In Oregon, for example, pot shop owners and cannabis producers alike say that extract regulations are crippling their businesses. They claim there’s a choke on the industry from the testing requirements which have hurt sales by up to 50 percent, though the situation may be improving.
“They took a robust industry, and they’ve killed it with massive overregulation,” Michael Monarch, owner of Green Valley Wellness in Talent, Oregon, told the Mail Tribune.
Monarch says that shatter has nearly disappeared from his shelves, the pathway from extractors to stores blocked by stringent testing requirements. According to the store owner, the state requires that extracts are tested for both residual solvents and roughly 60 different pesticides. The process is both lengthy and expensive, leading to a shortage of white market extracts.
Concentrates, Monarch says, make up 50 percent of his sales, and a shortage of the product has led to a sales decrease of 30 to 50 percent since December.
It’s not just the shortage that has affected the economics of the cannabis concentrates business. The cost of testing is also taking a toll.
Brie Malarkey, who owns two pot shops in Oregon, told the Tribune that 8 sample testings are required for every 100 grams of marijuana extract, and said that the procedure is expensive. Before the regulations were put in place, she says hash oil went for $20 to $50 a gram, but that has changed. “Now the starting price is $60,” she says. “It’s pretty much double for consumers.”
Malarkey does however say that the situation is getting better. Back in October when the regulations were instituted, the state had only 18 accredited cannabis testing labs, and only 4 that tested for pesticides. Since then, more labs have been accredited, meaning more extracts are getting to the shelves.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which currently sets regulations for the state’s cannabis market, says that it is following rules set in turn by the Oregon Health Authority. “We are required to abide by them,” says OLCC spokesperson Mark Pettinger.
Pettinger also says that he has heard complaints from cannabis industry people, “but to the degree that they have increased or gone down, I can’t say,”
Photo via Flickr user Andres Rodriguez