We hear it all the time:

“You should go recreational. California legalized cannabis over two years ago!
Why can’t anyone over 21 come into a Calaveras Cannabis retailer?
Why do YOU still require a recommendation?”

Good question.

The answer is that California allowed all jurisdictions to decide whether or not they want to allow Medical, Adult Use (recreational), both, or none at all when it comes to cannabis businesses, even though there’s no difference between the two when it comes to taxes or potency. See also: What’s “Medical Only”? It started out with many governments choosing to either ban or limit sale to Medical Only — but now, a year into regulations, more are reversing their bans every day, and less than 10 percent of California retailers are Medical Only!

Does that seem rational to you? Why are Calaveras residents (and visitors) forced to spend money on a medical card just for something like a minor sprain, PMS, Monday blues, temporary insomnia, or the countless other reasons that adults might choose to use cannabis that fall in between the definition of “recreational” and “medical”? Why are we giving Calaveras residents (and visitors) a great reason (yet again) to travel out of county to purchase goods and services, and thus losing out on valuable tax dollars?

Imagine that you had to have a special license (aka a “Dr’s Recommendation”) to purchase a bottle of ibuprofen – or a bottle of wine – in Calaveras County. Having that license wouldn’t qualify you for a tax exemption or get you a stronger product. It all might seem a little outrageous and unnecessary to you! So you might just find yourself doing more shopping out of town instead – somewhere that doesn’t have such silly, arbitrary restrictions on your personal shopping preferences.

Local controversies and misunderstandings have ruled the day.

The cultivation ban has, so far, dominated all attention in regards to Calaveras’ cannabis problems. But as things rapidly evolve throughout the state, there’s an urgent need for Calaveras officials to keep up with these changes and allow any adult over the age of 21 to purchase a reasonable amount of legal, lab tested, state regulated cannabis from within the county.

And we do mean urgent.

Here at Little Trees, every day we turn would-be patrons away for the simple reason that they haven’t paid $39 to an unknown doctor on the internet. Most are shocked to learn that medical-only is still a thing anywhere in California. On slower days, the number of people we turn away is more than the number of sales. And as the summer approaches, vacationers arrive to Calaveras from their adult-use hometowns, many that used to wait till they got to Arnold to stock up on their cannabis for their stay here (yes, many tourists enjoy cannabis just as much as they enjoy wine) and now have much less incentive to do so. The local black market is flourishing, thanks to not only the medical restriction, but the influx of illegal grows and manufacturing sites that riddle the county thanks to the Ban. The medical-only rule is completely arbitrary and unfair to not only the three licensed retailers in our county, but the entire population of Calaveras who could be benefiting from Measure C tax revenue. It doesn’t benefit the County in any way in fact, and we hope it’s changed soon.