California blazed a new trail in 1996 when it introduced the country – and the world – to legalized medical marijuana with the passage of Prop 215. In the 22 years since, 29 other states and the nation’s capital of Washington D.C. have joined Cali in passing their own varying versions of MMJ laws and public support for the cannabis plant is at an all-time high.
But a disturbing new trend is emerging on the legislative side of cannabis and some of the most recent states to embrace “medical marijuana” laws are specifically prohibiting any form of smokable cannabis is “raw” or flower form.
That’s right – no buds, no nugs, no colas, no shake, no pistils, no trichomes, no doobies, no joints, no pre-rolls, no blunts, no bongloads or pipeloads, or any of the fun and effective ways that people have been enjoying and benefitting from cannabis forever.
Florida cannabis advocates are embroiled in an ongoing battle over this very topic and legal dispensaries currently cannot sell flower. Oklahoma just passed their MMJ laws and snuck in a no-flower provision at the 11th hour, much to the dismay of the very people the law is allegedly intended to help. The list goes on.
But here’s the question – do enough people really care?
Don’t get us wrong, nothing beats a terp-blast dab off a perfectly heated PeliNail coil and quartz banger but we still love to break up beautiful buds and explore the intricacies of all the various flavors and top shelf flower strains that are available these days. The aromas and effects of well-grown weed will always bring us pure satisfaction but it appears that we might be in a dying demographic.
Cannabis use is skyhigh across the country, due in large part to the surge in legalization mentioned above, but recent studies and glaring trends indicate that many people are stashing their pipes, papers and bongs in favor of dabs, vape pens, edibles, and an ever-growing list of alternative ways to customize and maximize the experience.
Colorado passed the nation’s first adult recreational cannabis use laws in 2014 and at that time cannabis flower/buds accounted for 67% of total sales in the state’s registered pot shops. Today it has dropped to 44% and does not seem to be leveling off anytime soon.
In that same time period the sales figures for cannabis extracts and concentrates – like wax, shatter, budder, live resin, etc. – more than doubled and now lays claim to 31% of total sales in legal Colorado dispensaries and the number of people eating or drinking cannabis products increased from 35.2 percent in 2016 to 40.4 percent in 2017.
Oregon, who also enjoys pretty progressive cannabis laws, has seen similar trends with flower sales falling from 51% to 44% in just one year.
In the first four months of 2018, California has seen its flower sales drop 3%. Critics will argue that high prices/taxes on Cali rec weed is deterring sales, and that is certainly part of the equation, but that doesn’t explain the drop in Oregon where the average price of a gram of bud plummeted more than 41% in 15 months, hitting the bottom of the barrel at just $5.77 a gram earlier this year.
So with states starting to single out cannabis flowers as some sort of unnecessary evil, and with prices dropping right alongside public interest, what motivation will there be for true craft cannabis growers if these trends continue? And if we do get the federal government to deschedule cannabis, will they too single out the flowers themselves and continue to vilify them?
True cannabis reform liberates the use of the whole plant for any purpose, period.
Even if you don’t smoke flower it is crucial that you always stand up for the right to do so.
Anything less only contributes to the erosion of the movement that brought us here.