California’s Vertical Agriculture Market and Marijuana

California is a massive producer of not just marijuana to the United States but vegetables and other produce as well. The huge economy in California produces a third of our nation’s vegetables, two-thirds of our fruits and nuts and four-fifths of the marijuana distributed throughout the country.

The big differences is that the produce California distributes to the country is legal but the marijuana is illegal. It will stay that way until marijuana is legalized nationally, but the current administration is unlikely to permit that anytime soon, in fact they are moving farther away from national legalization.

California is already an outsize contributor of black-market marijuana for the rest of the country, with more than four-fifths of the 13.5 million pounds grown in the state last year ending up in other markets, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture. Much of that marijuana has come from the Emerald Triangle, in the verdant northern reaches of the state. Estimates suggest the state has produced as much as 80 percent of the nation’s illicit marijuana.

Steve DeAngelo, the executive director of Harborside in Oakland, one of the state’s biggest cannabis dispensaries, and also a partner in a marijuana cultivation venture, hopes that the state can take nearly as dominant a position as legal use spreads across the country.

“I see it as California’s natural legacy, its destiny,” he said, “to supply 50 percent of the legal U.S. cannabis market.”

Players who hope to strike it big in the state’s newly legalized environment — under a ballot measure approved by voters in November 2016 — are setting up farms throughout California, from former flower hothouses in the Salinas Valley, to Silicon Valley warehouses, to farms in the high desert community of California City.

It is rather amazing that technology and science has allowed California to dominate the agriculture business in the United States the way that it does. Will California endanger its entire economy unless it curbs the illegal distribution of marijuana to other sates?

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