Grateful Dead legend Jerry Garcia’s relatives are truckin’ out of California, apparently because the Golden State’s high taxes and anti-business climate are just too harsh on the family’s marijuana business.
Garcia Hand Picked, which the late guitar wizard’s family started in 2020, told SFGate.com the company just can’t make a go of it in the Golden State. An industry expert blamed high taxes, competition from the black market, and soaring crime for the decision to pull out of California.
“We’re taking a pause in California,” a spokesperson for Garcia Hand Picked parent company Holistic Industries said. “We want to ensure California consumers have the highest quality flower for the long term, so we are choosing a new local partner for cultivation, production, sales and distribution of Garcia Hand Picked in CA.”
Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead weed brand is leaving California. Federal law blocks pot companies from deducting most business taxes from their federal taxes, making pot businesses pay an effective federal tax rate as high as 80%. https://t.co/lFj1gFaOH9
— Chronicutopia (@badboychronic) January 29, 2023
Garcia, who died in 1995 at age 53, was born in San Francisco and founded the band there in the 1960s. More than two decades after his death, California legalized recreational marijuana, a policy decision the hard-partying musician would have certainly endorsed.
“This was a hard decision for them, they love California,” cannabis industry expert Andrew DeAngelo told the outlet. “They were born and bred here. This is very painful for them, I guarantee that.”
DeAngelo said the Garcia family is facing the same high-tax, high-crime realities as other Golden State entrepreneurs. Since 2020, California has seen an exodus of high-profile companies, with many going to red states with lower taxes and safer streets.
“Not only is Garcia leaving, a lot of people are leaving,” he said. “It’s a real shame California is losing out.”
The Garcia Hand Picked brand of marijuana will still be sold in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
California, which has a 15% sales tax on marijuana, has reaped over $4 billion in tax revenue since legalizing pot. It also collects money from retail licenses, which can cost $100,000 annually, taxes on growers, and local taxes which are in addition to the state levies. But legal cannabis companies complain that the state doesn’t do enough to crack down on the black market, allowing unfair competition to flourish.
Last November, GreenMarketReport.com warned of a “mass extinction event” for California’s legal pot industry, reporting that licensed companies were carrying unsustainable debt and were unable to pay their bills.
“In the next 12 months, I think half the retailers are going to be in business,” Matt Yamashita, founder of Grizzly Peak, a Bay Area indoor grower and distributor, told the site. “I think 80% of the people in business will be gone. It’s inevitable. The bubble is going to burst.”