Recreational and medical marijuana prices vary all across Arizona, but the highest prices are especially noticeable in areas outside of Phoenix metro. And there is one major issue growing in Arizona that could force prices sky high in 2021, while at the same time decreasing the products available at dispensaries.
Arizona’s mandatory testing law that started in November 2020 is the problem. It makes it extremely challenging and expensive for testing labs to get certified, which means there aren’t enough labs to test all the marijuana in the state efficiently.
Every dispensary is required to test marijuana before selling it, however, testing labs are severely backed up, which bottlenecks the cannabis supply chain. If this process doesn’t get streamlined soon it will cause statewide marijuana shortages and price hikes for medical and recreational marijuana. Furthermore, the bottleneck means dispensaries will eventually have to prioritize which marijuana products they want to submit to the lab and sell, while other products will no longer make it onto store shelves.
The supply and price issues will be worse in major cities outside of Phoenix metro, such as Tucson and Flagstaff, where demand for marijuana is high, but no testing labs reside. This means dispensaries located outside of Phoenix are forced to continually transport marijuana to a lab in Phoenix to get tested. This extra overhead for those dispensaries will likely be recouped in the form of higher prices for consumers.
One industry insider told AZmarijuana.com that the testing law “will affect different parts of the state disproportionately” if no labs open outside of Phoenix metro.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS), which oversees the state’s medical and adult-use cannabis markets, along with Arizona lawmakers, should fix the testing issue by simply making it easier for testing labs to get certified. This would increase the amount of labs operating in the state and fix the supply chain.