Who’s Still Standing in the Cannabis Industry?

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When
I
look
back
to
the
beginning
of
the
2010s,
to
where
the
emerging
world
of
cannabis
stood
ten
years
ago,
it’s
clear
that
we
lived
and
worked
in
a
whole
other
scene
back
then.
In
2010,
California’s Proposition
19
 (also
known
as
the
Regulate,
Control
&
Tax
Cannabis
Act)
was
an
initiative
on
the
November
ballot,
but
it
was
narrowly
defeated.
Even
though Proposition
215
 —
permitting
the
use
of
medical
cannabis

was
passed
years
earlier
in
November
1996,
the
citizens
of
the
state
were
still
not
yet
ready
to
go
all
the
way.
It
took
several
more
years
to
further
break
down
the
stigmas
around
cannabis,
and
we
still
have
a
long
way
to
go.

Here
in
Mendocino
County,
I
began
growing
cannabis
for
medical
uses
in
full
sun
as
soon
as
I
could,
with
my
partner
Swami
Chaitanya.
In
those
days,
we’d
gather
several
scripts
from
various
patients
and
grow
a
few
pounds
for
each
of
them.
I
must
admit
that
often
the
patient
was
not
the
only
one
to
consume
our
flower,
but
they
always
got
their
fair
share
in
return
for
the
script.
We
were
very
much
in
the
grey
area
of
legality.
But
considering
we’d
all
been
complete
outlaws
before,
this
was
a
huge
step.

It
was
in
2014
when
the
first
cannabis
political
organizations
began
to
form
in
various
California
counties.
Slowly,
farmers
were
willing
to
come
off
their
remote
mountain
ranches
and
began
to
speak
up,
knowing
that
if
we
did
not
help
shape
the
future
of
legal
cannabis
in
our
state,
there
would
be
no
future
for
us
in
it.

It
was
a
bold
step
when
we
formed
the Mendocino
Cannabis
Policy
Council
 that
year.
Meetings
were
held
at
least
once
a
month,
often
at
the
local
grange
or
at AREA
101
 in
Laytonville
(home
of The
Emerald
Cup
).
None
of
us
were
very
good
at
setting
up
official
organizations,
so
plenty
of
time
was
spent
figuring
out
simply
how
to
write
a
mission
statement
and
create
by-laws.
We
spoke
about
marketing
our
county’s
fine
cannabis,
talked
about
influencing
our
conservative
Board
of
Supervisors
and
shared
growing
and
sales
techniques.
Plus,
there
was
always
news
and
gossip
about
who
got
busted
recently
and
the
price
of
weed
on
the
illicit
market.

In
retrospect,
I
realize
that
very
few
of
those
farms
that
were
involved
back
then
are
still
in
the
business.
As the
harsh
reality
of
coming
into
compliance
 became
more
evident
and
people
saw
the
full
costs
it
would
entail,
many
began
to
back
off,
either
retreating
to
the
“traditional
market”
as
we
call
it
now,
or
quitting
altogether.
Growing
cannabis
has
always
been
a
transitional
business,
but
this
was
different.
Many
of
the
original
growers,
the
real
“OGs”,
were
packing
up
and
leaving,
while
upstarts
were
entering
the
scene
with
glorious
dreams
of
easy
fortune.

We
welcomed
one
and
all,
although
at
times
we
felt
a
twinge
of
jealousy
over
the
farms
that
had
enough
financial
backing
to
make
a
big
impact.
Once
brands
came
into
being,
many
of
the
big
guys
who
drove
the
giant
pick-ups
and
lived
high
on
the
hog
pushed
their
way
in,
as
if
to
prove
they
had
it
all
wrapped
up.
Others
showed
up
from
all
corners
of
the
globe,
ready
to
take
on
huge
investments
and
be
winners
in
the
cannabis
game.
Enormous
numbers
were
tossed
around
with
ease,
and
many
thought
they’d
strike
it
rich
in the
Green
Rush
.

Taking
the
long
view
at
the
close
of
this
tumultuous
decade,
the
picture
is
coming
into
focus.
Several
of
those
big
players,
who
took
in
massive
investments
based
on
convertible
notes,
are
facing
insurmountable
debts
they
cannot
repay.
They
may
have
built
recognized
brands,
but without
enough
licensed
stores
to
sell
their
products
 and exorbitant
taxes
 that
keep
many
consumers
going
to
their
dealer
down
the
street,
they
are
at
a
loss.
Suddenly
the
pipe
dreams
of
fame
and
fortune
are
literally
going
up
in
smoke.

So
who
remains
in
the
game
at
this
point?
It
is
at
the
big
cannabis
events
where
the
shift
becomes
most
evident.
Sadly,
we
see
very
few
actual
farmers
anymore
at
industry
events
like
the Hall
of
Flowers
 or
cannabis
festivals
like
the
Emerald
Cup,
and
forget
about
finding
a
farmer
at
MJBiz.
Mostly
the
companies
present
are
large
corporations
who
can
afford
to
spend
$100,000
for
a
slick
booth
and
the
staff
to
work
it.
No
longer
does
a
customer
get
to
meet
the
farmer
in
person,
smoke
a
joint
and
hear
stories
about
growing
weed.
Now
it
is
all
about
the
sales
pitch
and
the
glitzy
packaging,
not
much
different
than
if
they
were
selling
cosmetics
or
packaged
foods.
The
personal
touch
is
gone
and
has
been
replaced
by
classic
consumerism.

I
am
happy
to
report
that
there
remain
a
few
small
cannabis
brands,
such
as Om
Edibles
 and
our Swami
Select
,
who
have
survived
because
we
have
stuck
to
old-fashioned
farming
and
production
methods
and,
just
as
we
grow
our
crop
with
organic
methods,
we
do
the
same
with
our
businesses.
We
continue
to
live
simple
lives,
truly
caring
about
the
quality
of
our
product
and
getting
it
into
the
hands
of
those
who
will
truly
appreciate
and
benefit
from
it.
We
may
not
be
able
to
afford
a
fancy
booth
at
an
event,
but
we
are
there
in
person
to
share
our
authentic
stories
of
the
past
and
our
dreams
for
the
future.

We
will
continue
to
advocate
to
change
unworkable
policies,
so
that
the
day
of
full
legalization
will
come
and
its
benefits
will
be
widely
shared.
The
2010s
was
a
decade
of
making
a
new
mold,
and
for
some,
breaking
the
old
one.
For
the
brands
that
carry
on
with
integrity
and
faith,
there
remains
hope.
Not
to
say
that
only
the
small
companies
are
good

there
certainly
are
some
large
brands
which
are
doing
it
right.
But
time
is
bound
to
sort
out
the
greedy
ones
who
only
saw
the
money
from
those
of
us
who
truly
have
a
passion
for
the
plant
and
its
magical
products.

As
we
head
into
this
new
decade,
we
pray
for
peace
and
understanding
to
blossom,
so
that
our
planet
may
survive.
We
have
learned
a
huge
lesson
over
the
past
10
years
and
feel
ready
to
enter
2020
with
great
hope
for
advancement
on
many
levels.
It
won’t
be
easy,
but
it’s
bound
to
be
interesting
and
a
challenge
well
worth
the
effort
if
it
brings
pure
cannabis
to
those
who
need
it.
That
is
our
mission
after
all.

TELL
US,
do
you
feel
pushed
out
of
the
cannabis
industry?

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