The Bureau of Cannabis Control is currently accepting public comment on their proposed final regulations found here: https://www.bcc.ca.gov/law_regs/cannabis_text.pdf
Today, the BCC held a public comment session where members of the community gathered at the Biltmore Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles to discuss the proposed regulations. Here are several key themes that were discussed by many commenters, divided by categories.
The current regulations expand the region of delivery to include the entire State. There were several people that applauded the BCC’s decision to include this provision. The argument was that there were several communities that lived in Cities where cannabis is still banned. Thus, these new provisions would allow delivery services to reach these people, theoretically patients. The supporters of such a change made passionate speeches on why this is needed, yet no one offered data to support claims that many are affected by local bans on cannabis.
Conversely, members of the City offices of West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Covina spoke about the need for local jurisdiction. Mainly, West Hollywood wants to collect fees from the “business located outside of West Hollywood” license requirement currently in place. Beverly Hills and Covina’s representatives both EMPHASIZED that Prop 64, though geared towards patient relief, should not come before local jurisdiction and land use issues. The Beverly Hills representative added that people can grow up to six cannabis plants at home, so the need for delivery services to reach patients is unnecessary. A member of the City of Thousand Oaks also spoke about the process the community went through to actively ban cannabis, having gone through several months of public forums and research.
This is a hotly contested issue, with many Cities coming against the State for what they see as a measure “not to uphold Prop 64 but rather an expansion of it.”
Lori Glauser, CEO of Evio Labs, gave several suggestions on how the BCC could speed up lab testing and reduce costs, mainly by reducing the amount of quality control testing, which currently stands at 40%. Moreover, she emphasized that much of the data asked for by the State is part of the accreditation process and is redundant. Lori and I agreed that Testing Labs should not be responsible for label verification. Others spoke on the batch size being too big. Indeed, many asked for the batch size of flower to be reduced from 50lbs to 10lbs like in other states. This would, in theory, enhance the reliability of tests. Further to this, I gave the following comments on behalf of my client, Papa & Barkley, one of the largest cannabis topical manufacturers based out of Eureka, CA (https://www.papaandbarkley.com/)
“Current regulations require lab results to be within 10% of label claims. Further, total THC (defined as delta-9) and CBD (defined as just CBD, not CBDa) content are required on the front panel. Across the state, labs are calibrating their machines to their own chosen standards, and the State has not undertaken the difficult process of standardizing calibration methods across testing labs. As a result, Lab 1 and Lab 2 can vary up to 30% at times in potency with the same sample. Further, individual labs have shown variance of 10-30% on identical samples sent in (In other words, Lab 1 tests Samples A and B independently, but we know that Samples A and B are the same). We do not just sell flower. Our products go through 3 different testing process from intake – infusion/extraction – blending. We rely on lab results to achieve our final blends, so if results have 20% variance, our blends can only be accurate within 20. We propose allowing a 20% variance to be consistent with OTC products in drugstores and to account for the lack of standardization across labs
The levels for pesticides for infused products need to be reconsidered and based on science. Topical products that are not transdermal should have different limits for pesticides than infused products that are ingested orally. However, they are currently lumped into the same category. Essential oils, by their nature, are high in naturally-occurring acetone, for example, and if used in high enough volumes will not pass the required Residual Solvent Tests. Further, off-the-shelf, organic oils like Jojoba and Beeswax can have residual pesticides in minute levels yet still be detected right around the Limits of Detection of some labs. It is unfair to group topicals together with infused products in terms of testing limits for pesticides and potency levels. Further, current cannabis regulations do not take into account cosmetic/skincare industry standards for raw ingredients.”
Several people took the stand from various organizations (CMA, NDICA, Latinos for Cannabis, small business owners) to ask the BCC to consider establishing or enhancing the State’s view of Social Equity. There was a strong emphasis on acknowledging that:
1) Cannabis legalization is due to the fight of LGBT people and AIDS patients, allowing for the Compassionate Care Act in 1996
2) Brown and Black communities were harshly affected by the War on Drugs
As such, most of the people cited that the original drafters and activist for California legislation had passed and would be ashamed of how the industry is taking shape. Furthermore, many expressed the sentiment that the BCC is not doing enough to ensure affordable health care to patients across California. Indeed, most speakers who owned small businesses highlighted this point, while asking for assistance from the BCC. One of my favorite quotes of the whole event is, “Black and brown folk deserve reparations and economic options. Look around, the pyramids we built still stand!” followed by a wave of snaps.
I would add that while it’s important to create social equity amongst communities that have fought for cannabis legalization. However, it is also important to understand from where the funding will come. Who is responsible for paying for social equity? I say that it’s the prison industry that profited the most from incarceration, not the investors who also fought for legalization and risked their livelihoods.
Many expressed concerned with METRC and its inefficiencies in other states. More specifically, many speakers pointed out that should the system have a hiccup, the entire industry would be slowed down.
The majority of comments fell into one of the above categories. Remember, there is still time to submit public comments in writing until August 27th at 5 PM.
At the moment, I’m also looking for any comments that you might have regarding manufacturing and distribution. I would love to learn more about the issues faced with the current proposed regulations. Please send me an email with any comments or concerns, so that I may also include them in further comments.