Pot industry stakeholders gave their take on statewide regulations that went into effect this summer during a panel discussion hosted last week by the Silicon Valley Cannabis Alliance (SVCA) and California Cannabis Industry Association.
California Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax and Jacklyn McGowan of Sacramento-based K Street Consulting played moderator to industry bigwigs like Harborside co-founder Anthony DeAngelo and Danny Nunan of edibles giant Korova during the Aug. 29 three-hour rooftop event at the Hammer Theatre.
Attendees all agreed the industry is going through some serious “growing pains” that include a serious drop in the amount of bud, edibles, concentrates and other marijuana products available in shops since the state’s newest set of regulations kicked in on July 1.
Nunan expressed concern that a number of manufacturers are being “forced into an illicit market” caused by a high barrier of entry into the legal realm, while Jean Talleygrand, one of the first doctors to recommend medical marijuana in California, also worried that access to medicine has diminished for his patients, some of whom are children.
Sabrina Fendricks, director of government affairs for Berkeley Patients Group (BPG), the oldest dispensary in the country, said inventory issues were already brewing back in April. According to representatives from Humboldt’s Finest, distributors refused to accept more product unless it was already compliant, meaning it was tested at a state-approved laboratory and in childproof packaging.
“The farmers were caught off-guard; they were not prepared for the packaging, containers,” Fendricks said. “They’re used to bringing whole pound units.”
A lack of clarification on packaging and labeling for clones and seeds also forced BPG to pull genetics from their shelves this year, leaving patients who grown their own meds in a lurch. Fendricks told San Jose Inside that the state Department of Public Health “came out with a checklist that didn’t necessarily address every product,” prompting the club to take matters into their own hands.
SVCA President Sean Kali-Rai rallied for help connecting South Bay communities like Milpitas, Santa Clara and Mountain View that are opening their borders to weed with bureau regulators during a Q&A session.
He says some city leaders are skeptical when he approaches them. “When I go in they’re like, ‘Oh, this is wonderful Sean, but you’re paid by the industry. Who else can we talk to from the BCC’,” Kali-Rai said, noting that many cities would “love” such a resource to “get the counterpoint, see how well retailers are actually, really doing out there” in the legal pot market.
“It’s not chaos, it’s not mayhem,” he said. “It’s going pretty well.”
Ajax agreed “there needs to be a lot more education at the local level” about how licensed dispensaries operate and said the bureau will hire 10 analysts for talking to various jurisdictions that “also want a single point of contact.”