets.”

National City, bordering San Diego to the south, approved several licenses in November.

Applicants in National City may apply for retail, cultivation, distribution, manufacturing and transportation permits, ushering in a new era of commercial activity.

Retail applicants are required to operate at least one other marijuana business on the property, according to the ordinance, and must limit the retail portion to no more than 40% of square footage.

National City plans to start accepting applications this quarter, with a few notable caveats: Officials plan to favor local ownership, and at least one of the six licenses will be set aside for a consumption lounge operator.

Second thoughts

San Diego, an underserved market considering its large population, is among several California cities with established commercial cannabis programs looking to expand.

The state’s second-largest city, with nearly 1.4 million residents, appears poised to lift several of its zoning restrictions, including narrowing a 1,000-foot buffer between marijuana businesses and parks, libraries, places of worship and playgrounds.

The constraints, critics contend, are a major reason why the city has opened only 25 dispensaries, despite approving 36 in 2014.

If those restrictions are eased, which could come within the next month or so, retail licenses could expand nearly 40%, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.

Those municipalities looking to expand existing programs also include the Silicon Valley hub of San Jose.

The Northern California city of a million residents has only 16 dispensaries.

The San Jose City Council is weighing a policy overhaul to boost retail and delivery locations to 42 while eliminating several zoning restrictions and easing others.

The tech mecca is also looking to create new business opportunities for social equity applicants.

Tracy, about 55 miles northeast of San Jose, plans to issue seven retail permits for a total of 11 after its City Council approved an expansion in November.

Only 10 applicants have advanced to the final-review stage, however, with four on the verge of approval.

The process has been lengthy. Tracy hasn’t accepted applications since October 2020 but stated on its website it might consider reopening an application window in “late 2022 or early 2023.”

Merced started accepting applications Jan. 10 for an additional storefront license, bringing the Central Valley town’s total to five.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 31.

Hanford, about 35 miles south of Fresno, is adding one retail location.

According to the city’s website, the cap of two stores and two non-storefront retailers has been met.

The city also is accepting applications for cultivation, manufacturing, lab testing, distribution and micro-business permits – all uncapped – on a continuous basis.

Oxnard, located along the coast in Ventura County, issued six additional retail licenses last year with three dedicated to local equity applicants.

The agricultural town – perhaps best known for hosting the Dallas Cowboys’ summer training camp, which draws thousands of fans every year – is expected to have 16 dispensaries open by year’s end.

Looking ahead, several other cities are in the process of drafting and/or developing cannabis ordinances, including Monterey, Riverside, Lodi, Delano and Visalia.

Numbers don’t add up

The lack of retail outlets, particularly compared to the number of licensed cultivators, has depressed California’s marijuana economy, according to Tom Adams, CEO and principal analyst of L.A. research firm, Global Go Analytics.

“The struggles the California legal cannabis market is undergoing, particularly the meltdown in wholesale flower prices in 2021, is largely due to the fact that local jurisdictions have licensed 10 times as many cultivation operations as retail storefronts – some 7,500 versus about 750,” he said.

Most agricultural products (think almonds or oranges) have the opposite ratio, in which retailers outnumber suppliers by a wide margin.

“Certainly, the number of cultivators is going to shrink from attrition,” Adams said, “but hopefully all these local moves to allow more storefronts also balance out the supply chain in a positive direction.”

Chris Casacchia can be reached at ccasacchia@hotmail.com.

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MS House approves medical cannabis bill (Newsletter: January 20, 2022)

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January 19, 2022

Bipartisan lawmakers push DEA on medical psychedelic access; Austin puts marijuana decrim on ballot; KS psilocybin bill; FBI cannabis license scrutiny

Subscribe to receive Marijuana Moment’s newsletter in your inbox every weekday morning. It’s the best way to make sure you know which cannabis stories are shaping the day.

Your support makes Marijuana Moment possible…

Paid for by readers like you. Marijuana Moment’s newsletter and in-depth cannabis reporting is made possible by the 700+ people who subscribe to us on Patreon.



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/ TOP THINGS TO KNOW



A bipartisan group of members of Congress led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) sent a letter demanding that the Drug Enforcement Administration allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an investigational treatment without the fear of federal prosecution.



Louisiana Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Gary Chambers smoked a marijuana blunt in a new campaign ad that focuses on the harms of criminalization. He says he’ll back cannabis expungements and banking bills if elected to Congress.



