As corporate cultivation operations in California continue to expand, small cannabis growers in the Golden State are banding together to develop cooperatives in an attempt to gain a competitive edge against their large-scale rivals.
Co-ops present pros and cons for smaller marijuana growers. But those who are making the move point to these factors:
By joining forces, modest-sized farmers can offer a steadier supply of cannabis to distributors and retailers.
Growers can market their products more consistently via a cooperative model.
Cultivators can share resources to lower their operating costs.
“The purpose of this is to unite all farms that are trying to work cooperatively to gain greater market share,” said Daniel Fink, owner and operator of Down OM Farms in Nevada County, California.
Fink also is the founder of Grass Valley Growers Cannabis Cooperative, which has eight members and anticipates cultivating roughly 70,000 square feet of cannabis this year.
“If we’re able to collectively market our product, we’re able to secure greater shelf space,” he added.
“With the force of the cooperative, we’ll be able to approach retailers and distributors with a consistent and quality-controlled supply.”
California regulations limit individual members of a cannabis collective to 10,000 square feet of canopy and a total of 4 acres, or 174,240 square feet, per co-op.
The move in California toward co-ops comes as some businesses are acquiring dozens of small-grow licenses in one cultivation area and bundling them together to create large-scale corporate operations. The practice is known as “license stacking.”
“A lot of the legacy farmers in California are being pushed right out of the system in exchange for license-stacking mega-farms,” Fink noted.