New cannabis regulations slow down business in North Coast pot shops

Cannabis distributors and providers are hurting after the July 1 mandatory regulations in California, mainly due to the amount of time it takes to test and package the flowers to be compliant.

Regulations have now added new testing along with new packaging requirements causing a slow decline in the amount of product on the shelves after the July 1 change.

For dispensary owners like Danny Brownfield of Heart of Humboldt in Arcata, what was once a fully-stocked shelf of cannabis options is now an almost non-existent amount of strains to choose from. Brownfield says they are going to work to get the testing done quickly and that his customers just need to be patient.

"When a patient comes in and says, 'where's the flower?' and we show them seven bottles, they're not used to that, they're used to 31 flavors," Brownfield said. "The rule is in effect, everyone is trying to comply but they've swamped the testers and it's just not quite working. It'll be okay but right now, we're low on supplies."

Dispensaries like True Humboldt based out of Arcata are also putting in extra time to get the strains tested and packaged. But Botanist Billy Ellyson says they are required to test 50 pounds of product at a time. If the product doesn't meet regulation standards, Ellyson says they will either be forced to destroy it or remedy it.

"Once we get the passing results from our typical research testing, I'm much more confident about that batch passing compliance testing," Ellyson said. "The problem is, it takes a week or a week-and-a-half for the research testing. Then, depending on the lab, it could take a week or even three weeks to get the results back for compliance testing."

Brownfield and Ellyson say the move for regulation has mainly cost them time, which, in turn, costs the customer.

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