PHOENIX, Arizona – Arizona’s new bill poses tremendous changes in the state’s cannabis testing law.
The new marijuana testing guidelines required for all Arizona dispensaries, which started on November 1, 2020, also further caused a supply shortage. With the mandatory testing, there were fewer medical cannabis products on the shelves in stores. It happened as dispensaries wait for products to get through the testing phase.
Another issue, even before the mandatory testing began, was the potential that not all medical marijuana products would pass. The increased chance that many cannabis wouldn’t pass as some growers couldn’t meet the pesticide regulations will lower the number of available products.
Although there was a reassurance from the Department of Health Services that the disruption in supply, if there is any, will be limited and is only temporary, it wasn’t enough to curb the concern for some.
However, a new bill aims to fix Arizona’s cannabis supply shortage when the mandatory testing began. One of the critical issues during the original testing law was that it launched before many testing labs were ready for operation. There wasn’t an adequate amount of labs to handle the huge amount of marijuana ready for testing.
As testing labs failed to test a massive amount of cannabis promptly, it caused shortages throughout Arizona. It greatly affected medical marijuana patients as it became more challenging to get the medicine they require.
In part, the new Arizona bill reads that if an independent third-party testing laboratory couldn’t provide necessary test results within seven business days, they are to remit the supposed payment to the department of deposit. The test results include those for usable marijuana and other marijuana products intended for medical use sent to the testing labs by nonprofit medical marijuana dispensaries.
In other words, laboratories will be forfeiting their revenue for tests that they cannot complete promptly or in seven business days as required in the regulation. The forfeited revenue from the third-party laboratory will be under the medical marijuana fund established by Section 36-2817.
Meanwhile, Arizona’s recreational marijuana sales, which only began on January 22, 2021, are booming at most cannabis dispensaries. The recreational marijuana market in Arizona is growing following the cannabis legalization passed during the election in November. Arizona joins 14 other US states to move towards broadly legalizing cannabis use.
Early this year, the state’s Department of Health Services started accepting license applications from businesses wishing to dip in the recreational cannabis market. Many businesses and facilities already received licenses to begin adult-use cannabis sales.
Cannabis companies in the state are reporting long customer lines and increasing sales weeks after the market launch and a couple of months after the approved legalization of recreational cannabis for adults.
Dispensary operators who received the first recreational licenses from the department report two up to three times of boost in adult-use sales. Dozens of existing medical cannabis dispensaries already opened their stores to recreation shoppers, sparking new concerns about supply problems.
With many dispensaries opening to sell cannabis recreationally, medical cannabis patients start to worry about supply shortages.