The following is from a concerned Sonoma County resident that wishes to remain anonymous at this point .This is an opinion piece on the upcoming “economic” report soon to be published.
Wine & Water Watch supports sensible regulations that protect our community and environment.
“Garrett said their estimates put the value of the 2018 overall county cannabis harvest at about $230 million based on state licensing data and their industry standards for yield, and valued it at about $900 per pound. That’s down from between $1.5 billion to $3 billion annual value they calculated previously through interviews and surveys with industry experts.”
Actually, he stated previously the annual value was $3.5 billion. They also use a higher wholesale value, $900 a pound, than what is currently reported, $500. I’m assuming they are including all harvests, legal and black market. If so, you really can’t blame the drop is solely based on slow permitting because black market, for obvious reasons, doesn’t need a permit. Once again, early estimates by Mr. Garrett were inflated. Either Sonoma County did a great job shutting down some 4,000 -9,000 illegal grows (they did not), or thousands of growers moved out of Sonoma County, or just maybe the number of actual growers was simply wrong (unless you count every person, including those that just grew 5-6 plants, as a grower).
Fact is most of the existing growers were simply not going to be able to transition into an open market place, their business model, growing in their home, is not a viable operation. Works good when everything is illegal and you can sell to anyone but once everyone can buy legally and there are true legal, large operations, growing in your home is no longer profitable. Add the most basic fact that Terry doesn’t like to address, high legal production means lower wholesale value. Mom and Pop could make a little money when it was worth $1,500 – $2,000 a pound tax free but can not make much when it drops to $500 and are paying taxes, licenses and fees to operate legally.
Terry wanted 500 acres in Sonoma County. It’s estimated there is some 20 or so acres here now and the price has dropped to $500, what would the wholesale value be if you multiplied the amount of product available by 25 (20 acres x 25 = 500 acres)? All told, there are only some 280 acres between Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity, Lake, and Sonoma Counties. That was one of the key points I tried to make, Terry and others inside Sonoma County looked at the existing illegal market as the business model going forward, everything would be grown and bought here and then we would take over the California market. But once legal (and legal to transport statewide), you now have to compete with all of California production. This whole idea that somehow Sonoma County was going to be the premier producer and supplier throughout the State was fantasy.
Not a whole lot of objective thought in Sonoma County at the moment.