Hello reader! My name is Arman, I’m the co-founder of EcoWaste Services. We’re a cannabis waste compliance provider in Southern California.
Have you heard of the term “Cannabis waste” before? If you’re a cannabis business owner or even an employee at a cannabis operation, this article is for you. I’m going to break down what cannabis waste is, why it exists, and its role in state compliance.
What Is Cannabis Waste Exactly
It makes sense that this is the most common question we receive. That’s why I’ll be addressing this first. Cannabis waste is any material, product, or substance that is non-hazardous, and has come into contact with cannabis. Of course that sounds pretty vague so here are some examples of what that could be:
- Marijuana flower
- Cannabis stems/stalks/hurds
- Growing medium such as rock wool
- Failed lab batches (mostly flower)
- CBD oils (unused, unsold, failed, etc)
Why Is Cannabis Waste Important
There are three core reasons why cannabis waste management is part of state compliance. One, in order for regulators to ensure the decrease in the black market they need to know what you’re operation is doing with anything cannabis related. Thus, the track and trace requirements. Cannabis waste is the very end of that tracking process. If you are not selling the material, or if it has failed testing, what are you doing with it?
Meaning that you cannot dispose of the materials in the dumpster or dispose the waste without properly recording the disposal of it. Which leads me to the next reason: eliminating public access to marijuana.
When you throw away cannabis in the dumpster, anybody can sneak in and take it. Even if you have a lock, it can be broken. People are wising up and realizing that they rather steal your dumpster weed than walking in and buying the same thing. I’m not saying these individuals are wise but this is how they view it.
You might think that it’s a rare occurrence and that it has never happened to you so it’s no big deal. However I assure you that it either has without you noticing or it will. We’ve heard the stories from some of our clients and others in the industry.
Lastly, having proper cannabis waste protocols is environmentally friendly. When you throw away the waste in dumpsters all of it is hauled to a landfill and buried in the ground. This creates greenhouse emissions which pollutes our air. Instead, a cannabis waste solution will divert the cannabis waste from going into landfills and instead re-purpose the material into something more eco-friendly like composting.
What Is Required To Be Cannabis Waste Compliant
There are a few steps that a cannabis business has to take to make sure they follow the cannabis waste management regulations set forth by the BCC, CDFA, and CDPH. Each regulating agency has their own specifications but generally they all follow a similar format.
For example, your cannabis waste must be kept in a secured area accessible only to authorized staff. If you’ve done your applications personally, I’m sure you’ve come across this on your blueprint.
Here’s a cannabis waste management checklist we’ve designed to help you understand how to keep your operation in compliance.
Overall, the regulators are just now beginning to enforce the regulations that have been put into place. As the industry continues to mature we’ll see more action being taken against operations that are unlicensed or not compliant.
One thing is for sure, you wouldn’t want to lose your license over something as simple as cannabis waste management. It may be the last part of the process, but it’s how you prove your operation is following the rules.