Special Report: Cannabis industry braces for possible marijuana shortage
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — It’s only been a few months since marijuana for recreational use became legal in California. While sales have been good, there could be a speed bump ahead; the possibility of a marijuana shortage.
In San Diego County, there are just four licensed marijuana cultivators.
One of the licensees is Outco, located in a 15,000 square foot facility in an unincorporated area of the county, adjacent to El Cajon. Outco CEO Lincoln Fish said it’s possible that marijuana supplies will be tight this summer because of more tourists to San Diego and the limited number of cultivators that have been issued the required state and local licenses.
He also cited a change in state law, that will require facilities that will divide sales into separate medical and recreational categories after July 1. Under current regulations, companies like Outco that are licensed for growing medical marijuana can supply both medical and recreational retailers.
After July 1, Outco would not be able to sell its product for recreational use.
“Because a lot of facilities are only licensed as medical for cultivation and manufacturing, we could have a huge shortage on the recreational side,” Fish said.
The executive director of an industry group called the Association of Cannabis Professionals also warns of a possible shortage in the next few months. Dallin Young said only about a third of the municipalities and counties in California have licenses or any type of regulation for cannabis businesses.
“So because of that, you can’t get access to the amount of licensed cultivators that we need to supply our legal market. Right now, there are not enough licenses to meet the need for cannabis in California,” Young said.
He also noted that a state requirement for cannabis product testing takes effect on July 1. Only products that have been laboratory tested for pesticides and other contaminants can be sold after that date.
Cannabis products that haven’t been tested will have to come off dispensary shelves.
Friday is April 20, or 4/20. That’s the numerical code for marijuana’s high holiday, a celebration and homage to pot’s enduring and universal slang for smoking. History of the unusual holiday can be found here.