By James Rainey
SALINAS, Calif. — This state has long been dubbed America’s salad bowl, because of the ability of California’s industrial-scale farms to produce food in mass quantities. Beginning this year, it will also begin widespread legal production of a very different crop.
The grower of more than one-third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts is expected to begin providing an outsize share of its marijuana, after the drug became legal for recreational use on Jan. 1. But it’s still not clear who will produce all that pot: small growers, who have been cultivating it for years; big agribusiness, with the resources for mass production; or the black market, which will probably ignore the state’s expensive new growing rules.
That uncertainty is because marijuana remains illegal under federal law and will be highly taxed and expensive to produce under California law. That could slow the state from taking a leading production role nationally, at least for legal cannabis, in the near term.
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