Since new state regulations on cannabis standards went into effect on July 1, California pot shops are prohibited from selling cannabis that doesn’t meet the testing and packaging standards or that exceeds new THC levels.
Dispensaries holding all or some of the above rushed to sell off their inventory. But, despite slashing prices, many cannabis companies are still holding lots of leftover weed.
“It’s part of the cannabis industry that nobody thinks about,” said Laura Turner in the Desert Sun, who owns a cannabis waste disposal company in Santa Ysabel.
Not only do strict regulations dominate all aspects of the legal cannabis industry in California, they even tell you how and where to destroy it. Excess cannabis disposal is the last thing on a business owner’s mind.
“They’re either stockpiling it and storing it somewhere until they can figure out what to do with it,” Turner said, “or they’re packing it up and driving it to another business’s dumpsters.”
The United Cannabis Business Association in California calculates that weed companies are poised to lose an estimated $367 million - either by destroying their stash or having sold it off at steep discounts before July 1.
There are several reasons why cannabis has to be destroyed in California: it hasn’t been tested for chemicals and contaminants; it’s mislabeled or not placed in child-resistant packaging, or it contains more THC than permitted under state rules.
Some of the product currently under scrutiny was left over from 2017 when companies raced to grow and extract marijuana in the lead-up to legalization, anticipating booming sales.
When dispensaries didn’t sell off their non-compliant weed before July 1, the end of a six-month grace period to sell products that didn’t meet the new standards, they were compelled to toss their stock into the trash. That is to say, authorized dumping grounds, not you run-of- the mill street bins.
Again, who knew? And, what a pity.