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Licensed vs. Unlicensed Dispensaries in San Diego

The legalization of cannabis in California brought with it many changes in the industry including higher taxes, updated rules and regulations, new mandatory three-stage product testing, and plenty of confusion as to what is and is not allowed in the industry.

California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control is now heading up the organization of the state’s cannabis market by regulating and monitoring the production and sale of cannabis products. The Bureau is also responsible for licensing retailers, distributors, testing labs, microbusinesses, and temporary cannabis events. This means that they are also in charge, along with the DOI-CEU and its other constituents, of figuring out what to do about manufacturers and retailers who continue to operate without licenses and refuse to conform to the modern laws and regulations of 2019.

In San Diego alone, there are still hundreds of delivery-only dispensaries, and dozens of storefronts alike operating illegally, so what exactly are the differences between licensed and unlicensed shops? Lets discuss two important areas!

TESTING

Licensed retail cannabis storefronts in San Diego may only sell products which have passed through the three stages of BCC required testing.

Stage One includes Cannabinoid Testing, Moisture Content Testing, Category II Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing, Category I Residual Pesticides Testing, Microbial Impurities Testing (A. fumigatus, A. flavus, A. niger, A. terreus), Microbial Impurities Testing (Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp.), Homogeneity Testing of Edible Cannabis Products. To summarize, this stage of tests is mainly to determine exact levels of cannabinoids (THC, CBD, CBN, etc.) as well as to make sure there are no known harmful molds or other microbial contaminants in the products.

Stage Two includes Category I Residual Solvents and Processing Chemicals Testing, Category II Residual Pesticides Testing, and Foreign Material Testing. To summarize, these tests help to determine whether harmful and poisonous pesticides or additives were used in the process of producing the cannabis products.

Stage Three includes Terpenoids Testing, Mycotoxins Testing, Heavy Metals Testing, and Water Activity Testing of Solid or Semi-Solid Edibles. This stage is crucial regarding vape cartridges, as testing laboratories around the state are reporting the finding of toxic metals in some cartridges, which are then rejected and sent back to the manufacturer.

These standards of testing are extremely important to ensure that cannabis consumers are getting the safest possible products. Since unlicensed dispensaries do not follow all of the processes required by those which are licensed, the products you purchase from them could contain pesticides, molds, and other harmful contaminants which can damage the brain and body.

Additionally, stage I of testing is instrumental to finding out the true cannabinoid percentages of the products you’re consuming. Advertised percentages of cannabis products from unlicensed shops are nearly always inaccurate, because they aren’t required to test per batch of products. In other words, if an unlicensed shop says their Banana OG is testing at 30% THC, there’s really no way to tell if that’s true because there’s no way to show accountability. Licensed shops must be provided with certificates of analysis proving full testing has been completed on each batch of products which comes into the store.

 

TAXES

Licensed shops in San Diego are now required to collect a 27.75% total tax on all products in the store, including paraphernalia and accessories. Broken down, 15% goes to the California excise tax, 7.75% goes to the state sales tax, and San Diego takes a city tax of 5%. Although nobody likes to pay more for things, other states have shown us what sort of positive impact cannabis taxes can have on the economy!

For example, in Aurora, CO over $1,500,000 in cannabis tax revenue has been invested directly into combatting homelessness by providing shelters, meals, an basic essentials. In Pueblo County, CO local marijuana taxes have paid for over $600,000 student scholarships for the past three years. Colorado as a state voted on amendment 64, which allocated the first $40,000,000 collected in excise taxes directly towards the BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) program.

Washington has focused most of their tax dollars on public health. Financial assistance has partly been aimed at substance abuse programs, and mainly allocated towards paying the state’s share of Medicaid, which provides health insurance to roughly 1.8 million low-income residents of the state. They are also in the process of creating a plan to divide portions of cannabis tax towards k-12 schools, in an effort to hire more faculty and provide supplies for classrooms!

Here in California, Governor Jerry Brown estimated that in 2018 California would bring in an estimated $645 million in cannabis tax revenues, when actually we fell short earning nearly half that at $345 million. So why is that? A large chunk of that has to do with unlicensed storefronts absorbing much of the local cannabis business due to their low prices and tax free visits. If they aren’t paying taxes, all of the money goes into the pockets of the owners rather than being redistributed into state and county funding.

Another key element to the missing revenue is the lack of licenses being distributed for potentially lucrative businesses and events like smoke lounges and festivals. Some cities around California have locations where cannabis users can go to safely and comfortably consume, which is huge for out of state visitors. Tourists and visitors come from other states to San Diego to vacation and experience cannabis while they visit, but if they purchase something to smoke, finding a legal place to smoke it can be difficult. Public consumption is still illegal, most hotels forbid smoking (especially weed), if you smoke in your vehicle you risk a ticket or worse. San Diego city officials have discussed plans to offer designated places to consume, but haven’t released any official notice of permission as of yet.

In the end we can agree the start for recreational cannabis in California has been a bit rough, but what truly matters to most is getting clean, safe products to enjoy! Cannabis still has so much to offer the community economically, socially, and medicinally, and we’ve only just begun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

California, Always Setting Trends In All Things That Matter!

GoGreen

BY | Original Article here

When it comes to setting any “Green” trends, the whole country seemingly looks all the way west… to California!

From electric cars to banning plastic bags to legalizing marijuana, California is one of the states that is in the

lead, if not the one setting the pace for change throughout the country.

