Ever since California dispensaries and manufacturers started receiving their licenses for recreational sales in January, there have been a great deal of changes that they’ve had to adapt to. To help ease companies in to the multitude of new regulations they’re expected to comply with, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) created a transition period that allowed for exceptions from specific regulatory provisions. In less than a week, this transition period will end on June 30th. What does this mean? That as of July 1st, 2018 all cannabis goods in the state of California must meet all statutory and regulatory requirements—any cannabis goods that don’t meet these requirements must be destroyed. How will this affect you as a patient? Potentially in a couple of ways.
Let’s start with which requirements licensed cannabis companies in California will be expected to comply with come July 1st. All cannabis products sold by licensees and retailers must have been laboratory tested and passed all of the specific testing requirements in regards to Category II residual pesticides, microbial impurities and foreign material testing. Any untested cannabis products that a retailer has in stock as of July 1st cannot be sold and must be destroyed. In addition to this, a retailer cannot send cannabis goods to a distributor to be tested—all goods must have test results before they can even be sold to a retailer. Packaging and labeling requirements will also be strictly enforced come July 1st—all cannabis goods must be properly packaged and labeled before being transported to a retailer. This means that if a particular cannabis company or brand doesn’t have compliant packaging come July 1st, licensed dispensaries cannot purchase their products to put on their shelves. This could potentially lead to some of your preferred brands being missing from shelves at your local dispensary for a few weeks or months, depending on how far out they are from getting their packaging and labeling compliant. Try to remember this when you’re feeling frustrated about a particular product not being in stock—if the dispensary has a license they legally cannot purchase non-compliant products and unfortunately all they can do is wait for the company to comply with all packaging and labeling regulations. What exactly constitutes complying with all packaging and labeling regulations? Packaging must be child-proof, as exit packaging “can no longer be used to satisfy the child-resistant packaging requirements. The company who sells the product to the retailer is responsible for their packaging being child-proof—a dispensary cannot repackage a product to make it child-proof. The label must also contain the following: a California Warning Triangle, a Schedule 1 Government Warning, a UPC Barcode and lab testing information. Edibles must include a list of ingredients, allergens, how many milligrams are in a portion and how many milligrams are in the entire product. Cannabis flower packaging must include the net weight of the flower, identification of the source and date of cultivation, a list of pharmacologically active ingredients (i.e. CBD, THC, etc.) and information on the overall potency and cannabinoids in milligrams per serving. Just like with the testing requirements, any products that aren’t in compliance with these packaging and labeling requirements have to be destroyed and can no longer be on the shelves of a licensed dispensary come July 1st.
In addition to testing, packaging and labeling requirements, the limits on THC in edible cannabis products and non-edible cannabis products will be officially enforced beginning July 1st. You might already be used to this as many dispensaries began clearing high milligram edibles and non-edible products off their shelves back at the beginning of 2018, but soon every licensed dispensary will have to comply with these limits. Edibles cannot exceed 10mg of THC per dose and 100mg of THC in the entire product. (So if your dispensary still has some 180mg Kiva bars in stock, we definitely recommend stocking up before they’re a thing of the past!) Non-edible cannabis products (i.e. tinctures and oils) sold for adult-use cannot exceed 1,000mg of THC, while those being sold to medical patients only cannot exceed 2,000mg of THC. Unfortunately, this means that some high milligram products that patients have come to rely on will no longer be able to be produced. Edible cannabis products will also now be expected to meet the requirements set by the California Department of Public Health for ingredients and appearance.
The good news? Since licensed dispensaries have to sell through all of their non-compliant stock before July 1st or destroy what doesn’t get sold, there are a lot of fantastic sales and deals going on right now! As July 1st gets closer be conscious that the shelves of your dispensary may start to look empty—this is because many companies won’t have their compliant products ready until July 1st (or in some cases even later) and dispensaries are having to wait to place orders because they can’t put non-compliant products back on the shelf. There’s also a chance that for the first few weeks after the transition period ends that you may not have as many options as usual due to dispensaries waiting for products to be made compliant. Be patient during this transition and know that dispensaries and your favorite brands are all working diligently to ensure that you’re able to access the products you want both legally and as soon as possible. As with any change, there are going to be some growing pains but these regulations are meant to ensure that patients and recreational consumers alike have access to clean, consistent cannabis products they can trust. To find a dispensary near you, simply use the Hopegrown search bar at the top of the page to see a list of licensed, Hopegrown approved dispensaries in your area!