Nobody can deny California is awash in cannabis. The nation’s largest state produced 13.5 million pounds of pot in 2016, according to an estimate prepared for the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. And yet, there are industry observers who predict an impending marijuana shortage.
How can this be? How can scarcity be found among bounty? The answer is mostly government which, like alcohol, may be both the cause and the solution for this particular problem of life.
One reason for future possible shortage is the fact that roughly 99 percent of the state’s 60,000 or so marijuana producers can’t get a state license (for a variety of reasons that differ depending on who you ask), and only cannabis grown by a licensed cultivator can be sold in a store.
Another is that for the first time, come July 1, cannabis sold in the state’s recreational and medical dispensaries will be subjected to mandated purity and potency tests. There is a real fear — as-yet untested — that much of what’s sold today simply won’t pass muster. (There’s also a fear that we’ve all been smoking dirty pot for years and will develop serious heath complications a few years from now, so there’s that to look forward to.)
It’s as-yet far from certain that dispensary shelves will run dry come the summertime, but since supply shortages affected other legal markets in their first year, it’s a legitimate worry.
These are worries not shared by the skilled home-grower, who — provided they are 21 or older — has a right to grow up to six cannabis plants in his or her home enshrined in state law. Not to say the home grower isn’t also worried about product quality and safety. He or she is a hobbyist, and a hobbyist is nothing if not also an enthusiast.
Certain California testing labs have set up quick tests for the home grower. For example: For $40, a few minutes of your time, and a gram and a half of flower, Steep Hill Labs in Berkeley will tell you how much THC, CBD, and moisture is in what you grew (you, or anyone else, really).
However, the state’s licensed testing labs aren’t open to taking business from the adult-use home grower. Current California law allows for testing labs to accept home-grown cannabis for testing… but only from “qualified [medical cannabis] patient[s] or caregivers.” There is as-yet no protection or provision for someone growing their six plant allotment allowed under California’s voter-approved marijuana legalization law, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).
This is set to change, thanks to one of the dozens and dozens of marijuana-related bills introduced this year in the California state Legislature.
AB-2721, a bill introduced by Assemblyman Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) would for the first time expressly “authorize a testing laboratory to receive and test samples of cannabis or cannabis products from a person over 21 years of age when the cannabis has been grown by that person and will be used solely for his or her personal use pursuant to AUMA.”
This bill would authorize a testing laboratory to receive and test samples of cannabis or cannabis products from a person over 21 years of age when the cannabis has been grown by that person and will be used solely for his or her personal use pursuant to AUMA. The bill would prohibit a testing laboratory from certifying samples from the person over 21 years of age for resale or transfer to another person. The bill would require all tests pursuant to these provisions to be recorded with the name of the person submitting the sample and the amount of cannabis or cannabis product received.
In other words, you won’t need to be a licensed producer — and shell out money and effort for the permit fee — to access the services of a licensed testing lab. The lone catch is that the cannabis can’t then be sold to another person, but you wouldn’t be doing that anyway, would you?
TELL US, would you like to test your own cannabis?