California Dispensaries Forced To Throw Out $350 Million Of Legal Weed


In California, some dispensary owners are experiencing what the cannabis industry is calling the “Marijuanapocolypse 2018.” On July 1, the Golden State’s new regulations for cannabis businesses took effect and any cannabis product that failed to meet these rules was destroyed. That’s right. California dispensary owners were just forced to dump thousands of pounds of legal weed products that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

In Compliance with California Law, Dispensaries Destroy Millions of Dollars’ Worth of Perfectly Good Marijuana Products

While recreational sales of cannabis in California went into effect on January 1, there was a six month “transition period” that allowed businesses operating in California to get their affairs in order. According to the California Cannabis Portal, as of July 1, “all cannabis goods that do not meet all statutory and regulatory requirements must be destroyed in accordance to the rules pertaining to the destruction.”

$350 million dollars’ worth of cannabis product is A LOT of weed. The dispensaries that couldn’t process all their product according to regulations set by the California government in the six months they had to do so have all been forced to destroy what product remains.

How exactly does one get rid of thousands of pounds of cannabis product? While it would be a pot lover’s dream come true, dispensary owners aren’t allowed to give away their product. And they’re forbidden to just toss product in a dumpster. That would be far too easy. Instead, cannabis businesses that didn’t meet regulation were required to record the destruction process of all non-compliant products. Oil cartridges were smashed with hammers. Thousands of pounds of flower were thrown into compost bins that lock.

Dispensaries Scramble Before Deadline Selling Massively Discounted Marijuana

Before the July 1 deadline, dispensaries across California scrambled to get rid of weed that wouldn’t be compliant with new regulations. Flower, joints, edibles, concentrates, tinctures, and topicals were offered at huge discounts throughout California as dispensary owners tried their best to get rid of what they knew wouldn’t fly.

“People are buying stuff they really don’t need,” said Scott Lambert, CEO of the OG Collective in Cathedral City. “Its just like Toys ‘R’ Us going out of business.”

Before the deadline, Lambert estimated he would have to destroy up to 90 percent of his cannabis products. He did what he could, selling grams of quality concentrates for $25, which is about ¼ of the normal price.

“It is crazy,” he said. “They’re forcing us to reduce the prices by 70 or 80 percent in order to get rid of it.”

Many Believe Lack of Cannabis Testing Facilities in California is to Blame

While the July 1 regulations were a bust for many business owners, it was a blessing for cannabis consumers throughout the state of California. As Californians stocked up as much cannabis they could afford, some dispensary owners wondered how they would restock shelves after much of their inventory was destroyed.

Some say a bottleneck has been created due the lack of approved testing facilities, making it all but impossible to get products legally compliant with California’s legal cannabis regulations. There are currently 31 testing labs in the entire state.

David Hua, CEO of the online cannabis purchasing platform, Meadow, says, “We just don’t have enough labs to test products. A lot of the brands we know may not get through in time to make it to the shelves.”

Because of this, retailers maintain that there aren’t enough suppliers that are in compliance with these rules, which they believe will help keep the black market thriving.

At Joy of Life Wellness Center in Palm Springs, dispensary owner Joy Brown voiced her concern about what she would do after the July 1 deadline. While she had sold all but a few pounds of non-compliant flower at the end of June, she was worried about what might come next.

“On July 1, will I have enough stock to sell correctly?” she asked. “That’s the really big problem.”

While $350 million is a mere estimate, there’s no denying that dispensaries throughout California just dumped a lot of pot.