2018: Wildfire, Unassisted Homebirth, and the Most Beautiful Garden We’ve Ever Grown. Part 1. A Look at the California Cannabis Industry through the Eyes of a Small Farmer. By Karla Avila
Many things came full circle in 2018. It has been a year of blood, sweat and tears, and alongside facing the difficult challenges of being a small farm, have been some of our greatest triumphs and most precious and beautiful life moments…
…In any day and age, but definitely being a small cannabis (and food) farm in California in the brave new world of legal rec weed…
I am so exhausted by the overly complex (to an idiotic degree) regulations that govern the production of cannabis in California.
As the saga of the rec market continues we have found ourselves trapped in a system designed for capitalist ventures, a commodity market of constant flux, crash and very little boom, reliant upon endless investment capital and volume of production, creating surplus and continuingly lowering prices to the farmer regardless of quality.
It is a quantity over quality scenario without much room for anything quality, particularly for those rare gems of us growing quality in nature. It is not intended for a small, fair trade, artisanal family business to easily succeed in this, (or any modern-day) scenario. The writers of the law (Prop 64 that voters must have thought was a simple happy end to prohibition) were obviously well aware, and they meant it, for they are corporate financiers after all. This isn’t their first rodeo.
But a capitalist venture is the same in any industry no matter the product. And we feel very strongly that cannabis should be treated as much more than a commodity. However, these are the same people who made food a commodity, who made water a commodity, who privatized all the land on earth and made every natural resource on the planet and necessary element of sustaining life a commodity to be bought and sold for profit, not for value, at the expense of the earth, and all peoples enslaved in the system’s undervalued labor force. How can we be surprised?
While the price to the consumer on the retail shelf is still as high as ever, (if it’s not illegal anymore, and farmers are making less than ever, how is it more expensive than it used to be to the consumer?), the outdoor farmer is having to fight tooth and nail to earn even the smallest fraction of that cost back to the farm. And then, up to 25-30% of what the farmer makes is going directly to, (you guessed it, there were always middle men), it’s the new middle man, the government, who inserted themselves multiple times while simultaneously inserting middle men as a requirement of the law between farmers and retailers and consumers.
And that is if a farm can even get on the shelves, especially as their own label. There are many brands vying for very limited shelf space across the state, and many of those brands also capitalize on the market surplus, overly saturated with boof, grown in mediocrity at best in large volume, branded in fancy packaging and green-washed with false marketing, causing small farmers to have to compete with wholesale prices so low that we risk the inability to offer ourselves a fair, livable wage, or, alternatively, sell at below labor value to a corporation which in turn must capitalize on that farmer in order to survive.
Jumping through a million regulatory hoops is hardly worth that.
So what the hell are we doing? Who knows. We don’t even know. We just know that we feel compelled to fight this David and Goliath battle. Perhaps we do it for the sake of the plant itself. Or perhaps because we feel the plight of small farmers everywhere worldwide and that makes us want to keep fighting, to demand a seat at the table regardless. Ultimately, our motivation and our intention are based on much more than economics or capitalism.
Why shouldn’t we have a connoisseur market that isn’t exclusively grown indoors? There are many people out there who love weed the way some people love wine. There is such a thing as Cannabis Terroir, but people will never get to experience it, or actual “top shelf” outdoor, which most people still believe doesn’t exist, if they aren’t given the option. It is what I would want as a consumer, and so in the bittersweet early days of the end of prohibition, we soldier on, holding true to our vision and prepared to endure for the long haul.
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Flowerdaze Farm is the regenerative farm of a slightly reclusive, enigmatic family of renegade backwoods award-winning artisans. This Emerald Triangle family farm specializes in artisanal medicine, producing small batch, one-of-a-kind, connoisseur, full season cannabis flower, handcrafted from start to finish and reflecting the distinctive flavors, characteristics and true Terroir of the land in one of the most special cannabis appellations and premier micro-regions for cannabis cultivation in the world.