Culture

Go inside a huge California pot farm harvest

California's $21 billion commercial cannabis industry begins to go legal on Jan. 1, 2018, when the state must issue first-ever licenses for farms, kitchens, labs and stores. But cannabis has been quasi-legal since 1996, thanks to medical marijuana. In this photo essay, we gathered never-before-seen images of this already robust economy. We also learned that what is considered large-scale or "industrial" for cannabis is, in fact, still hand-crafted and artisanal compared with modern agriculture and manufacturing. Even more than $1 billion in annual taxes, California cannabis is tens of thousands of good, high-paying, middle-class, local jobs that often do not require a college degree. As these photos show, pot’s not some theoretical addition to California's economic dynamism — it's here, it's now and it's got all the momentum.

Take a look around Harborside Farms, the first of four online mega-galleries on GreenState.

— David Downs