In California’s cannabis industry, one of the most well-known winemaking families in the state says he’s “just squeaking by.”
Experts in the wine and cannabis industries have long viewed Mike Benziger of Glentucky Family Farm in southern Sonoma County as a liaison.
But he, like many cannabis businesses, is struggling.
Despite its calming reputation, the marijuana industry is a mess.
In the five years after California voters approved a fully legal cannabis market, growing taxes and regulations have forced numerous industry players out of business.
Amber Senter, a leading proponent of California’s artisanal cannabis market, warned in January that the industry was in peril. Senter is the co-founder and director of the organisation Supernova Women.
Senter argued for a change in California’s marijuana tax structure, citing higher operational and regulatory costs for small farmers and business owners.
Sonoma County Supervisors authorised a temporary exemption from the county’s cannabis cultivation fee late in January. Farmers in Sonoma County have seen cannabis prices plummet as state and municipal taxes have risen or eroded their profits. Even a tax break won’t help.
During a Saturday interview, Danziger listed taxes, overstock, and COVID-19 as major obstacles.
“We barely scrape by here, like many small farmers,” he remarked. Our fate is not fully in our hands, which is unsettling.” “The road has been bumpy, and we can only take so much.”
A building fire in Santa Rosa, California, caused roughly $50,000 in damage.
By mid-2021, the state may have cultivated three times as much cannabis than clients can consume, according to the Humboldt County Growers Alliance. COVID-19 also ordered dispensaries to close in 2020 and early 2021, halting sales.
It’s positive that Benziger feels his family’s reputation in the region has helped sales, even if they’re not wine.
“Our relationship with Benziger Family Winery has been helpful since they are considered as leaders in biodynamic and organic farming and land management,” Benziger added.
His cannabis plantation is also biodynamic. Biodynamic farming also employs organic, often local ingredients in a holistic way.
Because we grow therapeutic herbs, biodynamic certification protects their purity. Our biodynamic certification has given us a competitive advantage.
At Benziger Winery, he learnt the value of long-term client relationships. “We spend a lot of time training and befriending our wonderful friends and clients,” he said.
On Saturday, Benziger held a harvest party for friends, clients, and the general public at Solful Cannabis in Sebastopol, unveiling his farm’s 2021 cannabis supply.
“I can’t wait for this product’s release.” “Solful has always been there for our family,” Benziger said before the ceremony.
Expert in the field David Downs praised Benziger’s product.
In Moraga, St. Mary’s upsets No. 1 Gonzaga.
“A wine country veteran, they utilise an ultra-organic approach, resulting in world-class outdoor cannabis that rivals inside,” stated Downs, a senior editor at Leafly.com.
When growing marijuana indoors, the producer has complete control over temperature, light source, CO2 concentration, and humidity. Indoor cannabis has higher THC concentrations, according to Leafly.com.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” Benziger continues. Marijuana and tomatoes grew in 2021. “Warm, sunny, and dry,” said the organic farmer. On his land he grows veggies as well as cattle.
Our cannabis was sold at a reasonable price and arrived on the market early (in 2021).” Benziger also stated that he aimed to satisfy orders for his other crops.
“We are starting to prepare now for 2023 to learn as much as we can about how to stay on top” in an uncertain market.