Weed Waste: The Cannabis Industry’s Waste Problem

Weed Waste: The Cannabis Industry’s Waste Problem

The cannabis industry has a waste issue.


The fundamentals of the cannabis movement are to move to a more “green” way of life.

So, what is the issue?  Truth is many cannabis dispensaries nation wide are forced to produce more waste than they would like. This is due to over regulation.

Why is Cannabis Causing So Much Waste?

Whenever cannabis is purchased at a Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC), there are certain regulations that must be followed for them to dispense your cannabis. State law requires the MMTC to have all their products prepackaged.  In order to streamline their sales process these products are prepackaged before they leave the store.  These products must be labeled a certain way.  Every product dispensed must have certain information to show what the product is, and that the medical cannabis patient can posses that product.  Every product that I have purchased at an MMTC has listed on it: the MG of THC and other cannabinoids, my name, my doctor’s name, and my patient ID number. On top of all these packaging requirements they need to put everything in what is called an “exit bag”.

An “exit bag” is a bag specifically packaged for leaving the dispensary.  It is normally childproof, on top of the individual packages being childproof, and sealed so that all of the items you purchased are bundled together and packaged safely for you to leave the dispensary.

Why all the excess packaging?

Packaging Waste is Due to 2 Main Reasons:

  1. Over regulations. The truth is the dispensary doesn’t want to spend the extra money on packaging and the budtender doesn’t want to spend the extra time packaging your product. They follow all these extra packaging steps in the sales process because they are forced to by law.
  2. Dispensaries Don’t Want to Get Sued. Dispensaries understand that we live in a litigious society and there are certain stigmas behind what they do (misguided as they may be).  If one of their customers is careless with their cannabis, and it end up in the hands of a child, the person at fault is going to be quick to blame the dispensary.  They have to do what they have to do to protect their business.

Although the above example is specific to Florida, the experience isn’t much different in a different state.  In the State of California, the Medicinal and Adult Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) is what mandates that all cannabis products be sold in child resistant packaging. Despite being one of the most progressive states when it comes to climate change, California ironically becomes lenient to its green friendly attitude when it comes to the cannabis industry.

Distributors and retailers are welcomed to purchase more eco friendly packaging options, but these options tend to be higher in price. The cost of the excess packaging is already pretty high and many of these companies can’t afford the higher price for the eco friendly options.

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