The start of June not only marks the beginning of Atlantic hurricane season but here on the West Coast it’s the official date you really hope you finished selling all your weed from last year.
Why? The deps are coming.
Mixed-light or light deprivation grown cannabis is a staple of the California cannabis market. And while there are light-assisted drops year-round, this is the biggest dep-centric one. Farmers use tarp and pulley systems made from varying degrees of technology to block sunlight and manually induce the plants’ flowering cycle. This lets them get two runs compared to the one run that full-term plants get on a natural light cycle.
The June harvest across the state is always one of the biggest. While not to the scale of the fall harvest that combines the second round of deps with the full-term harvest, it’s massive. It’s a major date on the calendar when understanding a product that has crashed in value over the last six years, much to the devastation of the communities it once backboned with billion-dollar crops.
But will it matter as much in 2022? Now two years into the perpetual flood, that’s a very reasonable question. Many farmers across California weighed in privately to me on this one. They came from both the legal market and those who haven’t made the transition. Everyone essentially believes we are witnessing rock bottom. But there are things that could have an impact on temporary price fluxes.
How Many People Are Freezing AAA Deps
More people are freezing awesome weed. Will enough people freeze awesome weed to impact the price of the rest of it? At the absolute highest end of the marketplace, maybe. There is a lot of extra work that goes into processing hash-producing material that would be great smoke much of the time. There are probably less than 15 farms with the most commercially viable material and there are more and more solventless companies popping up every year that want that material. You’ll end up paying a pinch extra to smoke it, but not much. Times are too brutal and nobody can be greedy.
Enforcement Outside California
Word of enforcement efforts hitting places like Oklahoma and Oregon has not fallen on deaf ears in California. Some hope the hooks they lost to Oregon or East Coast growers will come calling. That’s not beyond the realm of possibility, but it’s going to be tough. That being said, ignorance is bliss, right? If Billy from Ohio doesn’t know the new prices, you might just be going to Costa Rica this year after all.
How Many Returned to The Underground Market Locally
How many people went back to the trap life, as the kids put it? A lot. Being a licensed cannabis business in California is brutal between permit fees, taxes, and dealing with bummer municipalities. People talk about the impact Ghost Distros have in diverting product to the black market from METRC, but why be a ghost distro when you can be a ghost everything! The margins are better to just grow the weed illegally and mail it yourself than create an ecosystem of businesses to divert legal cannabis outside California.
Some people have already priced their product as low as they can go in hopes of staying afloat. The massive jump in fuel prices will hit them hard. We’ve reached the point in all this where filling the tank on an F250 pickup truck and buying a pound of decent outdoor marijuana are at the same price. It’s fair to expect some people will need to bump prices just because they’ve gone so low and fuel costs were just different math at the time.