Read the final report for our DCC funded project:


“Transformation of Unregulated Cannabis Cultivation Under Proposition 64”

An oversupply of cannabis and high regulatory costs results in an unlicensed market. Based on over 150 extended interviews with people involved with cannabis cultivation in three regions of California, this report documents and interprets the persistence and transformation of unlicensed cultivation since legalization.

In this report, we first give a historical overview of the unlicensed market from its first prohibition in 1913 until 2021, just before the inauguration of this research. We then review our methodological approach, detail 33 findings, and present an interpretive discussion of these findings.

We advance a number of recommendations that:

  • Reform Enforcement Approaches to an Altered Cultivation Sector
  • Place Limits on Local Control
  • Address Fallout from Wholesale Cannabis Price Crash on Affected Cultivators and Communities
  • Widen Pathways to Licensure through Fair, Accessible Licensing and Permitting Systems
  • Create Consistent Agricultural Policy toward Cannabis to Stabilize Markets and Prices.


 Click the image to read the report!




Read the final report for our DCC funded project:


“Cannabis Bans, Local Control,  the Effects & Efficacy of Prop 64”

Did you know that the majority of California’s population now lives in ban jurisdictions?

 Although adult-use cannabis was legalized by state voters in 2016, most localities opted to ban its cultivation.

Today, over two-thirds of localities in California still ban commercial cannabis cultivation.

 Our 2 year research project consisted of four in-depth case studies of “ban counties,” including Siskiyou, San Bernardino, Yuba, and Napa Counties. We conducted in-person ethnographic research (interviews and observations) with over 150 people!

Our report narrates the history of local control and cannabis cultivation bans, an overview of project methodology, four case study analyses, cross-county findings, and policy recommendations.

 Click the image to read the report!


Current Research Grants from

the Department of Cannabis Control

Grants awarded to UC Berkeley in 2023 from our state’s cannabis regulatory body, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC)

1. Understanding Investment, Operating Pressures, and Anti-Competitive Characteristics in the Cannabis Industry.

Summary: This project will examine whether and to what degree monopolistic and anti-competitive tendencies are emerging in the cannabis industry, the overall patterns of investment and ownership that threaten the competitive landscape of the California cannabis economy, the protective factors that enable small and equity businesses to withstand predatory behaviors, and the current and potential policies that are effective in preventing anti-competitive behaviors.


2. Licensed and Unlicensed Cultivation Across Banned and Permitted Jurisdictions.

Summary: This study will provide the first empirical assessments of unlicensed production amounts and geography over time; identify what policies are correlated with growth or diminution of unlicensed cultivation; estimate total unlicensed market product, including leakage from the licensed to unlicensed market; and test whether cultivation bans or permits are more effective at preventing unlicensed cultivation and environmental harms.


3. Hmong diasporas and cannabis: medicinal use, criminal justice consequences, and farm structure across licensed and unlicensed geographies.

Summary: Hmong farmers have become central in debates about cannabis cultivation and medical cannabis access in California. This community engaged research builds on 6+ years of relationship and trust building with Hmong farmers who grow crops that include cannabis. The research will explore four themes: 1) Hmong medicinal cannabis uses, cultivation practices, and traditional ethnobotanical and medicinal plant histories; 2) Hmong farmer migrations and diasporas; 3) Hmong interactions with criminal justice systems, particularly environmentally based law enforcement; and 4) capital and labor dynamics on Hmong cannabis farms. Research will be primarily ethnographic and participatory, using methods such as in-depth interviews and photovoice. In addition to both ban and permit localities in California, we will conduct research activities in other regions to query Hmong diasporas and agrarian migrations, such as Minnesota, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.