Even though I voted with zeal for Prop 64, I deeply regret it now.

Seeing how all of these ridiculous rules and government intrusions will affect what I appreciate so much about the cannabis industry —  small to medium-sized entrepreneurs who love what they do.

It is deeply troubling to review the new packaging guidelines with the over-the-top requirements for resealable child resistant packaging (CRP) on products with a one-time application or non-activated products,  such as a pre-roll, a vape cartridge or an eighth of flower. These cannabis products are much less harmful than the dishwasher soap pods stored underneath my kitchen sink in a tear open plastic package.

Related: Here are the rules for legal marijuana in California once the law goes into effect Jan. 1

Imagine the volume of Kush bottles and plastic doob tubes and blister packs bombarding our landfills and oceans. We already are choking in plastic pollution. Marine life, sea salt and even the water we drink now infiltrated with plastic fibers, particles and toxins. With these overzealous and over-protective restrictions in place, plastic will be the simple, cheap and fast solution.

I do not disagree with needed child proof packaging on many of the cannabis products in the market today. As a mother, I too would want my edibles, tinctures and other multi-serving already psychoactive medications (just like the ones from the MD) to be placed out of reach and impenetrable for mischievous little hands. However, logically, I cannot image what a 5-year-old will do if he gets his hands on some flower. Shove it up their nose, eat it, feed it to the dog?

Requiring all cannabis products to be treated the same way is foolish, especially when you have a child resistant exit bag as well.

After all of the new bureaucratic rigmarole of growing cannabis from seed to sale, organically, pesticide free and all of the testing being deemed necessary, placing this green plant in a plastic package is absolutely hypocritical and misguided. Cannabis packaging will be the new water bottles of our era.

Here in Santa Cruz, as well as many other counties around our beautiful state, plastic bags are banned from grocery stores, plastic straws are banned from restaurants, plastic to-go cartons and cutlery are banned from all food establishments. Beach clean-ups are a regular social mitzvah coordinated and performed by the local medical marijuana dispensaries.

So as we embark on the next chapter of California history, shouldn’t we learn from the past? Instead of adding to the problem, socially responsible companies need to be innovating solutions.

This is why I feel reducing the resealable CRP requirements on items like a vape cartridge — that you open once, attach it to the unit that makes it active and throw the retail package in the garbage — is necessary. Having a fancy, resealable lock on a plastic cylinder to house a pre-roll is also just waste.

Instead of cleaning up our messes after the fact, I was hopeful that the future of cannabis, of all industries, would be more environmentally thought out.

— By Melissa Moe, Santa Cruz

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