Guest Opinion: Stop Trashing Earth With Cannabis Packaging

California regulators need your input this week. (David Downs/Leafly)

Guest Opinion

California cannabis regulations expert Jackie McGowan (courtesy of K Street Consulting)
(courtesy of K Street Consulting)

Jackie McGowan is a cannabis regulations expert and the director of licensing and business development at K Street Consulting. She founded the influential Facebook group “California – City & County Regulation Watch, a public group about proposed cannabis laws and rules across California. Leafly welcomes op-ed contributions from industry and political leaders on a range of topics related to cannabis.


California cannabis consumers need to tell state regulators this week to:

  • cut down on wasteful cannabis packaging,
  • support statewide deliveries,
  • and prevent industry blackouts

—or we risk failing to launch real legalization in California.

The world needs your voice now.
Jackie McGowan, Director of Licensing and Business Development, K Street Consulting

As a cannabis regulations expert, I can tell you the state is in a critical, 45-day public comment period set to expire on August 27 at 5 p.m. Everyone agrees we’re “building the airplane” as we fly it in California. Well, we are now in a situation where that plane’s check-engine light is on. It’s flashing red, warning us that we are in dangerous territory, and as passengers, we are experiencing extreme turbulence. Prices are high, bans are rampant, and more rules are coming into effect. We must help keep this plane in the air. The world needs your voice now. Let’s dig into these three regulatory priorities and how you help:

Legal Cannabis Isn't Going to Smoke Itself
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Support Statewide Delivery

Problem: Storefront Bans Everywhere

Legalization Proposition 64 passed on a 56–44 vote in November 2016. To date, about 70% of the state bans stores where adults can buy cannabis. Many jursidictions also ban delivery from licensed delivery services that sell it.

Solution: Support Bureau of Cannabis Control Regulation Section 5416(d)

In order to protect our right to safe access, we must support BCC Regulation Section 5416(d), which would clarify drivers of licensed cannabis delivery businesses can travel on public roads and deliver into any jurisdiction in the state.

How You Support Delivery Where You Live

A Bay Area–based licensed delivery service, We Drop, has created a thoughtful response to this section in a handy and user-friendly link to make your support heard.

Step 1: Click here to send regulators a letter of support: https://www.wedrop.co/regulation-5416

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Oppose Plastic Packaging Waste

Problem: We’re Trashing the Planet

We’re also wasting money without making cannabis any safer, with rules mandating all products be placed in bulky, opaque, child-resistant plastic exit bags. Society is moving away from plastic, and it is only a matter of time before a cannabis-friendly city bans plastic, child-resistant exit packaging because of the plastic waste.

Solution: Oppose BCC Regulation 5413

It would reinstate the rule that all exit packaging be child-resistant. Individual products in the bag already are. Consumers should remind California officials that we are trendsetting in our care for the environment and oppose the newly proposed BCC Regulation 5413.

How You Oppose Legal Cannabis Packaging Waste

Two agencies are involved with packaging in California, and they both need to hear from us.

Step 1: Email the California Department of Public Health: regulations@cdph.ca.gov. The subject line should reference “CDPH-17-010 and Regulation 40415.”

A sample email message may be, “I wanted to write to express my concern for the use of child-resistant exit packaging. This is detrimental to the environment, and should go the way of single-use plastic bags! We oppose the removal of this section and support the prior version of CDPH Regulation 40415 and request its reversal in the regulations. Thank you.”

Step 2: You can email the Bureau of Cannabis Control at BCC.comments@dca.ca.gov.  The subject line should reference “BCC-Regulation 5413.”

A suggested message may be, “Ms. Ajax, I wanted to write about the exit packaging requirements in the latest draft of regulations for the state of California’s cannabis operators. This packaging is bad for the environment and adds an additional cost to the end consumer, who is already experiencing sticker shock at dispensaries. I’d like to request that BCC Regulation 5413 be removed from the regulations. Thank you for taking time to consider my suggestion during this valuable comment period.”

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Oppose Forced Industry Blackouts

Problem: Software Outages Happen

BCC Regulation Section 5050(d) states when a licensed business loses access to California’s online regulatory tracking software, they may not conduct business with other cannabis businesses, or with consumers, until their online access is restored. This could have unintended consequences and shut down the entire marketplace when the state’s chosen track and trace company, Metrc, ends up having an outage. All tech services have outages.

We are the largest cannabis market in the world and cannot be crippled by the outages at the state’s selected software provider. Just read here to see what the tiny state of Maryland with only 47,000 patients is currently experiencing.

Solution: Oppose BCC Section 5050(d)

If you want your favorite retailer or delivery service to still be open when technology crashes, please write the BCC requesting they remove Section 5050(d) from the regulations.

How You Can Oppose Forced Blackouts

Step 1: Email the BCC at BCC.comments@dca.ca.gov. Use ‘Regulation Section 5050(d)’ as the email subject line.

A suggested comment can be made such as this: “Ms. Ajax, I am a California consumer. I am concerned that the regulation concerning the Metrc system may have unintended consequences for the California marketplace. Patients in Maryland were recently severely affected by a system failure. I request that the BCC seriously consider removing Regulation Section 5050(d)  from the current regulations. Thank you.”

Step 2: Email the CDFA at (CalCannabisRegs@cdfa.ca.gov). Type “Reg 8402(e)(3)” in the email subject line.

A suggested comment can be made such as this: “Dear CFDA, I am a California consumer. I am concerned that the regulation concerning the Metrc system may have unintended consequences for the California marketplace. Patients in Maryland were recently severely affected by a system failure. I request that the BCC seriously consider removing Regulation Section 8402(e)(3) from the current regulations. Thank you.”

Step 3: Email the CDPH at regulations@cdph.ca.gov. Type “DPH-17-010 Reg 40513(d)” in the email subject line.

A suggested comment can be made such as this: “Dear CDPH, I am a California consumer. I am concerned that the regulation concerning the Metrc system may have unintended consequences for the California marketplace. Patients in Maryland were recently severely affected by a system failure. I request that the CDPH seriously consider removing Regulation Section 40513(d) from the current regulations. Thank you.”

Now’s the time to speak up, California. Or don’t complain later.