The passage of Prop 207 has brought about changes to our cannabis community, changes that are testing the will of everyone involved. You might be wondering as a patient, as a budtender, as a grower, or even as an industry leader; what comes next? The answer is mostly speculation from all parties involved, but we have a unique opportunity to speak with friends who are navigating the changing market. We will dive into what adult-use consists of, as well as the effect of implementing changes while regulation of testing requirements occur. There will be no perfect answer to questions concerning cannabis, but understanding the changes can help make the transition easier for everyone. A brief recap of the testing fiasco can be found in Season 4, Episode 2 where I ask what role the State of Arizona has in the active regulation of labs that I recommend everyone reads.
Now let’s dive into adult-use, as Prop 207 was written into law last year, the State guidelines for cannabis sales have changed as well. Prop 207 now allows for adults age 21+ to purchase up to 1oz of cannabis, 5 grams of concentrate including vape cartridges, as well as access to edibles with a maximum dose of 100mg. Adult users will also see an additional recreational tax added to existing cannabis sales taxes, while medical patients will see no major changes or additional tax. This is not completely true however, as medical patients are already seeing the changes affect their ability to obtain medicine. Dispensaries have started to serve the new market of recreational users, while also trying to serve their existing medical patients. Arizona has become known as the fastest State to implement changes for recreational laws in a medical cannabis market. The decision to start recreational sales wasn’t a widely agreed upon motion, but instead a starting gun to a race being run by some for the wrong reasons.
Those who are taking changes in stride, and trying to find the balance for both markets like Local Joint Dispensary, are taking the time to find a way to serve everyone interested in cannabis. They are working to make sure medical and recreational users have their place, using two lines to serve both, with low wait times. You might’ve noticed a lack of product at most dispensaries, this issue is going to be commonplace, but is being addressed by Local Joint as they are sourcing all products available when available to stay well stocked. The true test remains the shopping experience, and Local Joint did not disappoint as standards by their staff have remained high. I know first hand as an elderly family member shopped there as a medical patient, and was not rushed or left with any questions concerning their purchase. These are changes being navigated as best as possible by dispensaries around Arizona while uncertainty remains high, and all while they are faced with the added challenge of recent testing mandates.
Testing has been a challenge to the cannabis industry since changes were made in late 2020. The required 5-panel testing has caused widespread problems for supply chains across all aspects of cannabis. I wrote about this in our January 2021 episode of Cannabis Cactus. In the article, I identified the lack of oversight by the State of Arizona concerning these testing facilities. The failure of the Arizona Department of Health in regard to regulating the testing companies, and pointing out that preventing the supply crisis could have been achieved. Regulation of timelines for testing, ensuring all labs had accreditation and the training to test properly should have been Arizona’s main concern. Unfortunately, we are in our present conditions with nothing more than legislation for a fine being enacted to push testing times along. Problems with Adult-Use and Testing aside; Dispensaries, vendors, and production statewide is working to address these issues. A great example of this is Local Joint, who are working to ensure the transition is done right. I sat down for a covid-safe Zoom call with Jaimie Mckenna, Marketing Manager and Shelby Lee, Purchasing Manager of Local Joint Dispensary to discuss the current state of cannabis in Arizona.
How is Local Joint embracing Adult-Use alongside Medical cannabis?
Jaimie – We are putting the Medical Patients first because we would not be here without them! We have created two lines to separate Adult Use from Medical and offering specials to Medical only. That being said, we welcome newcomers and are providing the Adult Use customers with the same education we provide to our medical patients.
Shelby – Local Joint has provided Child Resistant Exit Bags so Adult-Use can have a wider range of products to select from.
What innovations have been implemented to accommodate adult use and medical patients?
Shelby – We have designated separate lines for Medical and Adult Use, as well as a new ordering feature on our website.
Have you seen an increase in new cannabis users?
Shelby – Yes! We have seen many new faces at The Local Joint.
What products have been most popular?
Shelby – Flower (specifically grams of flower), cartridges, and low dose edibles. We have noticed an increase in Sativa edible sales specifically.
What vendors or products do you want to see more involved with rec?
Shelby – We would love to see more from our high end boutique growers. They need a larger supply in order to keep up with the increasing demand of their product.
What is some important information you’d like to communicate about adult use or to medical users?
Shelby – Having a steady supply of products is something that we would all love. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of the labs and it is out of our control at this time. We are all in this together.
Where can you find testing information at Local Joint?
Shelby – You can find THC percentages for specific products on our Leafly page or website. We also print THC percentages right on our labels. If you would like to inquire about the full panel testing, we are always happy to provide those as well.
What issues have you seen with vendors involving testing?
Shelby – Many vendors are limiting their products that they are producing because of testing expenses and turnaround times. We are seeing a lot less availability of products due to the shortages in testing labs at the moment.
Have testing requirements affected your supply chain?
Shelby – 100% YES! We are continually looking for new brands and products to help fulfill our customer’s needs. If a product is unavailable, we will find something comparable so there are still a wide range of options when you shop with us.
What changes do you think could improve testing in Arizona?
Shelby – More state approved testing labs. A lot more!
Check out more awesome local businesses.
Adrian Ryan was born in New Mexico and attended school since elementary in Arizona, his time growing up split between the two states. He hopes to work towards recreational cannabis, enjoys reading, writing, film, music, and also writing music.