The cost of smoking pot is about to get higher, at least in the near term, if draft rules for California's medical marijuana industry move forward, as appears likely. The proposed rules, which come from state regulators in three departments, are open to public comment for 45 days and could take effect by the end of 2018. Of course, California legalized recreational marijuana with Prop 64 in November, but recreational use and sales are likely to be brought into alignment with medical rules by legislation expected later in the year, the Chronicle reports.
Regulators say medical pot business owners might face added compliance costs of $524 per pound, or as much as $310,000 for an average-sized medical marijuana business. Smaller-sized businesses would be met with smaller fees, which lead the California Growers Association to approve the plan thus far.
The added compliance costs mean that prices for patients are about to increase roughly 10 percent, but with quantifiable benefits to consumers. "The consumer is also getting something for that premium price," Growers Association director Hezekiah Allen told the Chronicle, referring to "mandatory testing, knowledge and confidence the product was grown by folks [who] were following the rules and taxes were being paid.”
While Allen is vocal in his support, others like Mara Gordon, the founder of a cannabis-based medical oils company in Bodega Bay, are coming out against the THC limits, which "shows a lack of understanding of a medical patient’s need.”
“Our products, we call them bio-pharmaceutical products and we think of them as serious medicines for serious diseases,” Gordon, whose company is Aunt Zelda's, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “It’s all getting lumped together with the self-medicating person who is using a gummy bear.”
Meanwhile, the Fresno Bee reviewed the draft rules to point out some noteworthy new regulations.Those include rules against free samples from dispensaries, pot bicycle delivery, and even pot drone delivery. Glad someone is thinking ahead.