Could Sacramento Be a ‘Seed-to-sale’ City?

iStock_000031838362_LargeVertical integration would provide safer, consistent access to cannabis patients.

by Michelle Carl

The Sacramento Coalition of Collectives is asking the Sacramento City Council to consider allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to monitor all growth, harvest and processing of their medicine in a “seed to sale” model.

Today’s consumers know if their strawberries were grown in Mexico, if their cereal has non-GMO wheat and if the salmon on their plate was caught in the frigid waters off the coast of Alaska.
But medical marijuana patients visiting dispensaries in Sacramento have very little knowledge about the origins of the cannabis they’re consuming.

“That finished product is basically a story of its entire life cycle, and we don’t always know the details of that story,” says Corey Travis, a representative of the Sacramento Coalition of Collectives.

That’s because the marijuana in dispensaries comes from third-party vendors, medical marijuana patients who sell their crop. The buds have to speak for themselves. Many times it’s unknown what plant they came from, what nutrients it was given, or what pesticides (if any) were used.
Testing can answer some questions, such as the cannabinoid profile, but Travis says testing won’t find every foreign contaminant.  The Sacramento Coalition of Collectives is asking the Sacramento City Council to consider allowing medical marijuana dispensaries to monitor all growth, harvest and processing of their medicine in a “seed to sale” model.
A different option would be for collectives to grow it themselves and monitor all aspects of growth, harvest, processing and delivery of medical marijuana — from seed to sale.
“What that means to the patient is more affordable access to medicine, it means a more reliable quality process, and it means the availability of strains will be more consistent,” he says.
The expense to acquire cannabis from patient providers is far more than the cost to actually produce it, Travis says. Patient-providers name their own price to cover costs. Collectives then have to mark up that cannabis again, to cover their own costs.
Collectives are also limited by what strains growers choose to grow.  “Once a patient finds something that works really well for them, we want to be able to continually provide that particular product — it’s their medicine, they need it on a regular basis,” Travis explains. “And when we’re prevented from vertically integrating our products and have to go to outside sources for those meds, we have no control over being able to regularly keep that product in stock.”
Travis says this vertically integrated system is already in place in almost every medical marijuana market, including Nevada.
The Sacramento Coalition of Collectives is working with city officials right now and asking the Sacramento City Council to consider a seed-to-sale model for the benefit of dispensaries and patients, who could finally get the chance to see where their medicine comes from.
“We would love to be able to take patients to our facilities and show them … where this product is coming from and how it’s grown and cared for,” Travis says.

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