SACRAMENTO -- The first year of legal recreational marijuana in California is coming to an end.
With that, the cannabis industry is looking at changes in the new year aimed at increasing transparency for customers.
“This has really been a year of kind of getting used to the new regulatory environment. There has been a lot of pain points, a lot of expense,” said Sacramento Cannabis Industry Association spokesman Robert Baca.
Baca says cannabis is regulated now more than ever. In 2019, an even bigger piece of the regulatory process takes effect. It’s called Track and Trace.
Track and Trace is a system that would allow the Bureau of Cannabis Control to track every marijuana plant using a tracking number and a new software system.
“Basically, we are going to be able to track from literally a seed all the way down to a retail product, whether it be manufactured, whether it be flower,” Baca said.
It’s a large and complicated system but the idea is that you’ll be able to know where your cannabis is grown, packaged and sold.
The BCC believes Track and Trace will reduce black market sales out of state and assure customers that their product is safe.
“This is a good thing, at the end of the day, when you talk about consumer confidence and people knowing they have a safe product,” Baca said.
The BCC is hoping to have the system in place for cultivators, retailers and distributors at some point in 2019.
When recreational marijuana was introduced, retailers first needed to have all products in child-resistant bags. Then, the BCC changed that rule and required all products themselves to be childproof.
In 2019, it’s changing yet again.
“Not everyone is going to be required to have childproof products but the stores themselves will be required to have those products in child-resistant packaging when they leave,” Capital Compliance Management spokesman Paul Clemons said.
Clemons says he expects regulations to be ever-changing but the biggest thing he expects to see next year is more and more communities understanding that cannabis is here to stay.
“From not being able to tell your family to grandparents asking for products, like you couldn’t even understand the change we’ve seen in 10 years,” Clemons said. “And I think another few years it’ll be mind-blowing."