The glut of marijuana left over after California’s fire sales that were held to meet the State’s July 1 deadline has created a whole new cottage industry of waste disposal companies.
In terms of the new regulations, weed dispensaries cannot sell cannabis that hasn’t been laboratory-tested, that doesn’t meet packaging requirements and that exceeds pre-defined THC levels.
The new legislation triggered state-wide fire sales but has nevertheless left many businesses with unsold product on their shelves.
California’s new and strict regulations even stipulate how companies must destroy their unsold weed and the burning question of what do to with all that marijuana has been answered by the entrance of a new industry player – the waste disposal company.
According to the new laws, businesses must lock their cannabis in a secured area or a bin that only employees or authorized trash collectors can access. They also have to render the marijuana as “unrecognizable and unusable” and not only record who threw out the goods and the reasons why, but also keep receipts of how much cannabis has been disposed of.
Enter the disposal company
One waste disposal company is offering composting as a solution to the problem. CWR SoCal Inc. isoffering customers recycling bins in which marijuana and pot-laced edibles are mixed with bran after which the company adds more organic materials to the waste before hauling it away and turning it into compost.
Another waste disposal company, Gaica Waste Revitalization, is also recycling marijuana and estimates that it has already collected 150,000 pounds of waste over the last five months.
But composting isn’t the only solution on offer. Cannabis Waste Solutions collects cannabis waste and then mixes it with a biomass like wood chips after which it is delivered to a generator facility and burned for electricity. The founder of the company, Andrew McGinty, says he heard that growers are composting on-site, while urban-based manufacturers are shredding, double-bagging and disposing of their weed indumpsters.McGinty also suspects that there are companies selling their weed to black market dealers.
California pot companies could lose $367 million
California marijuana companies could lose in the region of $367 million, either by destroying their stocks or by offering them at steeply discounted prices in fire-sales, to comply with the new regulations, according to the United Cannabis Business Association.
The cannabis that had to be destroyed fell into various categories:
- Weed cultivated prior to the legalization of recreational pot at the beginning of the year
- Weed that had not been laboratory-tested for contaminants
- Weed that had not been properly labeled
- Weed that was not contained in child-proof packaging
- Weed that had higher than permitted THC levels
Industry players were given six months in which to comply with the new State regulations that ended on July 1.
However many dispensaries failed to get rid of all their stock by the deadline.
In the meantime, the Bureau of Cannabis Control is working under emergency regulations until a final set of rules is put into place by the end of 2018 and, until then, the only winners appear to be the new breed of waste disposal companies and black market operators.