Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead herbal brand leaves California

Jerry Garcia is one of the most famous pot smokers in California history. Born in San Francisco, Garcia led The Grateful Dead for 30 years as the city became an international beacon of counterculture, and he did it all while smoking weed casually and publicly. for him bowl tube It is considered a California artifact hemp History.

But even the famous Jerry Garcia name couldn’t survive in the turbulent California legal market.

A spokesperson for Garcia Hand Picked, which was launched in 2020 by the deceased musician’s family, has confirmed its withdrawal from the state. Garcia’s exit comes as a cannabis insider prediction A “mass extinction event” for the utensil industry is in California, with thousands of businesses expected to go out of business this year.

Andrew DeAngelo, a cannabis consultant and former owner of Harborside, one of the leading medical cannabis dispensaries in the state, said Garcia’s brand probably learned the same thing that all California pot makers have: “You can’t make any money in this market.”

“Not only is Garcia leaving, but a lot of people are leaving,” DeAngelo told SFGATE. “It’s a shame that California is losing. We’re losing jobs and economic activity and other places are benefiting from that.”

Garcia hand pickedIt, like most popular brands, has contracted to grow and manufacture cannabis to partner companies and then stamped Jerry Garcia’s face on the packaging. The company said it was looking for a new supplier of cannabis, but declined to be interviewed for this story and did not say how long the brand would take to stop in California. Garcia Hand Picked is still available in five other states.

“We are pausing in California. We want to ensure CA consumers receive the highest quality flowers for the long term, so we are in the process of selecting a new local partner to grow, produce, sell and distribute Garcia Hand Picked in California,” a spokesperson for Holistic Industries, the brand’s parent company, said in a statement. An email to SFGATE.

California’s cannabis industry faced huge economic hurdles in its first four years of legal sales. Complex state cannabis regulations and high taxes add costs to legal operators, while Widespread Illegal farms and retailers undermine legitimate businesses. The limited access to banking services means that these companies pay exorbitant fees for simple banking services and have almost no access to loans. Federal law prohibits able companies from deducting most business taxes from their federal taxes, making betting companies pay an effective federal tax rate. up to 80%.

These factors have combined to make California a painful place to run a legal business. The majority of old small hemp farms are On their way out of work And even the country The largest cannabis companies They leave the state.

“It’s very painful for them.”

Nearly a dozen states had legalized cannabis by the time the surviving family members of Jerry Garcia decided to start a pot brand built around the Grateful Dead frontman, who died of a heart attack in 1995. But Garcia chose to launch their own brand. In California, the same place where Jerry was born, led an art movement, and died.

The Golden State was featured prominently in this initial launch. A swirling psychedelic-colored air stream criss-crosses the state in late 2020 announcing a brand new. Profile of an esteemed family While smoking a pong in Auckland He asked, “If Jerry Garcia was some kind of weed, what would it feel like to be euphoric?” The family told Esquire that they were planning to open a Jerry Garcia-themed cannabis parlor at a dispensary in San Francisco, which never materialized.

Singer-songwriter Jerry Garcia, left, of The Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby perform at McNichols Sports Arena on December 13, 1990, in Denver, Colorado. Color photo by photographer.

Singer-songwriter Jerry Garcia, left, of The Grateful Dead and Bruce Hornsby perform at McNichols Sports Arena on December 13, 1990, in Denver, Colorado. Color photo by photographer.

Mark Jung / Getty Images

But there is now only one jar of Garcia Hand Picked available in San Francisco, according to Weedmaps, and there’s no sign of more returning to the Bay Area. DeAngelo, who said he did some early consulting work for Garcia Hand Picked but is no longer involved with the brand, said leaving California may have been difficult for the family.

“This was a tough decision for them to make, they love California,” said DeAngelo. They were born and raised here. It’s very painful for them, I guarantee it.”

Eli Melrod, CEO and co-founder of the Solful dispensary chain, said the brand’s exit from California was a sign that it’s hard for even good cannabis brands to make money in the state.

“California is probably the most competitive cannabis market in the country, it’s a market where there are a lot of brands competing for shelf space,” Melrod told SFGATE. “I think for some people the margins and the challenges in California make it better for them to focus on other states.”

The brand is still on sale in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts and Oregon. He offers a bunch of hemp flower, pre-rolled joints, and some colorful, pot-filled gummies in the shape of guitar picks. Its packaging features Jerry Garcia’s face linked in swirly, psychedelic colors, reminiscent of Milton Glaser’s icon. 1966 Bob Dylan poster.

Melrod said he usually doesn’t sell celebrity brands in his stores because most celebrity brands have poor quality products, but Garcia was different. He said they have good quality cannabis grown by some of the best outdoor cannabis growers in the state, like Moon Mead Farms and Sonoma Hills Farms.

“We’re starting from a place of skepticism because we’ve seen a lot of popular brands launched in cannabis that are basically just a popular name on a product that’s been coded,” Melrod told SFGATE. “We really appreciate the approach the Garcia Hand Picked team took in sourcing. They’ve worked with a lot of great old cultivators in the Emerald Triangle.”

Jerry Garcia plays at a Grateful Dead concert at the Oakland Coliseum on December 12, 1992.

Jerry Garcia plays at a Grateful Dead concert at the Oakland Coliseum on December 12, 1992.

Steve Castillo / The Chronicle 1992

Garcia’s brand departure is also a sign that customers are tired of celebrity utensil brands. David Crosby told Los Angeles Times Last year, he wanted to start his own label, but he said, “Famous brands haven’t worked nearly as well as Jonah thought they would.”

In fact, Garcia Hand Picked isn’t the first Grateful Dead pot brand. Drummer Mickey Hart launched his pre-roll joint brand Mind your Head in 2019, though that brand appears to be on hiatus. Their website is down and a brand representative can be contacted for this story.

Garcia Hand Picked and Mind Your Head could return to the state, but for now, California’s Deadheads will have to smoke weed without smoking any of the weed the legendary band is blessed with.

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