The Return of the ‘Legacy’ Cannabis Farmer?
<![CDATA[No matter the exact cause, from post-COVID economic volatility to the marked financial doldrums of cannabis stocks, there are signs support for the “legacy farmer” is on an upswing. Legacy farmers are proving to be an enduring competition for the regulated and certified market. According to the 2021 International Cannabis Policy Study, about 43% of all American cannabis sales still go to the illicit market, although this figure varies greatly by state. Calculations based on total consumption and legal sales suggest that between 60% and 75% of the sales in California, for example, are not coming from the regulated legal sector of the industry but, rather, legacy farmers supplying the illicit market.Outside of North America, this is also a regular discussion as reform goes global.Who Are Legacy Farmers?Within the context of the U.S., this term generally refers to those who have grown cannabis for several decades, often since the change in California state law to allow medical use.Overseas, in Europe, Africa and Asia, the definitions and specifics differ by country and context, but generally end up meaning the same thing. Namely the term refers to a small, non-corporate, often family-run farming operation that has been passed down through generations even if not specifically focused on cannabis historically.For this reason, it is interesting to understand how this movement is expanding internationally.North AmericaU.S. – According to Steve Bevan, a partner in OCan Group LLC, a cannabis strategy and consulting firm dedicated to creating strong, sustainable cannabis supply chains in both the U.S. and globally, “The ‘legacy market’ as Americans would understand the term is the current illicit market. It is the good old boys, the rural hill growers and the southern cartels. That infrastructure stretches from cultivation through distribution networks.” Beyond this, Bevan says, “Customers are happy with legacy product. It is…
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