Some of San Diego’s licensed marijuana retailers are experiencing spot shortages of certain brands of cannabis due to the failure of cultivators and suppliers to produce weed that meets new purity and potency standards imposed by the state.
None of the roughly one dozen licensed recreational marijuana retailers in San Diego have run out of cannabis, or is close to doing so.
But a sampling of local stores found minor, brand-related shortages at such stores as Urbn Leaf in Bay Park and at A Green Alternative in Otay Mesa. Apothekare in Mission Valley says it experienced a supply hiccup that’s since gone away.
For competitive reasons, the stores aren’t citing the names of brands that have been in short supply.
Problems also are occurring elsewhere in Southern California.
“We sell to about 50 dispensaries in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles counties and the Inland Empire — and demand is exceeding supply,” said Lincoln Fish, founder of OutCo, a cultivator, distributor and retailer near El Cajon.
The shortage stems from state testing standards that were originally supposed to go into affect on January 1st. The state pushed that date to July 1st, largely to give the cannabis industry more time to adjust to standards that apply to the purity and potency of marijuana, and the packaging of products. Special attention is being paid to making sure the cannabis doesn’t contain harmful levels of pesticides and solvents.
In late June, the United Cannabis Business Association implored Gov. Jerry Brown to delay the start date, saying there were still a lot of issues to be worked out. But Brown said no.
“A lot of manufacturers, distributors and cultivators just waited too long to do the research and development work needed to make sure that their product would meet state testing standards,” said Greg Magdoff, chief executive officer of PharmLabs, a San Diego-based company that is licensed to do such testing.
“It’s not that a lot of these companies are failing their tests. Many of them haven’t submitted product for testing because they knew they wouldn’t pass.”
The deadline “caused a disruption, but compliant cannabis is coming back into the pipeline,” said Rocky Goyal, who runs Apothekare. “July was not a great month (for sales). But things are getting straightened out.”
The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration is scheduled to release sales figures for the second quarter of the year by mid-August.