 

As if the natural beauty of California isn’t enough, San Diego opened its first legal marijuana dispensary, A Green

Alternative, late last year. The dispensary itself sets the tone for what the industry should follow: you will find a

large selection of medical marijuana products of all types. The environment itself is impressively clean and safe

with guards at the entrance to ensure the safety of their employees.

 

However, the best part is that A Green Alternative took things a few steps further to deliver the ultimate client

experience. Just in case a client doesn’t feel like heading to the shop because they are tired after a long day of

work or perhaps they feel sick… the reason doesn’t matter. Using GoMeadow, the patient can place an order

and have it be delivered to their door… never having to step outside or change out of their pajamas. So, in essence,

the premier San Diego marijuana delivery service, pretty much!

 

Of course, the industry is in its infancy and is already showing great signs of progress. The legalization process is

the first step and with A Green Alternative creating a safe, clean environment for the rest of the city and state to

follow, things are headed in the right direction. But what else is amazing about California?

Health Trends!

Most health trends seem to take root in California before they catch on with the rest of the country. In fact, if you

have lived on the east coast and then checked out California’s cuisine, you will notice a huge difference in the way

food is made there.

 

For instance, east coast’s version of Chinese food is way different than the west coast version in both flavor and

nutrition. The same can be said for Mexican food. Mexican food on the east coast is loaded with sour cream and

cheese (which makes it extremely delicious in a fattening way!) However, order Mexican food on the West coast

and it contains more guacamole, no sour cream if any, and very little cheese. In the same manner, one cannot find

New York style pizza in California (for the obvious reason, but still!) or any marvelous foods such as a stromboli or

delicious cheesesteaks:

delicious cheesesteak

If you are addicted to those foods, it takes a bit of an adjustments. If you start looking at the overall picture,

however, you will realize that most foods in California are prepared in a more health conscientious manner. You

will find more hiking activities (more activities, period!), fruits, avocado/guacamole, fresh seafood, and farmer’s

markets every where.

 

California is all about embracing nature, your body, health, a clean state of mind. While the rest of the country

complains about the housing market, Californians enjoy everything amazing this state has to offer its residents!

Welcome to A Green Alternative

Watch our Introductory Video

Welcome to A Green Alternative, here is our introductory video on our YouTube channel, it already has

more than 18,000 views since April! Please comment and like our video, we would love to hear from you.

With the popularity of this first introductory video, we plan to make more in the future, so feel free to

comment with your suggestions for which topics you would like us to cover. Here is the link to leave

your comment at: https://youtu.be/Hx8osfy0WFU

Desert Rose Nursery clones

Desert Rose Nursery clones

Hello everyone! My name is Ron Chavez, Executive Director and Head Grower for

Desert Rose Nursery. I want to thank Zach and the team over at A Green Alternative for the

opportunity to introduce you to Desert Rose Nursery. Desert Rose Nursery is committed to

bringing patients the best genetics that the world’s most talented growers have to offer. We do

this by searching for the best phenotypes available.

Phenotypes, genetics, what does all of this even mean?

Simply put, we find the cream of the crop and offer them to you. Seeds and clones have their

own distinct advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of using seeds is that you

may be able to find that one special phenotype of a certain strain that is superior to others.

It’s sort of like hitting the lottery. With clones, someone has already hit the lottery and we

are sharing the winnings with you. Clones offer uniformity, a true representation of the strain

with the flavor and effect you were looking for.

Now, a pro tip for all of the people who subscribe to this blog. We drop off new clones to

A Green Alternative every Tuesday afternoon. The time varies, but Tuesday is the day to catch

them with the biggest selection and the freshest roots. Spring is here! it’s time to start clearing

out an area in the backyard or find the sunniest spot on your back patio. Get your Desert Rose

Nursery branded clones at A Green Alternative and Happy Farming!

Weekly Discounts at A Green Alternative

We run quite a few discounts here at A Green Alternative in San Diego! Become a member, then take advantage of the deals we have on top of our usual excellent services!

First Time Patients

25% off your entire first purchase – welcome to A Green Alternative!

Saturday & Sunday

Buy one get one free house preroll on Saturday and Sunday each week

Glass Mondays!

20% off all glass on Mondays

Wax Wednesdays!

20% off all wax / dabs on Wednesdays

420 Tuesdays

From 4:20pm – 6:20pm
$10/grams all strains
Limit 3 grams per patient

Ongoing 10% Military Discount

10% Military Discount - A Green AlternativeHere at A Green Alternative, we salute those brave men and women who have served and are serving in our armed forces with a military discount. We provide all medications at a 10% discount for active & retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists and the U.S. Coast Guard.

All discounts apply to all in store and delivery purchases and may not be combined with any other discount promotions. A valid Military ID must be presented before the purchase is paid for discount to be applied. Please contact our offices or speak with an associate member regarding any questions you may have pertaining to our military discount program. Discount subject to restrictions and change without notice.

Thank you for your service!

Budtender is Now a Job – AGA on Playboy.com

Budtender is now a job, and this is what they do.

Yoonj and Marshall from Playboy Enterprises visited us in late October and we talked to them about our passion for medical marijuana products and our compassionate delivery. As Dr. Blair puts it, our staff is trained to

…Treat the patient as though they were treating their mothers.

We really enjoyed spending the day interviewing with them, and are very happy to share this video with you. Thank you Playboy!

budtender

Link to the full Playboy piece here.