There seems to be much confusion on how much weed a person or organization can grow for recreational purposes in California starting on January 1, 2018. The most recent “law”, not regulation (see my recent blog on “What is the Difference Between Proposed and Binding Regulations”), that is binding on this issue is SB 94 which was enacted into law on July 15, 2017.
This law reads in pertinent part:
SB-94 Cannabis: medicinal and adult use.
Section 26061 of the Business and Professions Code is amended to read:
(2) Type 5A, or “indoor,” means for indoor cultivation using exclusively artificial lighting greater than 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premise.
(3) Type 5B, or “mixed-light,” means for cultivation using a combination of natural and supplemental artificial lighting at a maximum threshold to be determined by the licensing authority, greater than 22,000 square feet, inclusive, of total canopy size on one premise.
(c) No Type 5, Type 5A, or Type 5B cultivation licenses may be issued before January 1, 2023.
This law seems to indicate that until January 1, 2023, people cannot obtain Type 5 licenses, so the maximum amount of land an individual or organization can use for the cultivation of cannabis is the limits proscribed by the medium (type 3) license delineated in SB 94 which only allows a maximum growth of 22,000 square feet.
The Cannabis regulations that were released on November 16, 2017 reconfirmed that only small and medium-size grow licenses will be issued between 2018 and 2023 (for up to quarter-acre and one-acre grows, respectively). This statement should be of no surprise to anyone because state regulations cannot overturn state law; such regulations can only clarify state law.
However, according to the article; “California’s Limit on Big Growers Just Vanished. Here’s Why” published by Leafly on December 8, 2017, (https://www.leafly.com/news/politics/californias-limit-on-big-growers-just-vanished-heres-why) asserts that the regulations did say that while medium-size licenses are limited to one per person or organization, there is now no limit to the number of small-size licenses any person or commercial entity may obtain. In other words, you can only apply for one medium sized license (or type 3 license) which will allow you to grow up to 22,000 square feet and are prevented from obtaining a large (Type 5) license which would let you grow beyond 22,000 square feet. However, according to this article, you can apply for more than one small (Type 2) license that allows you to grow up to 10,000 square feet. Therefore, if you apply for ten small (Type 2) licenses, you could theoretically develop 100,000 square feet of Cannabis.
This situation begs the question: why have medium (Type 3) or large (Type 5) licenses at all, when you can simply apply for multiple small licenses that would allow you to surpass any size restrictions medium (Type 3) or large (Type 5) license could place on your grow. In addition, the limitations of just being able to obtain one medium (Type 3) license and no large (Type 6) licenses until 2023 are absurd because you can get as many small (Type 3) licenses as you want. Under this system why would anyone ever even apply for a medium (Type 3) or a large (Type 5) license at all?
There is clearly something rotten in the State of Denmark (or California in this case). If what the above quoted article is saying is accurate, then medium (Type 3) licenses and large (Type 5) licenses should be eliminated because they serve absolutely no purpose.