Weed and hemp growers say they’re being excluded from the state’s drought plans

Cannabis growers are already struggling to stay afloat in the Golden State. Now they’ve been excluded from a $268 million farming assistance plan to address the state’s drought.

The plan would pay farmers to forgo planting this year in an effort to save water. Crops like rice and alfalfa are on the list, but cannabis and hemp are not.

“It’s an unfortunate double standard that some farmers are deemed worthy of receiving this kind of support, but cannabis farmers, who are still fighting to have cultivating cannabis plants recognized as agriculture, are in a position where they have no ability to pause their operations and their tax burden without endangering their ability to remain in the licensed market,” Michael Katz, Executive Director of the Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, told Marijuana Business Daily.

“If we don’t see more support programs that factor in the drought … we will see the continuing loss of small independent cannabis businesses.”

The state says it is still working on the policy and could add more farming sectors to the list.

According to the Department of Water Resources, the first three months of 2022 were the driest on record. A recent report from the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) warns that California’s drought will cause increased pressure on the agricultural sector over the next year, resulting in more widespread challenges and greater restrictions.