August 27, 2018 – On behalf of its members and cannabis consumers across the state, California NORML has submitted comments to the state Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) on their proposed final regulations for cannabis businesses in the state.
Cal NORML’s three main concerns are:
CONCERN #1: Resealable Child-Resistant Opaque Exit Packaging Unnecessary
The proposed regulations unnecessarily require that no cannabis goods leave the premises unless placed in a “resealable, child-resistant opaque packages” (Sec. 5411(b)4 and 5413).
Cal NORML constantly hears consumer complaints about the ungainly, non-recyclable packaging in which they must carry their products. Besides being expensive and awkward, these packages are frequently thrown away at the door, contributing to waste and litter. Many consumers—especially the elderly—find them impossible to open in their intended manner and end up cutting them open with scissors.
Child-resistant exit packaging is NOT required under MAUCRSA, BPC 26120 or BPC 26070.1, which only specifies that purchases leave the premises in “opaque” packages.
RECOMMENDATION: No more than an opaque bag should be required for exit packaging. Child-resistant, resealable packages for edibles and other products should be the responsibility of manufacturers. Consumers should not be burdened with excessive, expensive, non-recyclable packaging at the store.
CONCERN #2: Testing Regulations
The Bureau’s proposed testing requirements go well beyond what is necessary or reasonable to protect consumers’ health. The current costs of compliance testing range from $500–$800 per sample—not counting the costs of testing for heavy metals or mycotoxins, which aren’t required until next year. This amounts to some $50–$80 per pound for a ten-pound batch. No other consumer agricultural product is subject to such costly, rigorous, mandatory testing requirements.
The likely health benefits of the proposed testing requirements seem dubious, given that not a single instance of consumer harm due to chemical contamination of cannabis from pesticides, heavy metals, or residual solvents has ever been documented in the scientific literature. On the other hand, the economic costs of excessive testing run the real danger of aggravating production bottlenecks and driving consumers to less costly, unregulated black-market alternatives. Hardly a day goes by when we don’t hear complaints about high costs and product shortages from medical users who used to be well served by the state’s medical marijuana collective system, which is now being terminated.
RECOMMENDATION: We therefore recommend that the Bureau be authorized to modify its testing requirements in light of observed real-world experience. In specific: (1) Producers whose products have consistently tested free of contaminants should be made eligible for “skip lot” testing—that is, occasional spot checks instead of routine testing of every sample; (2) Mandatory screening should be dropped for unusual contaminants that are found never to occur in tested samples; (3) Crops that consist of multiple batches from a single farm should not need to have every batch tested for heavy metals or pesticides.
CONCERN #3 – Customer registration & record of purchases
Adult-use consumers rightly object to having to register and provide personal information such as addresses at dispensaries. This procedure is time-consuming, inconvenient and intrusive of personal privacy. Some consumers tell us they have left dispensaries rather than go through the hassle of a lengthy registration wait.
RECOMMENDATION: Drop the requirement that every purchase be documented with a traceable customer ID number.
Earlier, in a separate communication, Cal NORML indicated its strong support for the Bureau’s proposed regulation allowing home deliveries by state-licensed delivery services.
Other issues require legislative fixes, not regulatory ones, or are the purview of other agencies.
Comments on pending regulations from the public are due on Monday, August 27 by 5 PM. Read more.
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