The Austin, Texas City Council passed an ordinance referring a marijuana decriminalization proposal to the May ballot. Advocates had wanted lawmakers to adopt the measure on their own, but are confident it’ll be approved by voters.



A Kansas representative filed a bill to legalize possession and home cultivation of psilocybin.



Newly surfaced testimony suggests Federal Bureau of Investigation scrutiny of Missouri’s medical marijuana licensing process may be ongoing, with a businessman saying he talked about the governor, a mayor and other officials with federal agents.



/ FEDERAL



The Department of Defense Consolidated Adjudications Facility is taking a more aggressive stance in some adjudications of marijuana-related security clearance denials.



The U.S. attorney for Vermont said there are “potential matters involving marijuana that we would potentially consider prosecuting” but “as a general matter, that is not an area that’s on the top of our priority list.”



Staff for Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) defended his purchase of stock in Tilray, Inc. just days before the House voted to approve a federal marijuana legalization bill.



Rep. Dave Joyce (R-OH) tweeted, “[email protected] gets it. Glad to have my fellow #Cannabis Caucus Co-Chair as a cosponsor of my bipartisan #HOPEAct. By redressing the consequences of the War on Drugs and reigniting the American Dream, this important bill gives Congress the chance to #passprogress.”



Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) congratulated a Massachusetts cannabis regulator on her anniversary of taking the job.



/ STATES



New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) signed legislation to decriminalize syringes and otherwise expand access to syringe access programs.



Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said a medical cannabis bill is getting “better” with each revision that comes out. Meanwhile, the agriculture and commerce commissioner said he is taking steps to prepare for his department’s role in implementing a medical marijuana law if one is enacted.



New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) spoke about the job-creating and tax revenue-generating potential of the legal cannabis industry in her State of the State speech.



Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried, currently the agriculture commissioner, tweeted, “As governor, I’ll legalize marijuana.”



The Maine legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee will consider bills on marijuana home delivery, edibles production and plant tracking on Wednesday.



A black Delaware representative who removed his name from a marijuana legalization bill last year after social equity provisions were stripped out says a new version of the legislation addresses his concerns and is ​​”the best one, the most complete bill that I’ve seen.”



Pennsylvania regulators readopted medical cannabis regulations.



Michigan’s top marijuana regulator said he thinks “we’re reaching a period of stabilization in the market.”



The Iowa Department of Human Rights’s Justice Advisory Board noted racial disparities in marijuana enforcement and said it will monitor legalization outcomes in other states.



A Massachusetts marijuana regulator authored an op-ed arguing for a crackdown on impaired driving.



Oklahoma regulators delayed the launch of a new medical cannabis licensing portal.



Arizona officials are accepting grant applications for funding for marijuana research.



Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee will meet on Thursday.





Marijuana Moment is already tracking more than 1,000 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.



Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.


/ LOCAL



The DeKalb County, Georgia Commission considered a proposal to end pre-employment drug screening for marijuana, but it was blocked from advancing.



Birmingham, Alabama’s mayor reacted to criticism of his local reform advocacy from a former lawmaker by tweeting, “I will not be lectured on the rights and wrongs of pardoning people for marijuana possession by Former State Sen. Phil Williams whose major ‘accomplishments’ include voting to lower unemployment benefits, protect racist monuments, and build more prisons.”



/ INTERNATIONAL



Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is reportedly planning to propose removing marijuana from the list of controlled drugs on Wednesday.



The Bahamian minister of agriculture, marine resources and Family Island affairs said the Family Islands would be an ideal location to grow the cannabis industry.



/ SCIENCE & HEALTH



A study concluded that “medicinal cannabis may increase [quality of life] for advanced [cholangiocarcinoma] patients.”



A study’s results “support potential synergy between psychedelics and meditation.”



/ ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS



The Pima County, Arizona Democratic Party called a Louisiana Democratic Senate candidate’s advertisement in which he smokes marijuana on camera an “important campaign ad.”



/ BUSINESS



MedMen’s former CEO spoke about his departure from the company in his first interview since leaving.



Columbia Care Inc. has a new CFO.



A New York judge began a hearing on whether a lawsuit against Acreage Holdings and other defendants over a disputed medical cannabis license can proceed.



Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he and Mel Brooks were “both born 69 days after 4/20.”



/ CULTURE



Wiz Khalifa is partnering with Cresco Labs on a distribution deal for his Khalifa Kush cannabis brand in California.

Make sure to subscribe to get Marijuana Moment’s daily dispatch in your inbox.

