California’s top cannabis regulator says significant issues loom in the near future. The state was never really prepared to go into the wee business on Jan. 1. As a result, the industry continues to flounder.
One month after the start of recreational marijuana sales, Lori Ajax, chief of the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, gave an assessment of the state’s performance for a few hundred people at the International Cannabis Business Conference.
According to the Sacramento Bee, bureau has granted about 2,400 temporary licenses for retail sales, delivery, distribution, testing and other parts of the cannabis supply system. The bureau is one of three state agencies licensing marijuana businesses, with the Department of Public Health permitting manufacturers and the Department of Food and Agriculture handling growers.
California is still not prepared. While dispensaries are selling marijuana in many parts of the state, Ajax cautioned that the system is still under construction.
The bureau had issued 214 retail licenses as of Feb. 2. Those stores can only do business with other permitted businesses, including growers and distributors.
One pinch point in the system is distribution. Cannabis products can only be shipped from growers and manufacturers to retailers through licensed distributors. But there are only 129 licensed distributors in the state, not enough to meet demand, Ajax said.
Another problem – there are only 21 licensed testing facilities in California. Starting in July, marijuana will have to be tested for pesticides and other materials before it can be sold.
Illegal sales will no doubt continue to flourish as a result.