In assessing the success of California’s month-old legal cannabis program, the state’s top marijuana regulator said there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news is that everybody’s done a real good job so far, and business is humming. The bad news is that all those happy cannabis producers, distributors, and consumers might just run out of weed soon.
At the recent International Cannabis Business Conference, the chief of California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control Lori Ajax laid out the situation, as reported by the Sacramento Bee.
It’s not that there isn’t any weed in the state. On the contrary, many cannabis businesses stockpiled goods late last year before new regulations went into effect. But when those run out, retailers may be in trouble. Though many retailers have obtained temporary licenses, there are only 129 licensed distributors. This isn’t enough to feed demand, according to Ajax.
“We always knew there would be pinch points,” the cannabis czar said.
Another one of those pinch points is in laboratory testing. In July, it will become mandatory to test all cannabis for pesticides and other contaminants before it can hit the shelves. But right now there are only 21 licensed testing facilities in the whole state.
“The supply chain has not been completely tested,” Ajax said. “At some point we’re going to see the supply depleted.”
But, as Ajax said, there is some good news and cause to think things might work out okay. For starters, there’s the fact that things have gone unexpectedly smoothly since marijuana went legal at the beginning of the year.
So far the Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued roughly 2,400 temporary licenses for companies in delivery, distribution, retail, testing, and other fields in the industry. In addition, the Department of Public Health has issued licenses to manufacturers and Department of Food and Agriculture has licensed cultivators.
Though they expected confusion and complaints from license applicants in the first days of legal sale, but Ajax said the complaints never came, and her agency was able to handle the insane quantity of applications.
In the future, Ajax says her strategy is to license “as many businesses as quickly as possible.” “We want to make this work,” she said. “We want California to be a leader.”
Photo via Flickr user Dank Depot