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California Cannabis Leaders Petition Governor, Demanding Industry Reforms

December 21, 2021

Numerous high-profile members of California’s cannabis industry have signed a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, Senate President Toni Atkins, and House Speaker Anthony Rendon expressing frustration and despair over their administration of the Golden State’s legal cannabis market.

“Four years after the start of legal sales, our industry is collapsing, and our global leadership and legacy is at the brink of disappearing forever,” they wrote. “An unwillingness to effectively legislate, implement, and oversee a functional regulated cannabis industry has brought us to our knees. The California cannabis system is a nationwide mockery; a public policy lesson in what not to do.”

The letter was signed by Conrad Gregory of Harborside; Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML; Dennis Hunter, founder of CannaCraft; Jerred Kiloh, president of the United Cannabis Business Association; Kristi Palmer, co-founder of Kiva Confections; and Michael Ray, founder of Bloom Farms, among others. It further elaborates that, among other failures, excessive taxation has made legal cannabis far more expensive than the illicit market and presented companies with a “desperate choice: pay exorbitant taxes into a system designed for failure or pay employees so they can feed their families.”

For solutions, the signers propose that California eliminate its cultivation tax, impose a three-year moratorium on the excise tax, and expand retail access, given that 68% of the state is subject to local retail bans. They ask that these items be included in the state budget, set to be released January 10 of next year.—Danny Sullivan

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