California cannabis regulations shifted in 2023, here’s what changed.
One of the first states to legalize cannabis for recreational use back in 2016, California has since seen a blossoming legal marijuana industry. As of 2023, California has 866 authorized dispensaries as well as 374 cannabis delivery services, providing customers with easy access to a smorgasbord of cannabis products, including flowers, concentrates, edibles, topicals, and more.
POLICY CHANGES WITH CALIFORNIA CANNABIS REGULATIONS
As part of a growing effort to streamline and simplify the state regulations and licensing process, the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has announced new changes concerning marijuana delivery services, track-and-trace systems, and packaging/labeling requirements.
Some predict these new regulations are going to radically change the landscape of the legal cannabis market in California. This article will discuss what’s changing and what to expect going forward into 2023 and beyond.
Photo by Alex Person
CANNABIS DELIVERY UPDATES
Starting in 2023, cannabis delivery vehicles can now carry $10,000 of product, doubling the previous amounts. The inventory inside the vehicles no longer needs to be allocated or pre-purchased, meaning consumers will have more product choices on designated routes.
Delivery is unencumbered
This is huge for efficiency. If you’ve spent any time in LA or San Francisco – or you know anyone who has, for that matter – you know traffic is bad. This will allow delivery companies to make longer trips, meeting more demand and requiring fewer trips to re-up supply.
The consequences of this are far-reaching. On the one hand, customers in remote communities will be able to be more easily served – with many delivery companies widening their service radius. On the other hand, customers in bustling communities will be able to get their marijuana even faster.
Curbside pickup is here to stay
Alongside this, the curbside pickup options birthed by the pandemic will be extended indefinitely. All licensed retailers can offer customers flexible pickup options, reducing transactional friction.
These changes are part of a business-friendly, customer-first philosophy where customers can choose where they order, how they order, where they pick up, and how they pick it up.
TRACK AND TRACE REQUIREMENTS
The DCC partners with Metrc to handle the state’s track and trace system for cannabis reporting. No matter what kind of business you run in the marijuana industry, whether a family farm or a big-time dispensary, staying compliant with California Metrc requirements is necessary to keep your business in good standing with the government.
Here are the key track and trace requirements at a glance:
- ● All inventory must be tagged and entered into the track and trace system.
- ● Unused package tags must be discarded; no reusing or transferring them
- ● Data entry errors must be corrected within three days
- ● Inventory checks every 30 days
- ● All users of the track and trace system must be designated, trained, and compiled in a list
PACKAGING AND LABELING
The cannabis industry has undergone significant changes in packaging and labeling due to strict regulations and the need to ensure loss protection.
New security technologies
To meet the compliance standards set by regulatory bodies such as Metrc, advanced technologies like tamper-resistant tape, tamper-indicating ink, and RFID tracking chips have been introduced to provide additional security at the packaging level. These measures help prevent any potential tampering, theft, or loss of products while ensuring accurate tracking and reporting of inventory.
The rise of smart labeling
Once thought to be a passing fad, the pandemic breathed new life into QR codes. The cannabis industry has embraced this technology in the form of smart labeling. This makes it easy for consumers to access key info about their purchases, including product origin, potency, and testing results, helping to build trust between producers and consumers.
As the industry continues to evolve, advancements in packaging and labeling will likely play an essential role in ensuring compliance, security, and transparency in the cannabis marketplace.
RECREATIONAL CANNABIS ARE BOOSTING WORKFORCE EMPLOYMENT
According to the 2022 Leafly Jobs Report, 428,059 full-time jobs are supported by the legal cannabis industry. 2021 saw 280 new jobs created per day.
Expect these numbers to grow even higher in 2023 thanks to new regulations making it easier than ever to enter the growing cannabis industry. By being able to better meet consumer needs, demands will increase. That means more businesses, more employment opportunities, and more profit across the board. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say.
Clearly, the California cannabis industry is poised for significant growth in 2023 and beyond. The new regulations announced by the California Department of Cannabis Control will make it easier for consumers to access their preferred products and streamline business operations and ensure compliance with state requirements. With the industry already providing hundreds of thousands of jobs and generating significant revenue, the future looks bright for legal cannabis in California. As the industry continues to evolve and adapt to changing regulations and consumer demands, it will be exciting to see what new developments and opportunities emerge.
If you’re thinking of starting a legal cannabis operation in California, be sure to check the DCC website to stay up to date on current regulations.