Retail Report: 2017 vs. 2018

The time is upon us, friends. California is set to serve adult use customers starting January 1, 2018! We can’t wait to begin helping a slew of new buyers in the coming weeks, months and years ahead. There are so many questions to be answered in the coming months and Caliva looks to lead the charge with top notch product, compliance, and answers to these questions!

Legalization of adult use comes with changes for all dispensaries in California. As California evolves its program, dispensaries must follow suit. Returning Caliva patients may notice some differences, but the quality and excellent service will remain the same.

Come January 1st, expect changes in the way your marijuana is packaged, described and possibly even sold.

Now, before we dive into what’s to come, let’s take a look at how Caliva operated this past year.

How Caliva Operated as a California Dispensary in 2017

Every year brings change in the rapidly evolving California marijuana business. In short, 2017 was often confusing, hard, and lacked standardization.

In 2017 and past years, dispensaries in California worked with suppliers that provided quality items on demand for cash – with each product having to pass the state’s general mold and pesticide standards. Regulations varied from city to city. While California marijuana laws permitted customers to see, smell and touch their bud, San Jose cannabis laws barred touching the plant prior to sale, requiring all products be packaged – keeping Caliva ahead of one regulation.

From ordering to taxes, virtually every component of the business proved difficult. Keeping high-quality strains was an issue for California dispensaries. Maintaining quality supplies was a trying effort, even for Caliva’s Purchasing Specialist Omar Ortiz – who stayed ahead of demand with real-time data tools like Headset. Meanwhile, paying taxes continued to be an issue with federal tax code section 280-e making it difficult to pay the correct amount.

Part of Caliva’s 2017 plans was to prepare for the differences in 2018. “We anticipated regulations coming out,” explains Ortiz. “We’ve always been a very forward-thinking company in terms of compliance and testing. So, we’ve already been doing this for a while.”

Now, as 2018 and recreational marijuana use becomes legal, Caliva is prepared to continue providing top-quality service from only the best suppliers. Here’s what to expect:

How Caliva Will Operate as a California Dispensary in 2018

Business will change for both customers and dispensaries like Caliva in the new year. For dispensaries, operating the business will remain confusing and just as hard – but in different ways than before. Notable changes include:

  • All products must be sold in the package purchased from the supplier
  • All packages must be resealable and childproof
  • No bulk flower sold between distributors
  • Stricter regulations for supplier’s products to pass updated criteria
  • Updating verbiage on product packaging
  • The need for a valid reseller certificate to avoid tax headaches

Caliva General Manager Erika Henika explained how Caliva and dispensaries in California are reacting to the recent regulation rollout. “Right now, these are the preliminary emergency regulations; that you know right out the gate will be temporary and will be in a constant state of change for at least the next year…Everybody, including ourselves, are scrambling to find answers.” Despite the uncertainty, Caliva remains excited about the future.

Henika went on to note the state’s usual grace period for business compliance not applying to this case. “The biggest pain point is just being ready to adapt to all this change.” Though, changes have come with support from San Jose and state officials. “We’re all in the same boat,” Henika noted. “Everybody wants everybody to be successful on all sides.”

How This Impacts Products Sold

Not every regulation alters how Caliva operates as a dispensary. Instead, many of the changes affect the supplier, which then impacts dispensaries and customers. This includes updated packaging rules that limit edibles to 100 milligrams per bag, with each edible cut into pieces no more than 10mg. Upgrades to packaging may also see prices go up a bit in 2018 for the year as well.

Suppliers must also meet stricter 2018 testing standards. Though, this shouldn’t impact Caliva’s network much if at all. “It’s pretty great with us,” Henika elaborates, “because we’re very selective in the first place about who we vend with and who we decide to bring into our store. Whether it’s flower or edibles, we’re not working with 100+ vendors. So, it’s already a pretty small, elite group.”

As Ortiz described, standardization will dictate what appears on the shelves of Caliva.

“There are going to be a lot of products that are currently on our shelves that won’t be here in the new year because of packaging, verbiage, caps on milligrams per products – it’s going to be very interesting to see which products stick around and new products companies bring in.” He added that microdosing could be the early trendsetter in California – something which Caliva is already well-supplied with to meet the demand for its new customers and patients.

Experience the Difference at Caliva in 2018

The new year will be exciting for Caliva and other California dispensaries. Omar Ortiz will further explore the trends of the industry while Erika Henika and the team focus on a two-prong customer success experience online and in-store:

“In the retail world, it’s all about the online experience and making it very easy for the customer. At the same time, we’ll be creating and growing an awesome in-store experience. For the walk-in customer, in this day with brick and mortar, you really have to have something special and offer what other locations don’t to have physical walk-in traffic. So, we’re going to build both while working with the regulations.”

With the new year and new marketplace upon us, come into Caliva with enthusiasm and positivity like Henika, Ortiz and the team. “This is such an exciting time for the industry and California going recreational is so big,” notes Henika. “I hope everyone is excited and isn’t afraid of regulations. We’re just really excited to celebrate this huge, huge milestone for California.”

– Andrew Ward is a freelance writer with his finger on the pulse and his eyes to the sky!

Categories: Cannabis News

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