Strategies for Compliance
Hekia Bodwitch and Michael Polson, two of our researchers, are working on a survey project to explore what factors positively and negatively affect cannabis farmers throughout the permitting process. Polson says, “We want to know what kind of qualities enable people to comply [with regulations], and where people are failing or stalling out.” The project is focused on farmers on the northern coast of California, but the survey is being released all across the state.
To dig deeper, Polson and Bodwitch are asking, “What were the most challenging barriers for farmers who were able to get through the process? Does the process have the environmental effects that it is supposed to have? Are cultivators always able to be environmentally sensitive?” Additionally, the prohibitory history of cannabis has historically created negative feelings in farmers toward regulations, which adds another layer of difficulty in encouraging compliance. As Polson describes, “There is still a lot of stigma hanging over cannabis. Even if it’s not literally criminal it can still be regarded as ‘bad’, which can lead to a sort of probationary period that requires farmers to prove themselves to be good for compliance.”
This project emerged out of a concern among farmers and their representatives that there are a lot of barriers to entry, such as high costs and difficulty navigating regulation processes. According to Polson, “Up until now, land use regulations on cannabis have mostly focused on environmental impacts of growing, and the voices of cultivators themselves have been missing from the conversation”. Polson and Bodwtich believe that bringing the personal experiences of both regulated and unregulated cultivators to light, particularly in quantifiable ways, will enhance an understanding of the factors that influence compliance decisions and facilitate more effective policymaking.
Are you a cannabis farmer and want to take the survey? Let us hear your voice, click here: https://www.ucanr.edu/sites/compliance/
By Leah Jones | July 14, 2019.