The Blurred Lines of Concentrates: Clearing the Smoke
Back in the year 1980, 75 percent of nationwide drug arrests were related to cannabis offences. Nowadays, cannabis-linked arrests account for 44 percent of incidents. Unfortunately, a large portion of arrests are occurring as a result of cannabis concentrates. That’s not to say they they aren’t popular, however.
As little as a decade ago, the concept of cannabis concentrates hadn’t really been brought to many people’s attention. Back then, the herb was appreciated for what it is and in its simplest form – bud. Now, with what scientists have discovered, consumers can explore a variety of consumption methods.
Sales of Cannabis Concentrates to Catch-up with Flower
Everybody’s obsessed with concentrates, which provide convenience, discretion, and swift absorption into the bloodstream for fast effects.
Fast forward to the year 2022, and sales of cannabis concentrates are predicted to reach $ 8.4 billion on an annual basis. This is equivalent to the $ 8.5 billion in revenue that is estimated to be gleaned from dry flower sales in the same year.
Within the next five years, industry analysts believe that concentrated cannabis sales could overcome sales of dried flower buds; the latter of which account for the vast majority of legal weed sales in cannabis-friendly U.S. states.
This is according to a report published in September last year by industry consultants Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics. Of course, the rate at which concentrated cannabis dominates the market depends on the pace of legalization. Stimulated by the growth of unique vaping devices, it’s headed in the right direction.
“It would be happening quicker, except there are so many limitations on it,” said the managing director of industry intelligence at BDS, Tom Adams. “Lots of medical states allow flower only.”
Possession or Manufacturing of Cannabis Extracts is Illegal in Most Jurisdictions
The term “hashish” was first mentioned in a published manuscript in Cairo in 1123 CE. Since this concentrated form of cannabis packs a more powerful punch of cannabinoids, the level of psychoactivity that one might experience could be on a totally different scale to the mind-bending effects produced by smoking the plant.
This study revealed how the psychoactive THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content of cannabis is bolstered to 80 percent when the plant is extracted into extracts, like shatter and wax. Oils that fit inside vaporizer cartridges are arguably the most popular form of concentrates in today’s modern era of marijuana.
So much so, in fact, that a report titled “Concentrates: The Hottest Product Category in Cannabis” stated that vape products would account for almost 60 percent of concentrates sales in 2018.
Confusion Arises Regarding Concentrated Cannabis Possession
Considering what we just discussed, why are cannabis concentrates illegal in most U.S. jurisdictions? Confusion commonly arises on this subject and states must address the problem. Let’s look at California as an example.
Last year, on the first day of January, adults aged 21 and above in the ‘Golden State’ became legally able to consume and possess a maximum of eight grams concentrated cannabis, A.K.A. “hashish”. The law came into effect following a voter passage of cannabis legalization (Proposition 64) in 2016.
Then again, if an individual is found in possession of any more than eight grams of concentrated cannabis, they could face six months in county jail. Anyone below the age of 21 will be filed with an infraction if they are in possession of any amount of concentrated cannabis.
Based on the details outlined under Florida Statute 893.13(6)(a), it is a felony to possess any amount of THC, even if the concentrated cannabis weighs less than 20 grams.
In Washington DC, you can legally possess up to two ounces of cannabis, but can spend up to 180 days in jail for “hashish.” DC metro police are arresting people for having concentrates, thus classifying them as “hashish.” We all know that hashish and concentrates are quite different, however the local law enforcement is given the opportunity to interpret the laws on their own.
“Here in DC, the legalities of the recreational market are extremely confusing. Although cannabis is legal in The District, law enforcement is classifying concentrates how they please. This can be extremely frustrating for people who prefer concentrates or are unaware of the regulations.” – Sam Adetunji, Cofounder of a DC-based medical marijuana business
Perhaps States Should Follow in Colorado’s Footsteps
California and Colorado boast two of the largest legal weed markets in the United States. Notwithstanding, when compared with California’s concentrated cannabis restrictions, it seems that Cali needs to replicate Colorado’s system.
The state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) cleverly conducted studies to ascertain precisely what the THC equivalent of concentrated forms of cannabis are, in comparison to the plant material in its natural flower form.
The MED affirms that, due to concentrates containing higher levels of the psychotropic substance THC, consumers should not be allowed to acquire the same amount of concentrated cannabis inside a dispensary as they can flower.
Coloradans are informed with ‘Marijuana Equivalency’ guidelines, of which were published by the MED on October 1, 2016. In order to comply with Colorado’s legal cannabis buying limits, consumers must understand the following:
- 1oz Flower = 8g of concentrate
- 1oz Flower = 800mg of edibles
It must be noted that the above restrictions don’t apply to possession of cannabis concentrates in Colorado; just sales. Nonetheless, it’s a good starting point and for confused states, an opportunity to follow suit.