Weed watchers say Northern California could be seeing a marijuana shortage in the next few weeks due to new regulations that create new challenges and a run on the current crop.
One San Jose dispensary had a very busy day Tuesday as customers tried to get ahead of the expected shortage. The afternoon crowd inside Caliva marijuana dispensary was growing while dispensary employees prepared the product along what's quickly becoming one of the state's more lucrative assembly lines.
But despite the demand, it's a nervous time for both dispensaries and customers because a shortage is likely on the way.
"For many dispensaries, it's gonna be tough to get compliant product," said Vince Bjurman of San Martin. "They're saying I have to wait it out. They don't know when the product will be available for them to purchase it for me."
New regulations that kicked in July 1 have left some dispensaries holding the bag and trying to play catch up.
"Every cannabis flower needs to be tested and approved by the state," Caliva CEO Dennis O'Malley said. "Has to all be in child proof packaging. The labeling has to be correct."
Caliva is ahead of the game for now, largely because of new hardware and software and lots of lab work. Each packet has to be ordered eight weeks in advance from China then the labeling goes on.
"It takes time. It takes investment," O'Malley said.
Some of the larger dispensaries like Caliva are able to sell product to the smaller ones, but nobody knows just how deep the shortage will be as dispensaries try to get approved product out.