July 1, 2018
Why was July 1, 2018 significant?
Last Sunday was the deadline for marijuana companies to submit samples for testing to determine if their products meet California’s quality standards.
Lab Testing Cannabis
When Californians approved marijuana legalization in 2016, the state began issuing licenses for growing, testing, and selling pot starting on January 1, 2018. Many retailers had stockpiled massive amounts of cannabis harvested before January 1st, which had not been tested.
Last November, the Brown administration agreed to delay the comprehensive testing, labeling, and childproof packaging—until July 1st. This would allow new cannabis businesses to sell their existing supply and get their products certified.
From a consumer’s point of view, this is good news.
In a previous blog, I’d shared the marijuana strains available today are twenty times stronger than the pot that was around in the late 60’s, early 70’s; so it’s helpful to know the potency. And, who wants to use products that are laced with pesticides and solvents?
From the retailer’s position, the July 1st deadline could be fatal.
There are only 31 approved laboratories statewide, which are not enough to handle the demand, causing a backlog. As of last Sunday, if a company’s products haven’t been tested or it doesn’t meet California’s standards, their license could be revoked.
Another Lab Testing Marijuana
According to an article in the July 1st edition of the Los Angeles Times, one hundred and fifty companies have joined the United Cannabis Business Association, which sent a letter to the Brown administration requesting more time. They were denied.
The marijuana business members estimated they would have to destroy nearly $400 million in existing inventory that doesn’t meet the new standards.
If the untested inventory is removed from the market, this will cause a shortage.
Pamela Epstein, chief executive of Green Wise Consulting, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in the marijuana industry, said, “Prices will shoot through the roof if there’s a shortage.”
To have a cannabis shortage in California is ironic. For years, marijuana has been the state’s largest crop, and California is considered the dominant cultivator in the world.
Rather than destroy the inventory and lose their profits, some fledgling businesses may resort to selling the untested weed on the black market. If caught, they’ll lose their license.
Even though the stigma associated with marijuana has declined, 70% of California’s communities have decided not to sell recreational marijuana. (When Proposition 64 was created, the legislation included the option for counties, towns, and cities to ban the sale of recreational marijuana.) Many have opted out—waiting to see if the ventures are successful.
Number of Licenses by California Cities
Thanks to the silver-haired hippies and young professionals, public acceptance of weed has grown exponentially. Currently, 30 states have made cannabis legal. Most recently on June 26, Oklahoma approved the sale of medicinal marijuana, and in November, Michigan will vote on recreational pot.
In previous blogs, I’ve pointed out the DOJ still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 narcotic—the same as heroin.
In my post two weeks ago, I’d mentioned a bipartisan bill sponsored by Senators Cory Gardner of Colorado and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts that would give states the right to determine their approach to marijuana. You may recall the legislation does not seek to legalize marijuana, but instead proposes an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act, protecting people who choose to use pot, so long as they comply with local state or tribal laws. The bill also states that compliant marijuana transactions are not considered trafficking, and, finally, removes industrial hemp from the list of substances prohibited under the CSA.
The legislation is winding it’s way through Congress.
I have no idea how to interpret the above information, but I thought it looked impressive.
Thanks for reading.
What are your thoughts? I appreciate hearing from you.
Warmest Regards, Michele
P.S. If you like suspenseful stories, please consider reading my debut novel, Busted. It’s about three people who collide over cocaine. Busted’s eBook is on sale for $.99 through July 5th. Buy it on Amazon, Apple iBooks, B&N, and Kobo.