Kentucky Cannabis Needs Unlimited Licensing
One of the major conversations in Cannabis right now lies in how Cannabis licensing occurs, and Who gets to get one. The answer is anyone with the desire, some seeds, and a clean patch of soil to tend.
Many have pointed to crashing prices as a reason to limit licensing and protect the profits of a nascent industry. The problem is that this only benefits shareholders in large Agri-Businesses.
In Kentucky, Cannabis was originally turned to as tobacco and crop prices crashed, and the market consolidated under a select few brands: Philip Morris, Monsanto-Bayer, Etc. This not only destroyed genetic diversity across the board, but pigeonholed small farmers into competing simply based on scale with larger operations.
Now we’re running it back again in Cannabis.
The only way for small farms to survive is for direct to consumer sales to be legalized. Not only this, small farms under an acre, perhaps even two, should be allowed to process, package, and distribute said cannabis. Not only would this allow small farmers to sell products tailored to the needs of their local community, but keep prices low for customers, and profits high for farmers.
As we’ve seen in Illinois, and as I can personally attest having worked through the recreational market, Multi-State Operators (MSOs) lead to moldy products, on a mass scale, and artificially inflated prices for medical patients and recreational customers alike. Not only this, it brings in a huge amount of corruption as we’ve seen with the recent sentencing of Trulieve’s CEO’s husband, who was caught in an FBI sting bragging about how much they had bribed Florida officials. And yet were allowed to keep the license.
If you have the ability to make a living by growing and selling cannabis at a small scale. You should be allowed to. As a right, and as a piece of common sense. When I can consume alcohol on the shelf, an actual chemical poison, and can’t pick up a cannabis product, the bizarro world becomes even more bizarre.
And that’s the sticking point: Making a living versus maximizing resource extraction. With the devastation of the opioid crisis still rocking southern Appalachia at the highest rates of any region in the country, why would it be a good idea to turn to outside pharmaceutical companies yet again? Especially when it is patently false that they have the best interests of their customers and communities at heart, or even in the conversation.
Bigger is better, ain’t a point of pride, It’s a flat falsehood.
If you want to know the truth, I trust the person down the street to sell me a clean quality product, way more than any MSO. And with supply chains the way they are, way shorter and more likely to stay in good condition. Look at the litany of bribery changes, mass recalls of contaminated and moldy products to medical patients, corporate backroom deals for stock, bribery of public officials, all against MSOs in the last few years. The list goes on. Most without even turning a profit.
It’s not that I think big businesses shouldn’t exist. I just believe in an even playing field. If you’re scared, say you’re scared. If your product is too poor quality to sell, and too high cost to produce, maybe you need to do your homework and try again.
Licensing should be done under a one per customer viewpoint so that, as we’ve seen under other large businesses, small licenses can’t be stacked to exploit loopholes in the path to market for those most able to pay up. In many states, a limited number of licenses ends up consolidating under a limited number of companies with no further licenses being issued. Not only does this crush any sort of competition, but creates a ready made monopoly. It also hurts the states that have MSOs.
Tons of customers flock to states like Michigan with actual variety and quality in a lot of products. At better prices as well. Kentucky needs to look at caregiver laws in Michigan, craft farming up to an acre direct to consumer, and deregulating small businesses, while cracking down on major operations.
As a young person in cannabis especially, and as someone who’s constantly told that their generation is lazy and uninvested, I can tell you that we’re here and ready to rock. I have many friends who would love to open up a small farm and sell the work of their hands. And are able to do so which is the kicker!
None of this is new to farmers however. From eggs, to apples, and everything else, farmers have always fought large business interests for the ability to even compete. Not based on an open market, under the same expectations, but just the ability to enter the market period.
Larger MSOs and Investors are scared of small farmers. And rightfully so.
MSOs make a worse product, less efficiently, and with less regard for the land and communities that write their checks.
They just have better lawyers and accountants.
In Kentucky’s transition to a legal market, and eventually recreational, Cannabis should be grown by Kentuckians, and should be profited from by Kentuckians of any size. Not just out of state gatekeepers.