They won’t get by.
SFGATE reports that the Garcia Hand Picked marijuana brand, launched in 2020 by the family of late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, one of the most iconic pot smokers in California history, is leaving the state to escape crippling regulations and high taxes under Gov. Gavin Newsom (D., Calif.).
The brand’s exit comes at a time when industry experts are predicting a “mass extinction event” that will put thousands of cannabis firms out of business throughout the Golden State:
Andrew DeAngelo, a cannabis consultant and former owner of Harborside, one of the state’s pioneering medical cannabis dispensaries, said the Garcia brand probably learned the same thing that all of California’s pot companies have realized: “You can’t make any money in this market.”
“Not only is Garcia leaving, a lot of people are leaving,” DeAngelo told SFGATE. “It’s a real shame that California is losing out. We’re losing out on jobs and economic activity and other places are benefiting from that.”
Garcia Hand Picked, like most celebrity brands, contracted out its cannabis growing and manufacturing to partner companies and then stamped Jerry Garcia’s face on the packaging. The company said they are looking for a new cannabis supplier, but declined to be interviewed for this story and did not elaborate on how long the brand would be on hiatus in California. Garcia Hand Picked is still available in five other states.
The report goes on to describe the “huge economic hurdles” the state’s marijuana industry has faced since legal sales began in 2018. (Newsom was sworn in as governor in 2019.) Companies have struggled to turn a profit on Newsom’s watch due to California’s “complicated cannabis regulations and high taxes,” not to mention the state’s out-of-control real estate prices. The legal marijuana industry is also struggling to compete with unlicensed growers who undercut the market by breaking the law. Rather than cracking down on these illegal operations, the state government has helped them thrive by relaxing penalties in the name of racial equity.
Newsom, who announced in November he would not challenge President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination in 2024, is going to run for president at some point. A politician capable of feeling shame might think twice before attempting to tout his record as governor of a deep-blue state that residents and businesses alike are fleeing at a record pace. Fortunately, that won’t be a problem for Newsom.