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California’s Concentrates Industry Struggles Before 710

Cannabis 710
Photo Gracie Malley for Cannabis Now

Concentrates

California’s Concentrates Industry Struggles Before 710

As the concentrates holiday of 710 approaches, California’s extract industry grapples with the state’s new regulations that have left this year’s Chalice festival postponed and dispensary shelves low on compliant products.  

For the past eight years, the 710 holiday has mirrored the growth of the cannabis industry in California. The hash-focused holiday started as an underground event in 2010, before the first official event was held in 2013. Then, as the dab scene experienced a flourishing of fantastic sesh and party events happening on a weekly basis throughout the mid-2010s, the annual compound growth rate of hype levels associated with 710 matched that of the wider burgeoning cannabis industry.

However, much like the rest of California’s cannabis industry this year, 710 celebrations are facing more obstacles as the state’s new cannabis regulations kick in. As the vision of the industry in California continues down opposite paths for regulators and longtime producers, the event scene has obviously been devastated — namely, the postponement of the Chalice festival.

The hash, glass and music celebration has spent the last few years climbing the ranks of the California summer festival circuit until it reached mainstream status. Chalice drew acts like Ice Cube and the surviving members of the Wu-Tang Clan, and saw attendance numbers climb each year. This year, however, the city council in Victorville — where Chalice had been held for two successful years — denied the event a permit to allow state-licensed providers to do sales at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds.

Under California’s new cannabis regulations, events must take place on county fairgrounds or at locations owned by district agricultural associations. Chalice’s founder Doug Dracup sued the City of Victorville and California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control this June, in a last-ditch attempt to allow his festival to take place. In a statement on the event’s website, the festival announced the lawsuit was continuing, but that the festival would have to be postponed for “approximately four months.”

In 2018, many California counties have balked at the idea of hosting a regulated cannabis event, and because those counties are in sole possession of legal event space, it’s been a struggle for cannabis event promoters.

Dispensaries Face Low Concentrate Supply

Similarly, the buyers at dispensaries up and down the state are attempting to stock their shelves with quality concentrates in time for 710, but they’ve had a tough time finding compliant products just days after California’s new product testing and packaging regulations went into effect on July 1.

For example, at the Berkeley Patients Group dispensary in Berkeley, California, the shelves have “somewhat limited globs” this week because state testing laboratories are behind on testing product, according to BPG’s vice president and Emerald Cup judge Etienne Fontan.  “The new emergency temporary regulations on July 1 are the culprit,” Fontan told Cannabis Now. “There is a stock of product but limited to a few manufacturers who’ve got actual compliant product to the shelves.”

Fontan was confident, however, that dispensaries would soon have their inventory back to normal, given that “everyone is ramping up or awaiting testing.”

710 Lessons from Colorado

The bottlenecks, delays and cancellations that California’s cannabis industry is experiencing are growing pains that other states — namely, Washington, Colorado and Oregon — have experienced before.

We reached out to Bolder Extracts to get their take on how adjusting to new regulations went in Colorado.

Bolder Extracts co-founder Spencer Uniss told Cannabis Now that the market’s early months had a few hiccups, but he never recalled waiting more than a week to receive lab test results.

“If there weren’t enough labs, the state would usually do an emergency bulletin and push back deadlines, which is what I thought California was maybe going to do,” Uniss said.

Adam Weiss, who co-founded Bolder Extracts with Uniss, also shared some insight on the earliest days of recreational dabs in Colorado.

“The consumer base was a lot larger, and what they were looking for in terms of a product was very different from what we saw on the medical side,” Weiss told Cannabis Now. “Don’t get me wrong — people were still selling a lot of shatters, but the recreational side didn’t know how to work with shatter because they didn’t know how to smoke it or ingest it.”

To account for the new tastes, Bolder began making premium sugars. These were easier for folks to throw in a joint or on top of some flower in a bowl if people didn’t have a full concentrate consumption setup.

Weiss said that “anywhere from 30 percent to 50 percent” of his peers in the medical concentrates marketplace didn’t survive the jump to the legal cannabis market in Colorado. He said this had to do “with some locations in towns not allowing things consistently with the state.”

TELL US, what are your plans for 710?

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