People Post is a space for opinion pieces, letters to the editor and guest submissions from members of the Long Beach community. The following is an op-ed submitted by Adam Hijazi, the founder of LB Green Room and the Station. He serves on the board of directors for the Long Beach Collective Association. The following does not necessarily reflect the views of the Long Beach Post.
Currently, Long Beach has approximately 85 unlicensed delivery dispensaries that deliver to 100-500 individuals a day. Nearly 1 in 5 Californians (18%) have purchased from an unlicensed business in the last three months. The Long Beach Collective Association (LBCA) has stepped in by helping the Long Beach City Council with cannabis regulations and educating consumers on legal cannabis options.
Since recreational cannabis became legal in California, consumers have been challenged with learning the nuances of legal and illegal cannabis. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control, the state agency charged with regulating commercial cannabis licenses for medical and adult use, has launched a public information campaign, Get #weedwise, to combat these issues and provide resources to cannabis consumers and partners to further educate the public on the health dangers of purchasing from an unlicensed dispensary. Long Beach currently has 32 licensed storefront dispensaries and a handful of existing legal retail storefronts that provide legal delivery services. Consumers can check the licensing status of storefront or delivery operators at CApotcheck.com.
To help customers easily identify a dispensary as licensed and authorized to sell medical and/or adult cannabis, the city of Long Beach launched the Cannabis Store Emblem program. Emblems are placed in the front window within five feet of the front door and are only available to licensed cannabis dispensaries in Long Beach. The Emblem program serves as a hallmark of credibility for patrons and notifies consumers that products sold at the dispensary have been thoroughly tested.
Consumers are unaware of the health risks that are linked with purchasing from unregulated, unlicensed delivery businesses. Branded products sold by unlicensed delivery services might not be what they appear. Legitimate manufacturers do not take the risk of selling their products to unlicensed retailers and as a result, knock-offs take their place. The knock-off products have the same labels and look identical when in reality consumers have no clue what they are consuming. Legal dispensaries go through some of the most rigorous testing, making legal cannabis among the safest things to ingest in today’s market.
Curbing the illegal cannabis market is in the hands of the consumers. When consumers shop with licensed operators, they are rewarding law-abiding businesses and paying sales taxes that are reinvested in the community. The general public would not consume an untested knock-off bottle of alcohol made from an unknown manufacturer, why not take the same precautions with cannabis? Purchasing legal cannabis from authorized and licensed dispensaries is the only way to curb the illegal market and modernize the legal industry. Let’s join efforts and only purchase from legal dispensaries. Get #weedwise.
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