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California Dispensaries Must Destroy $350 Million Worth of Weed

Under California’s strict new seed to sale tracking system, all off-the-grid cannabis products have to be destroyed.

Adam Drury

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California Dispensaries Must Destroy $350 Million Worth of Weed
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Across California, compost bins are fuller and dispensary shelves are a little emptier than usual. If you knew the signs, you’d sense that something dramatic had just happened. And you’d be right.

On Sunday, the stringent new “seed to sale” tracking standards for California’s cannabis market went into effect. Overnight, thousands of pounds of cannabis products worth hundreds of millions of dollars suddenly became noncompliant. Now, dispensaries are in the process of destroying them, in an event the industry has dubbed the “Marijuanapocalypse of 2018”

In The Aftermath of the “Marijuanapocalypse”

For the six months after the start of legal retail sales, which began on January 1, producers and retailers have scrambled to get their supply chains and products compliant with California’s new regulatory standards.

State regulators called this a “transition period,” a chance for businesses operating above board and seeking licenses to meet the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s requirements.

The six month lag on the new rules was a tacit acknowledgment of the illicit market that still undergirds much of California’s cannabis economy. But it also aimed to facilitate its transition into the legal, regulated market.

So through June 30, as licensing authorities reviewed applications, businesses were granted exceptions from specific regulatory provisions.

But with so much product produced under the previous standards still on dispensary shelves, the July 1 deadline loomed large for many companies.

That deadline came and passed over the weekend, with many dispensaries unable to process all of their inventory under the new rules.

And that’s why California dispensaries must destroy $350 million worth of weed, according to one estimate.

In Lead Up To Deadline, California Dispensaries Rush To Sell Thousands of Pounds

News of the Marijuanapocalypse of 2018 has left many wondering how exactly dispensaries will destroy thousands of pounds of now-unsalable cannabis.

It turns out California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has rules for that, too. Non-compliant products have to be rendered completely unusable. But dispensaries also have to record video of the destruction process, in case regulators ever come knocking.

But before it came to that, California dispensaries offered deep discounts on their soon-to-be noncompliant flower, edibles and concentrates. The last few weeks have been a buyer’s market across California for this reason.

On Sunday, however, the destruction process began. Dispensaries across the state dumped tens of thousands of pounds of flower and edibles into locking compost bins filled with other debris. They even smashed oil cartridges with hammers, capturing the whole process on video.

California Destroys Untold Amount Of Cannabis

The $350 million mark, however, is only an estimation. According to the spokesperson for the California Cannabis Industry Association Josh Drayton, it’s really hard to gauge exactly how much noncompliant product dispensaries have destroyed.

Drayton estimates Los Angeles dumped tens of thousands of pounds of product, alone. But that’s exactly the point. Those products aren’t integrated into California’s new seed to sale tracking system.

For businesses, the July 1 transition is part of the messy and difficult process of going completely legit. As more fully compliant products come to dispensary shelves, we might all forget about the $350 million marijuanapocalypse soon enough.

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