Death Knell For California's Once Promising Cannabis Industry? Why Jerry Garcia's Weed Brand Is Pulling Out

Death Knell For California's Once Promising Cannabis Industry? Why Jerry Garcia's Weed Brand Is Pulling Out

Jerry Garcia was the lead guitarist, vocalist and main songwriter for the Grateful Dead, the most successful touring band in rock and roll history. He was also one of the best-known weed advocates and consumers in California’s history. 

Garcia’s family launched a weed brand in his honor in 2020, called Garcia Hand Picked. Now, less than three years later, the brand has pulled out of its birthplace, California, a spokesperson confirmed to SFGATE.

“We're taking a pause in California,” said the brand’s parent company, Holistic Industries, in an email to SFGATE. Like many celebrity weed brands, Garcia Hand Picked outsources its growing and manufacturing to other companies but now says they're looking for a new cannabis supplier to stay afloat in California.

“We want to ensure CA consumers have the highest quality flower for the long term, so we are in the process of choosing a new local partner for cultivation, production, sales and distribution of Garcia Hand Picked in CA.” 

Weed farms across California are struggling to make it as state taxes keep rising and regulations become unmanageable. SFGATE referred to what industry experts predict could become a “mass extinction event” with thousands of companies going under or pulling out of California this year.

What’s Going On In California?

Andrew DeAngelo, cannabis consultant and former owner of Harborside HBORF, one of California’s first medical cannabis dispensaries, said the Garcia Brand most likely learned what all of California’s cannabis companies are realizing. “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.”

Has The Mass Extinction Begun?

Last week, Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. CURLF CURA announced it was closing the majority of its operations in California, Colorado and Oregon as part of its effort to streamline business, optimize operations and reduce costs. 

Why? Nothing new here: California’s complicated cannabis regulations and high taxes are sinking legal operators while illicit farms and retailers undercut legitimate companies. Limited access to banking is forcing cannabis companies to pay exorbitant fees for simple services. They also have practically no access to loans or insurance and no business deductions on their federal taxes, which puts some companies into a range where they’re paying tax rates as high as 80%.  

To say the situation has become untenable is an understatement. 

At first, the small legacy cannabis farms began to fold and now it seems even the large multistate operators are leaving California.

Photo: Courtesy of Garcia Hand Picked

Posted In: CannabisNewsMarketsCaliforniaCannabis TaxesCuraleafGarcia Hand PickedJerry Garcia


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