National Coalition Formed to Protect Small-Scale Cannabis Growers
Written by on September 22, 2022
The National Craft Cannabis Coalition, comprised of state-level advocacy groups from Oregon, California, Washington, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts, was formed with the goal of promoting state and federal policies that support small-scale growers, starting with the SHIP Act introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA).
The SHIP (Small and Homestead Independent Producers) Act would allow craft growers to ship and sell weed directly to their consumers if and when marijuana is federally legalized. If passed, the bill would take effect once marijuana is removed from its current Schedule 1 status and once all criminal penalties are removed under federal law concerning marijuana.
“Too often, the federal government falls behind, and the gears of Congress work too slowly to keep up with the pace of a changing economy,” Representative Huffman said.
“Under my bill, folks in our state will be able to ship their products straight to consumers when the antiquated federal prohibition on cannabis is finally repealed. As large, commercial cannabis operations squeeze out local producers from the market, this legislation is critical for farmers to survive and expand their small businesses.”
Under the SHIP act, a qualifying cannabis grower would be anyone who cultivates:
One acre or less of 18 mature flowering marijuana plant canopy using outdoor cultivation22,000 square feet or less of marijuana plant canopy using greenhouse cultivation5,000 square feet or fewer of mature flowering marijuana plant canopy using indoor cultivation
Small and craft growers have lamented they don’t stand a chance in markets dominated by large multi-state operators capable of growing exponentially more canopy space for a fraction of the cost, especially when the final product has to be packaged and sold through third-party businesses. This results in a lot of large, vertically-integrated companies essentially pricing out the little guys who can’t afford to buy and operate their own dispensary, grow facility, and packaging facility.
“These producers operate on a much smaller scale than traditional agriculture with many cultivating less than an acre of total canopy,” said Amanda Meztler of F.A.R.M.S. Inc Oregon.
“With federal legalization on the horizon, it’s critical that craft cannabis producers organize across state lines to ensure that federal policy includes a level playing field for small and independent businesses.”
Thus, members of the NCCC have collectively proposed that the only way small growers can survive is if they are allowed to sell directly to their customers.
“The direct-to-consumer model is a necessary resource for any small-scale craft-producing community that is deeply tied to the land on which it creates — whether it produces wine, whiskey, cheese, beer, cannabis, or honey,” said Genine Coleman, Executive Director of Origins Council in a prepared statement.
“The legacy cannabis community that has worked so long in the shadows should have the opportunity to join the ranks of other artisan producers across the United States and enjoy the privilege of connecting personally with their adult customers.”
To date the NCCC represents over 1,000 small and independent commercial cannabis growers through their state-level organizations including Origins Council (CA), F.A.R.M.S. Inc (OR), Washington Sun & Craft Growers Association (WA), Vermont Growers Association (VT), Maine Craft Cannabis Association (ME), and Farm Bug Co-Op (MA).
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