'There Are
Currently 3 Things
Choking Out The Industry'

State of the Industry

 
 
The marijuana industry in Southern California is all fucked up. That’s the easiest and clearest way to sum it up. It’s definitely getting better. But it’s still a mess.

Everything was working fine for decades then recreational legalization hit and turned it all upside down. Now, bosses have become employees. Giant brands that spent years establishing themselves are either on life support, or totally non existent in the legal market. It’s a very odd time to be making a living selling thc.

That being said, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are a handful of experienced veterans that know what they’re doing, understand the industry, and are committed to seeing the tough times through. I call them “The Warriors”.

For a while you could feel the panic as brands were struggling to stay complaint while still attempting to produce products on the level that we are all used to. Following all the new rule changes caused variances in operating procedures that ended up trickling down to the end product. It wasn’t good.

Now, things are starting to shake out. Companies have organized themselves and are now able to focus on putting out quality instead of just trying to stay alive.

There are currently 3 things choking out the industry:

  1. Quality
  2. Consistency
  3. Price/Tax

Once all 3 are addressed, the rank and file stoners in California will start to get behind the compliant brands and dispensaries.

Quality

 

Currently, the recreational marijuana market has a reputation of being over priced and/or under strength. And in a state that’s known for the best weed in the world, that’s really bad for business.

Marijuana smokers in California have been spoiled for years. Growers here have been cranking out super high quality herb for a very long time. We all have our favorite spot that we like to hit up because we know they have a strain that we like. Some of us have literally spent years hunting down a dispensary or 2 that have proven themselves to be reliable.

We know what’s up. We know what good weed smells like. We know what good hash looks like. And to be honest, when I walk into a lot of permitted shops, that’s not what I see.

Fortunately, as I mentioned, that’s starting to change.

For example, the owner of Moxie recently showed a friend of mine some hash that was as good as their old, world famous non-complaint work.

Connected Cannabis Co’s grow team has finally figured out how to produce killer compliant exotics.

Pearl Pharma, well, they’re just doing what they’ve always done and that’s grow dank.

In the coming months, as more and more top shelf operations come on line the issue of quality will hopefully be solved and the selection of high quality thc products available in licensed shops will rival that of the “good ole days”.

Consistency

 

New rules make it difficult for dispensaries to display their products in a way that allows consumers to see and smell what they’re buying before they buy it. Trust is more important than ever before. So is consistency.

If I’m not able to see what I’m buying, chances are I’m either taking the budtender’s advice which is hopefully based on their experience. Or, I’m basing my buying decision on my own experience. If I’ve smoked something in the past that I really liked, and a shop has it again, I’m probably buying it again.

But if I pop the seal and the contents are extremely different than what I’m used to, there’s a problem.

In the past consumers would spend a few minutes checking everything out. Taking a sniff of this, a glance at that, a squeeze of this. Now, it’s all based on recommendation and reputation. Everything is pre packaged ready for sale.

NUGGETRY rated brands are known for consistently producing high quality products. Period.

If there are storage or over ordering issues causing shops to sell old/dry products, that’s a different story.

For the most part if you see a brand or a product listed here on NUGGETRY you can trust that if you buy that same product in a shop it’s going to be good. And if it’s not, we definitely want to hear about it.

Price/Tax

 

By far, the biggest difference in licensed and unlicensed dispensaries is price. A top shelf 8th of Connected flower used to run $50-$65 depending on the shop. Now, licensed shops, including Connected shops, are selling compliant Connected Cannabis Co. flower for $75-$80 an 8th. Is it worth it? That depends on how much you like their flower. Based on the fact that they are constantly sold out, apparently a lot of people think it is.

Connected is lucky enough to be a brand that can actually command such prices. Their flower is in super high demand thanks to both quality and hype.

Not everyone can charge that much and for your average brand or shop, it’s tough right now.

Sales tax, state excise tax, and city “Weed tax”. All 3 are now tacked on to recreational sales. In some areas, those 3 taxes add up to almost 40%. That means if your order totals $100, after tax, you’re walking out the door having spent $140. After 3 trips to a dispensary you’ll have spent $420 with $120 of that going to tax.

A lot of people just say fuck it and shop at their local unlicensed shop because they get more for their money. They’d like to shop at a permitted spot but simply can’t afford to. That extra $120 that goes to tax could instead be spent on next week’s weed order and the gas needed to drive to the shop.

To give you an idea of how weird things are right now. The owner of one of the biggest shops in the state recently sent out a text blast practically begging distributors to call him if they have low/mid priced flower available. He’s having a hard time moving top shelf because of price issues and customers are leaving empty handed. They are not finding anything in their price point that they like.

Until something is done to reduce the tax applied to retail sales, this issue is going to exist and huge slice of the stoner pie in California is going to remain under the radar.

Is the state purposely setting people up to fail? I don’t think they are. But I do believe that the people calling the shots don’t quite understand how things really work in the weed game. If we had a few “subject matter experts” helping draft policy, I have a feeling things would be running a lot smoother right now.

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