California drought plan could exclude cannabis as growers prepare for dry summer says MJ Biz

They report

Heading into another brutally dry summer, struggling cannabis growers in California could be excluded from the state’s latest assistance plan to save water.

A proposal by Gov. Gavin Newsom would pay farmers to not plant crops, known as fallowing, this year as drought conditions worsen.

The plan with some of the state’s largest water providers earmarks $268 million in upfront payments for voluntarily leaving fields uncultivated, or fallowing.

The area targeted is near two critical watersheds that emanate from the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Northern California.

The fallowing proposal aims to cut production of water-intensive crops such as rice, alfalfa and nuts.

Some advocates are upset cannabis hasn’t been placed on the list.

“It’s an unfortunate double standard that some farmers are deemed worthy of receiving this kind of support, but cannabis farmers, who are still fighting to have cultivating cannabis plants recognized as agriculture, are in a position where they have no ability to pause their operations and their tax burden without endangering their ability to remain in the licensed market,” said Michael Katz, executive director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance.

“If we don’t see more support programs that factor in the drought … we will see the continuing loss of small independent cannabis businesses.”

The state’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) pointed out that the policy is still being developed.

“It is our understanding these policies are in their preliminary stages of discussion and development and have not defined sectors they will be allocated to,” DCC spokesperson Maria Luisa Cesar said.


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