Cannabis board working to encourage more micro growers to enter the industry

Marijuana leaf (PNC file photo)

The Cannabis Control Board is looking into making requirements less stringent for micro growers of cannabis to enter the industry.

At Wednesday’s cannabis board meeting, it was pointed out that during the public comment period, there were people who did mention that the fees were barriers to being able to come into the business.

CCB member Dafne Shimizu pointed out that the provision on micro growers is unique to adult-use cannabis and is not present in medicinal cannabis.

“Medicinal doesn’t have a type for micro, that’s something that’s unique to adult use. And I think the reason for that was to try to address the issue of, you know, a barrier to entry at least for that particular type of business,” Shimizu said.

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CCB also discussed the area requirement for growing cannabis like having multiple tiers, including one for 500 square feet and below in order to accommodate the micro growers.

CCB board member Adrian Cruz agreed, saying that at the end of the day the CCB is trying to stand up a new industry on Guam and trying to give people the opportunity to add to their income.

“We must offer the possibility of having a smaller operation because people don’t have that kind of money to pay an exorbitant fee and run a huge operation, it’s just not possible for them. I know on the farming side that a lot of these farmers just want to try their hand on cannabis. They don’t want to risk their whole farm and square footage, you know, for a business that they’re not totally sure of. So that’s why we’re for the micro licensees,” Cruz said.

It was also pointed out that 500 square feet is enough for 30 mature cannabis plants and that’s already sufficient for a micro license.

CCB board member William Parkinson said this would be kind of a bridge for people to get into the industry.

“A 500 square foot operation … you know that’s something the layman could do on a smaller budget, with less resources. It’s something that they could get their foot into the industry, and after the first couple years if they’re doing well enough, maybe they move on up to something bigger or maybe they’re happy with their level. But it’s a level that they could get in, where they can see and realize modest returns,” Parkinson said.

CCB director Therese Arriola agreed, saying that this would be like a startup size.

“So I’m totally all for that. “Of course, there’s also going to be the big businesses. But, you know, there’s going to be people who just want to make a little bit of money, you know, extra money and not aim to be millionaires at this. And so this is really a nice way to make sure that those small businesses, if you will, enter the industry.

Parkinson added that a lot of growers take a lot of pride in the quality of their product. “And in some instances, you’re not able to achieve that level of quality, with bigger growers. Sometimes, you need smaller and more specialized growers to achieve a certain type of product,” he said.

Finally, Cruz said he could get on board with vertically integrating a micro business.

“A small mom and pop operation should be able to sell their flower directly,” Cruz said.