How to Dispose of Marijuana (for Individuals and Businesses)

There has been a steady increase in sales and consumption of marijuana in the last couple of years.

This has led to additional waste. Hence, an important question that has recently been raised is about how to dispose of your unwanted or expired marijuana product safely.

Growers and retailers face strict rules about what to do with unused products or plants. However, there are specific laws that individuals need to follow as well! This guide on how to dispose of marijuana will give you a few definitive answers.

There are several ways to dispose of marijuana and marijuana products. The easiest way to dispose of is to get in touch with a composting facility or a waste collection authority.

They ensure safety measures and abide by the laws that govern marijuana disposal. However, there are a few more ways to dispose of marijuana that we will discuss ahead.

How to Dispose of Marijuana – For Businesses

Businesses need to be extremely careful when storing and disposing of marijuana products, including edibles. They must store them in a secure, limited-access area on the licensed premises.

Businesses are allowed to discard marijuana edibles with non-hazardous plant waste. However, they should never discard them with hazardous waste.

All hazardous waste needs to be discarded separately at an authorized hazardous waste facility.

For marijuana manufacturers and other cannabis businesses like dispensaries, different jurisdictions have different standards. They have specific guidelines that businesses need to follow.

Oftentimes, they ground marijuana and mix it with large quantities of non-cannabis waste like detergent.

All marijuana businesses must concentrate their waste to make it unusable and unrecognizable. This is not the responsibility of the disposal service but the business.

However, the specifics vary from state to state and even county to county. Hence, it best to speak with a disposal company. This will help you get a clear idea of the regulations your business must follow.

For example, the law in California is not clear about what’s “unusable and unrecognizable.” The matter is assessed on a case-to-case basis. Some states are more specific.

In Colorado, businesses must grind all marijuana waste and mix it with non-consumable solid wastes. These solid wastes must be on the list approved by the state. At least 50% of the waste must be non-cannabis.

Businesses must weigh all the marijuana waste and document it on site.

They must document it again at its final destination. They also need to document the process for the official record, such as by video recording. Finally, they must discard the waste at an authorized landfill or recycling or composting facility.

When it comes to all forms of marijuana waste, businesses are faced with confusing requirements. This is why they must work with a respected waste management company.

By using a licensed and reputable marijuana waste company, businesses can reduce their waste problems.

Also read: How to Dispose of Vape Batteries?

How to Dispose of Marijuana – For Individuals

Individuals that consume or possess marijuana also have a responsibility to their environment and country. As customers, they don’t have to face the same complicated series of steps as businesses, but they still need to mind where their waste ends up.

Sure, the final consumer is not held to the same standards as a marijuana supplier. But, as a responsible citizen, you have to follow specific guidelines when disposing of marijuana.

Cannabis and marijuana waste containing a high amount of THC can be pretty dangerous.

It would be best if you never left it within reach of pets or children. You need to make sure that all marijuana waste is distorted before you toss it away.

Whether you are a recreational or medicinal user, you must discard your marijuana edibles that have surpassed their shelf life. How you do that depends on the laws in your local jurisdiction and state.

Still, here are some essential tips to help point you in the right direction:

1. Render Your Edibles Unusable and Unrecognizable

Most states in the US enforce the “unusable and unrecognizable” requirement for marijuana consumers.

The phrase is generally used among companies to describe the rendering process for cannabis waste. But, it has applications for individual consumers as well.

Making marijuana waste “unusable and unrecognizable” before disposing of it generally means destroying or breaking down the product so it cannot be identified or used by anyone who comes across it.

The requirements for businesses to destroy waste are particular and legally binding.

However, individuals aren’t usually held to the same standard as companies. As long as you do the following, you should be good to go:

  1. Remove the packaging and discard it separately.
  2. Grind or crush the marijuana product till only unidentifiable bits are left.
  3. Mix the unidentifiable bits with at least 50% non-cannabis waste and toss it away.

Before carrying out this procedure, you need to consult your local law authorities as these general guidelines might not be legally abundant in your area.

2. Take Your Waste to a Composting Facility

If you are not so sure about rendering marijuana waste unidentifiable, you can avoid discarding the waste on your own. Instead, you can submit it for composting.

Get in touch with your local composting facilities and see if they accept marijuana products. In the current age of legal marijuana, many waste collection authorities are accepting marijuana waste.

However, before you send your waste to a composting facility, you might have to grind it down. The facility might ask you to render it unusable before you send it.

Ask the waste facility about their requirements. Please do not walk inside the facility with expired marijuana edibles or waste before confirming from them.

3. Discard Your Waste at the Airport

Popular tourist states like California, Colorado, and Nevada are facing the issue of cannabis tourism. Travelers visit places like Las Vegas to enjoy cannabis without rules.

However, they must not carry any unused goods with them on their flight back. Carrying marijuana across state lines is a federal crime, but airports have a solution: amnesty boxes.

You can find amnesty boxes in a growing number of local and international airports. McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas), O’Hare International Airport (Chicago), and Colorado Springs Airport (Colorado) all have amnesty boxes.

If you happen to be catching a flight out of town, drop your marijuana waste into the box and continue on your way. You don’t have to worry about rendering it!

However, don’t just walk into an airport with a backpack full of marijuana waste. You need to make sure that the airport still has amnesty boxes in place.

Some airports, such as the Denver International Airport, still prohibit all marijuana possessions.

4. Return Your Waste to a Dispensary

Your fourth option is to return your marijuana waste or unused products to a dispensary. Some dispensaries offer free-of-charge waste disposal services. They discard the waste as per the law.

You don’t have to worry about unsafe or illegal disposal. Dispensaries also know how to discard any packaging and other renewable components.

Some dispensaries even offer benefits to customers who return their unused vape pens, cannabis products, and other disposable items.

You might be able to earn rewards, customer points, discounts, and even free products! You must make sure that you call the dispensary before heading over.

How to Dispose of Expired Marijuana Edibles

Marijuana edibles made up 12% of the total cannabis market as of 2019.

Those who are operating in the edibles industry must know how to dispose of expired marijuana edibles. They must do so, staying in line with the industry’s best practices. They also need to adhere to the compliance regulations.

Here’s how to dispose of expired marijuana edibles if you are a business:

Step 1: Find a Cannabis Waste Disposal Company

Several marijuana-waste-disposal companies have developed waste management plans in full compliance with local, federal, and state laws.

Many also offer to drop off waste storage containers and arrange pickup schedules. By hiring a professional waste company, you will be able to focus on your day-to-day operations.

Step 2: Document Your Waste

If you are using a waste management facility to pick up your marijuana waste, you need to have three records at hand to stay in compliance with the law:

  • First, you need a document with the name and address of the waste management company.
  • Along with that, you need to provide the phone number of a contact person from the company.
  • Lastly, to prove that the waste management company is working with your business, you need to maintain a file of all receipts and invoices.

If you fail to maintain any of these documents mentioned above, you can be fined and might even lose your cannabis license.

This documentation is required for disposing of marijuana waste in California. If you operate in any other state, you can check your state’s law here.

Step 3: Be Aware of the Environmental Impact

Marijuana waste releases greenhouse gases as it decomposes.

These gases can harm the environment. A licensed waste disposal company can take your waste to a composting facility. This will ultimately reduce your carbon footprint.

They will use proper recycling or composting methods to ensure there is no negative impact on the climate.

Final Words

This brings us to the end of our discussion on how to dispose of marijuana. Whether you are a business or a consumer, you need to ensure you use, store and dispose of marijuana responsibly.

Study your local, federal, and state laws. Whenever in doubt, contact a waste collection authority so they can help you with the disposal process.

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