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Wine Country

In 1976, two California wines came in first place in a Parisian tasting, much to the entire world’s surprise. The Spanish planted the first vines in 1769, so the farmers around here had some experience. The international recognition led to expanding the California market considerably, while Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia quickly followed suit.

West Coast wine is a very large market world-wide today.

In 1996 California voters approved Proposition 215 which “legalized” marijuana for medical reasons. Once the basic law was passed, the state failed in developing any regulations, supervising the market, or levying taxes. That led to what is described as a “wild west” market that clandestinely served the state’s populace and most of the US, a very large market whose even approximate size is not known.

In 2016 California voters passed Proposition 64, fully legalizing and defining the parameters for an efficient market place for anyone wishing to be a customer. Anticipating 64’s passage the legislature put together a set of laws governing medical marijuana, 20 years after they were first presented with the chance to define the market, and collect taxes.

Prop 64 takes affect in January, 2018. So do the medical laws. Hence the state of California is currently writing regulations, passing laws, and setting tax rates on two parallel paths.

When Washington, Colorado, and Oregon came online with their regulated markets, some duly state-licensed farmers and retailers are prevented from operating due to difficult local zoning regulations or even complete bans by counties and towns. California saw this phenomena and set things up so that a local permit is required as part of the application process for a state license. I’m not sure this will address the problem, just make it different.

Consequently every county and town in the state (tens of thousands) are debating and writing regulations less they are forced to accept the state rules in January 2018. It’s hard to ignore the chatter in local news, where ever you go in the area.

Cannabis has been around wine country and north up in the Emerald Triangle for many decades, so it’s baked into the culture around here.

For those whom I’ve been titling my posts so they wouldn’t waste their time on subjects they weren’t interested in, I will be dropping that nicety. Basically, everything in this region of the country has to with pot, from government affairs to the lifestyles. And it’s a particularly significant time in the history of cannabis so I’ll be writing about it a lot.

Tomorrow I go to Calistoga and then the rains will start.

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