Senate Bill 622 aims to provide more flexibility to the DCC’s use of plant tags
Governor Gavin Newsom has signed legislation aimed at reducing plastic waste in California’s cannabis industry, representing a marked victory for both cannabis and the environment. Sponsored by Northern California-based cannabis company, CannaCraft, Senate Bill (SB) 622, by Senator Ben Allen (D-Santa Monica), eliminates an unnecessary and redundant requirement mandating that licensed cannabis cultivators apply a single-use plastic tag to each individual cannabis plant.
A June 2022 opinion piece entitled “Bag the Tags! California’s Eco-Absurdity” brought to light ecologically unsound cannabis policies and regulations, illustrated by its onerous plant tagging requirements. Authored by Tiffany Devitt, head of Regulatory Affairs for CannaCraft and March and Ash and board member of the California Cannabis Industry Association, the article was published by educational non-profit Project CBD.
Devitt emphasized that the purpose of the physical plant tagging requirement – tracking plants from seed to sale and ensuring they remain within the state – could be efficiently achieved with digital tags. By revising its ineffective plant tag policy, she concluded, California could eliminate several hundred thousands pounds of plastic waste every year and set a more sustainable example for other states to emulate.
Senator Allen, who chairs the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, has been a leader on climate change policy and environmental justice. His landmark legislation, Senate Bill 54, enacted last year, requires manufacturers of single-use packaging and food service ware shoulder the responsibility for effectively managing and recycling the products they introduce into the commercial market.
“Beyond environmental and financial impacts for our local governments, plastic products have become a public health hazard such that we are finding microplastics in bloodstreams. We should act responsibly to curb the unnecessary use of plastics where possible,” said Senator Allen, who chairs the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “As the cannabis industry continues to develop in California, it is critical that we support sustainability as a pillar of its growth. SB 622 aims to do just that, and I thank Governor Newsom for signing this common-sense measure.”
Devitt added, “Over the past 5 years, the state has used between 200 and 250 million plant tags generating over 1 million pounds of plastic waste. The price tag on that waste: The state of California spends about $15 million per year buying these tags and providing them to cannabis farms. The biggest tragedy here is that those tags did nothing to prevent diversion, which was the stated intent.”
SB 622 will provide more flexibility to the Department of Cannabis Control to regulate how cannabis plants are tracked to ensure easy identification of plants for effective enforcement by inspectors and compliance by cultivators, while minimizing plastic wasteful and environmental damage. The bill leaves room for emerging technologies like digital tags and allows for alternatives such as centralized lists of identifiers to locate plants.
SB 622 was passed unanimously in both the California Senate and Assembly and was signed into law by Governor Newsom on Sunday, October 8, 2023.
CannaCraft is a vertically-integrated company, founded in 2014 with the mission to produce safe and effective cannabis products. The company currently manufactures and distributes AbsoluteXtracts, Care By Design, Lagunitas Hi-Fi Sessions, Farmer and the Felon, and Loud + Clear from their licensed facilities in Santa Rosa, California. CannaCraft’s product portfolio boasts hundreds of unique products, including vape cartridges, tinctures, topicals, soft gels, packaged flower, gummies, concentrates, and beverages. Learn more at www.cannacraft.com.