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

Marijuana Moment is made possible with support from readers. If you rely on our cannabis advocacy journalism to stay informed, please consider a monthly Patreon pledge.

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Growing Exceptional Flower With Spider Farmer

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Spider Farmer LED Cannabis Grow Lights

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Whether you’re a commercial cultivator or a homegrow hero, Spider Farmer’s new and improved SE 7000 (730W) LED grow lights can help you maximize yields by 60%.

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Ask any good indoor cannabis cultivator to name the most critical input for growing exceptional flower, and they will tell you the same thing: light. You can feed your plants different nutrients; you can use soil or hydro; but you cannot use inferior lighting if you want maximum yields. LEDs are the preferred choice for most indoor cannabis cultivators for several reasons, including longer life span, reduced energy consumption and the ability to replicate the sun during the plants’ growth cycle.  However, LED systems can be an expensive investment. And low-cost often equals low performance. Spider Farmer is filling a gap in the market with their LED grow lights that combine competitive price points with high performance. Whether you’re a large-scale commercial grower or use a grow tent at home, you can benefit from Spider Farmer’s newly updated SE 7000 (730W) LED system.

The Spider Farmer SE 7000 (730W)

Launched in 2015, Spider Farmer is the go-to brand for dependable and affordable indoor growing equipment that supports a balanced indoor cultivation environment. Thanks to their in-house R&D facilities, Spider Farmer is continuously improving the quality and design of their products. To that end, the company recently launched the new SE Series, which features LED grow lights designed to support the full growth cycle of your cannabis plants.

With its light bar design, the upgraded SE 7000 (730W) commercial LED grow light operates at 1920umol/s and is designed to provide precise control over light spectrum levels and intensity for close-proximity, multi-tier indoor crops. By maximizing the uniform photons through the innovative new bar design, Spider Farmer claims to have increased yields from 30% to 60%. 

Using heat-dispelling technology, the six-bar configuration provides a uniform PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density) output. Using Spider Farmer’s daisy chain function, indoor cultivators can easily scale up their grow ops by connecting up to 15 units and conveniently controlling them all with one remote control. Additionally, the bar design allows for increased airflow around the LEDs, which helps disperse heat more effectively and distribute light more evenly across the canopy.

The extended light bar design takes care of the outer edges of your grow and provides consistent light intensity. Peripheral plants will benefit from the even distribution of light, so you can maximize your grow space. The Spider Farmer SE 7000 (730W) delivers a coverage area of 4×4 feet for commercial grows and 5×5 feet for personal grows. When measured in a 5×50-foot grow tent, the SE 7000 (730W) emits between 900 and 1100 PPFD from 12 inches above the canopy.

Spider Farmer’s LED grow lights help growers give their plants the exact light needed as they move through each stage of growth. With obvious indicators for 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%, the dimming knob takes the guesswork out of altering the spectrum. Finally, all Spider Farmer systems are water resistant. The LEDs are coated with a waterproof glue, making them safe in wet environments. 

The Importance of Diode Quality

Since their introduction, one of the most compelling features of LED lights has been their long lifespan. When purchasing an LED grow light, it’s important to note the brand of LEDs and the number of diodes used.

Spider Farmer is an official Samsung partner and only uses premium diodes from the South Korean corporation. In comparison to other products, a genuine Samsung LED will keep the same intensity and quality of light for a longer period of time. The SE 7000 (730W) uses Samsung LM301B diodes.

Satisfaction Guaranteed

All Spider Farmer LED grow lights are both CE and RoHS certified, allowing you to buy with confidence. Additionally, Spider Farmer LED grow lights come with a five-year warranty. Furthermore, in the event of damage, the lamp can be returned or replaced within 30 days of delivery, while repairs, free components and service can be provided within 90 days of delivery. Spider Farmer distributors can be found around in the world in the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, and Germany.

Spider Farmer Has Everything You Need to Grow Great Weed

As well as manufacturing high-quality, low-cost LED grow lights, Spider Farmer also offers grow tents and kits at an affordable price. Spider Farmer has the widest collection of indoor grow tents and accessories, all of which are guaranteed to be of the highest quality. Spider Farmer’s grow tents are constructed from top-quality 1680D tear-proof canvas that prevents any light from escaping and is lined with 99% reflective mylar.

From commercial operators to homegrow heroes, whatever your situation, you can be sure that Spider Farmer can tailor your growing needs with its LED solutions.

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