Following the passage of Proposition 64 which legalized recreational cannabis, there was significant excitement surrounding the potential for a legal and regulated cannabis industry in California. However, the development of the guidelines for cannabis cultivation has undergone significant delays as the state works to build infrastructure for a commodity which is still federally prohibited. The July-December 2019 issue of the research publication from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, California Agriculture, highlights multiple components for the development of legal cannabis in California. The special issue details the history of cannabis in the state, as well as some of the research being conducted on various aspects of cannabis.
Because cannabis is still illegal under federal regulation, it significantly limits the scope and magnitude of the type of research that can be conducted. Researchers must be mindful of what areas of cannabis can be looked into while still abiding by the Controlled Substances Act. Further complicating matters is the funding support that was allocated to further research on cannabis has yet to arrive as the guidelines for distributing funding have still not been completed. UC cannabis research is forging on despite the challenges, particularly in the areas of production practices, the economics of the cannabis industry in California, and the types of impacts that cannabis is having on communities.
Some of the cannabis research highlighted in California Agriculture includes the first known survey conducted by UC Cooperative Extension researchers looking at production practices of registered and unregistered cannabis growers. Some of the economic research of the cannabis industry includes the evaluation of the cost of mandatory testing for cannabis, as well as results from a study of price patterns at California cannabis retailers. Other research explores the demographics of cannabis farmers, the characteristics of farms that are applying for cultivation permits, and what the agricultural community believes about cannabis farming.