99 plants. You hear that number or phrase often in California. The reason you hear it often is because of Mandatory Minimum federal sentencing guidelines (and yes they do apply in California). 100 plants yields a 5 year federal prison sentence or 10 years for 1000 plants, no if’s, and’s or but’s. (DISCLAIMER! this is not legal advice and I’m not an attorney). And thats why you see weedmaps covered in retailers like dispensaries and delivery services but not clone stores. Historically people have been extremely unwilling to operate and advertise a clone business because of the fear of a 10 year mandatory minimum prison sentence.
In order to run a good clone operation you need lots of plants. Dozens if not hundreds of mother plants and thousands of clones in various stages of propagation. Growers want superior genetics and strong healthy starter plants so clone operations need the ability to cull out weak plants. As well as have a large stock of inventory to satisfy the on demand needs of growers (rarely do growers give enough notice for their orders and orders change often). All of this results in well more than 1000 plants being on the premises at one time.
“Well what about Colorado?” I hear it all the time. “Growers in Colorado and other states are doing 500 light operations with thousands of plants with no federal raids” But Colorado is a “Highly Regulated” cannabis market. Highly Regulated meaning they have local and state licenses, strict rules to abide by, and plenty of enforcement officers to make sure licensees are compliant, much like other sensitive industries such as alcohol. California is lacking these rules and rule enforcers and because of that the fed’s treated California differently. Until now.
With the passing of SB 94 and a slew of other cannabis regulation bills that have cleared the state legislator in the last 2 years we now have our own “Highly Regulated” cannabis market in California (or will soon enough anyways). So operators can now reevaluate the the risk of operating a clone only or “Nursery” license. The cannabis business is ripe with opportunity but the cannabis nursery license is in a league of its own. Artificially stifled (even by California standards) this sector of the industry could explode with growth. A perfect storm of 80 years of prohibition, antiquated mandatory minimum sentences and the unique operating requirement make the timing on this sector incredible.