Grateful Dead features one of the most prominent modern-day stoners and initially formed in Palo Alto, California in 1965, so it was a full circle moment when San Francisco-born Jerry Garcia’s cannabis brand Garcia Hand Picked first launched in California back in November 2020.
Though, not all good things can last forever, and the California cannabis industry presses forward into continuously challenging territory. Less than three years after its California launch, a spokesperson for the brand has confirmed to
“We’re taking a pause in California,” said Holistic Industries, the brand’s parent company, in an email to SFGATE. Garcia Hand Picked outsources its growing and manufacturing to other companies, like many other celebrity weed brands, though it’s making moves, including the search for a new cannabis supplier, to keep up with the turbulent California market.
“We want to ensure CA consumers have the highest quality flower for the long term, so we are in the process of choosing a new local partner for cultivation, production, sales and distribution of Garcia Hand Picked in CA,” the email continued.
The writing has been on the wall for a while, with a growing number of California cannabis companies not paying all of their bills over the last few years due to increasing challenges of keeping up profits. Now, industry insiders are warning that a wave of business failures could be next should the debt bubble explode. Jared Kiloh, owner of The Higher Path in Los Angeles, told
Garcia Hand Picked Isn’t Alone
Garcia Hand Picked isn’t the only brand pulling out of California. A number of the state’s initial cannabis retailers have found that the California cannabis market is becoming increasingly impossible to navigate without losing money.
“Not only is Garcia leaving, a lot of people are leaving,” cannabis consultant and former owner of
California has juggled a plethora of economic issues since the recreational market first launched four years ago, and many just recently came to a head. Among cannabis news outlets, it was commonplace in 2022 to stumble upon headlines outlining the burdensome taxes for cannabis farmers, compounded by falling wholesale prices, or the many illegal farms that undermined struggling, legitimate companies.
The strife has already caused many small farmers and legacy growers to call it quits, and the decision to exit California wasn’t easy for Garcia’s family either, according to DeAngelo.
“This was a hard decision for them, they love California,” DeAngelo told the publication. “They were born and bred here. This is very painful for them, I guarantee that.”
Garcia Hand Picked is still available in Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts and Oregon, featuring an array of
Solful CEO and Co-founder Eli Melrod admitted to SFGATE that he generally doesn’t sell celebrity brands in his stores, citing their poor quality, though he made it clear that the Garcia brand was different. Melrod cited that the Garcia Hand Picked team often worked with legacy farmers in the Emerald Triangle, taking a localized approach that not only uplifted long-time growers in the state but also led to a superior product.
The recent move could also spell trouble for celebrity brands as a whole, with so many celebrities jumping on the bandwagon that other musicians looking to venture into the space are starting to think otherwise. David Crosby, for example, told the
“Celebrity brands didn’t turn out to work nearly as well as anyone thought they were gonna,” he told The Times.
While the brand could eventually make a return, Garcia Hand Picked declined to be interviewed by SFGATE and didn’t elaborate on how long the hiatus would last.