Civil complaint claims company processed cannabis in an unlicensed facility.
“Cannabis legalization in California is a failure” is a thing you hear because, according to the state, something close to 75% of California’s cannabis economy exists outside of the state’s regulated marketplace. For every weed store doing a banner business, there are three “guys you know” doing just as well — better, probably, since they don’t have to pay taxes or deal with a distributor, or a testing lab, or anyone else.
Most of the blame for this heaped at the feet of lawmakers and elected officials, who have either (or both) taxed cannabis so greedily that untested and suspicious product is preferable to the market, or decided that legalization didn’t matter and theirs would be a dry county or town (and thus an ideal place for any enterprising underground cannabis entrepreneur to set up shop, maybe using WeedMaps).
But you can’t have a regulated economy without regulators and in order for the laws to have any meaning, regulators have to demonstrate that the laws matter. And in dealing with the allegations that Lowell Herb Co. processed cannabis at an unlicensed facility, California’s cannabis regulators have their first major test. What happens next could have serious consequences for legalization.
You’ve probably heard of Lowell — the company sells CBD pre-rolls made from hemp coast-to-coast (I have seen them at my local bodega in New York City, as well as many other bodegas in Brooklyn and Greenwich Village) and also sells THC pre-rolls in California dispensaries. They also opened a cannabis café in September that has since been rebranded as the Original Cannabis Cafe. According to the California Attorney General’s Office, for about three months, from December 2018 to March 2019, the company also processed some of their cannabis at an unlicensed facility in San Luis Obispo County.
Published: December 28, 2019
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