As you are well aware, cannabis can at times be a divisive product. That dynamic has been playing itself out in California’s Central Coast, where some in Santa Barbara County have been fighting cannabis cultivation. Earlier this year, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors approved two separate cultivation operations, over the objections of grapegrowers and wineries concerned about potential pesticide drift and smells. (link) In turn, a group of wineries is now suing the Board of Supervisors to overturn these decisions. (link)
I’ve written and spoken for a long time about the interplay between the cannabis and wine industries (e.g., link; link; link), and still believe that, while there is a natural competition as recreational adult consumer products, there is opportunity for collaboration. Suppose a Napa tourist looking for a unique experience at a winery were offered a pairing with specially-curated edibles.
Granted, most of what holds back such collaboration is regulatory – California state and Napa local laws don’t currently allow that tasting room scenario, let alone the possible risk to the winery’s federal alcohol licensing. However, the dispute in Santa Barbara County also highlights the commercial and cultural challenge for the cannabis industry, even as consumer demand and state legalization continue to grow. Cannabis needs all of the friends it can get.