By Patte Purcell
It comes as no surprise to anyone that California is not ready to implement full recreational cannabis laws by January. With the amount of interest by both potential dispensary, delivery service and grow operations in the upcoming market, California has (so far) come up with some time saving ’emergency’ cannabis laws that will allow recreational cannabis to move forward from the first of the year. As rules and regulations were just published on Nov. 16, the state is making moves to allow those that want to ‘go by the book’ to get a head start on it with more relaxed rules for the first 6 months of 2018.
The state also has another issue to keep in mind when issuing new laws and taxes, the majority of cannabis growing (80% of it) is now done underground. Allowing these businesses to come into the light legally will take some wooing from the powers that be. Similar legislation and taxes that were too high had an adverse effect in both Colorado and Washington, who were forced to lower their taxes.
There is no doubt that new tax revenues have glazed over the eyes of the state bureaucrats but whether they manage to turn an underground industry into a legal industry by making it easier to comply will determine in the long run whether they will be successful.
There are many new nuances in the differences between the medical and recreational markets. For instance the THC levels on recreational marijuana will be capped at 24% where medical licensees may have higher doses. According to G Pharma News:
“Retail cannabis sales will begin on-time in California after regulators released an emergency rules package allowing operators a six-month transition period, and providing for grows much larger than the 1 acre proposed by the Department of Food & Agriculture. The rules prohibit combined cannabis and alcohol sales at shops, the word “candy” from being used in branding, and drones and bicycles from being used in customer deliveries.
Adults 21-and-older will be allowed to buy 28.5 grams of flower, eight grams of concentrate, and six immature plants per visit, while medical patients will be allowed eight ounces of flower or as much as recommended by their physician. Edibles can only contain 100 milligrams of THC per 10-serving package; while tinctures and lotions for the recreational market can contain up to 1,000 milligrams and medical tinctures and lotions can contain up to 2,000.”
In 2018 there will be 28 categories of business licenses available. California is poised to become a super power in the cannabis industry. This could be the small business entrepreneurial boom that California is lacking, unless they kill the golden goose.
Existing business licensed dispensaries need only prove that they have the local license for them to receive a conditional 120 day ‘recreational’ license (after verification with local authorities.) Riverside County, which has been ‘anti marijuana’ as a county has introduced.
Under the new regulatory scheme, cannabis products will need to be tested to measure the following: cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others), foreign material, heavy metals, microbial impurities, mycotoxins, moisture content and water activity, residual pesticides, residual solvents and processing chemicals, and terpenoids.
Edibles are also to be tested to make sure that concentrations of THC and CBD are spread evenly across the servings in a product package.
If the results of the test meet state standards, the products can be sold. If they fail, the products can be “additionally processed for remediation” and tested again. This can be done twice—if a product fails after being remediated twice, the entire batch is to be destroyed.
Recent testing of current dispensary products 70% of them failed to meet the new stringent standards. This will prove both a challenge and an opportunity to cannabis growers to deliver a better product. Those that grow organically will find a larger market for their efforts.
2018 will bring an abundance of new opportunities for Californians to increase their income and enjoy a healthier alternative to alcohol. Enjoy!