Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry
256 pp., 6 x 9 in,
- Published: November 13, 2018
- Published: November 2, 2018
How the future of post-legalization marijuana farming can be sustainable, local, and artisanal.
What will the marijuana industry look like as legalization spreads? Will corporations sweep in and create Big Marijuana, flooding the market with mass-produced weed? Or will marijuana agriculture stay true to its roots in family farming, and reflect a sustainable, local, and artisanal ethic? In Craft Weed, Ryan Stoa argues that the future of the marijuana industry should be powered by small farms—that its model should be more craft beer than Anheuser-Busch.
To make his case for craft weed, Stoa interviews veteran and novice marijuana growers, politicians, activists, and investors. He provides a history of marijuana farming and its post-hippie resurgence in the United States. He reports on the amazing adaptability of the cannabis plant and its genetic gifts, the legalization movement, regulatory efforts, the tradeoffs of indoor versus outdoor farms, and the environmental impacts of marijuana agriculture. To protect and promote small farmers and their communities, Stoa proposes a Marijuana Appellation system, modeled after the wine industry, which would provide a certified designation of origin to local crops. A sustainable, local, and artisanal farming model is not an inevitable future for the marijuana industry, but Craft Weed makes clear that marijuana legalization has the potential to revitalize rural communities and the American family farm.
As the era of marijuana prohibition comes to an end, now is the time to think about what kind of marijuana industry and marijuana agriculture we want. Craft Weed will help us plan for a future that is almost here.
Most books about the modern marijuana industry are often torn between celebrating legalization's seeming inevitability and sharpening fears about its potential effects. Ryan Stoa's Craft Weed offers something new: a smart, historically accurate, and valuable middle ground that advocates for the benefits of small-scale “craft” cannabis farming as a means of rebuilding America's agricultural heritage and preventing the rise of marijuana monopolies. By tracing the history of how cannabis has long been produced in the United States, Stoa argues against misguided fears of “Big Marijuana” and gives actionable, useful advice for the benefits of developing a local, sustainable industry. Well-written and thoroughly researched, Craft Weed is a must-read for anyone who wants the best for this emerging industry's future.
Emily Dufton, author of Grass Roots: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Marijuana in America
Craft Weed is an insightful investigation into the future of cannabis farming by a gifted and thoughtful writer. A great read!
Linda A. Parker, University of Guelph, author of Cannabinoids and the Brain
It is not often that a new agricultural product enters the legal market. Ryan Stoa offers an insightful overview of how that came to be and how the marijuana market could avoid the ecological and social problems associated with industrial agriculture. It is a hopeful story that should serve as a call to action for those who want products that are sustainably produced and socially just.
Brian K. Obach, Professor of Sociology, State University of New York at New Paltz; author of Organic Struggle: The Movement for Sustainable Agriculture in the United States
Stoa's new work takes a novel look at multiple facets of the marijuana farm and the politics that surround it. As they get caught up in the narrative, readers will learn a ton about the plant, the machinations of government, and parallels with the wine industry. Compelling arguments unfold for why we should support small, family farms in our efforts to preserve our country's communities and ecology while maintaining efficient agricultural markets. I sincerely hope that all levels of government follow his recommendations before it's too late.
Mitch Earleywine, Professor of Psychology, University at Albany, SUNY; author of Understanding Marijuana
...a smart and level-headed assessment of how cannabis agriculture has been shaped and the endless possibilities that lie ahead....Craft Weed is a good read for people who are interested in going beyond the surface of business and learning about some of the other pieces that impact the vulnerable cannabis market.
Stoa writes with authority, and his book appeals to those who want to armor themselves with information about the different directions the marketplace can go.
Stoa's expertise is undeniable.... Given the obvious complexities and persistent misunderstandings of the subject, some degree of cold, hard and detailed objectivity is perhaps necessary. It is when this is mixed with the (noticeably pro-cannabis) personal stories that Stoa peppers throughout, that Craft Weed is at its most accessible and, therefore, more effective at shedding light on an otherwise murky field.
Times Literary Supplement