Cannabis Waste Disposal Regulations | MedWaste Management Cannabis Waste Disposal Regulations | MedWaste Management

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Cannabis (Marijuana) Waste Disposal

Cannabis waste, or Marijuana waste must be disposed of properly. If a place selling or growing cannabis is licensed, the licensees will need to comply with all applicable waste management laws including, but not limited to, Division 30 of the Public Resources Code.

Click here to view the State Of California’s new rules and regulations regarding cannabis disposal (sections 5054 and on…)

Why Is Cannabis Waste  Regulated?

California has one of the largest markets for marijuana in the United States. State officials have to address security and cannabis abuse concerns. With the influx of dispensaries and licensed marijuana growers, people are easily able to access trimmings and other leftover cannabis materials. People can take advantage of scraps left behind in dumpsters and consume it at their leisure. Children can stumble on product that is not labeled or packaged. It may sound ridiculous, but it happens.

Another reason cannabis waste is being regulated is for the State of California to track cannabis from conception to outcome. Tracking the amount of cannabis waste that is generated will help the State understand what happens to the product and how much of it actually sells. So, if you own a business that deals with the growing or sale of cannabis, you will need to closely review cannabis waste regulations.

You Cannot Use or Sell Cannabis Waste.

You cannot dispose of your cannabis waste in traditional trash containers or in dumpsters where it may be accessible to the undersirable public. Cannabis waste must be disposed of in a regulated manner. It must be kept in a secure pharmaceutical waste receptacle in a secure area on your licensed premises where access is limited to employees and the medical waste agency responsible for hauling it off for disposal- Somewhere that is not open to the general public.

What is Considered Cannabis Waste?

  1. Any expired marijuana product. This includes stale flower, flower that is unusable due to contamination (pesticides) marijuana concentrates, tinctures or oils that have gone rancid, topical cannabis creams that have expired, and cannabis-infused edibles that have spoiled.

         2. If you run a dispensary, testing lab, or any brand that manufactures                 consumable marijuana, any material that has made contact with cannabis will need to be disposed of in a regulated manner.

As a cultivator of cannabis, the medium you’ve been using to grow the cannabis in (such as soil, rockwool, clay pebbles) will need to be placed in a secured receptacle once the plants have reached maturity.

Leftover trimmings of marijuana are considered regulated marijuana waste as well.

To be on the safe side, anything that has cannabis residue of some sort should be considered cannabis waste.

Cannabis waste may include:

  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Soil, rock wool, clay pebbles or sponge used for cultivation.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused cannabis trimmings.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused cannabis
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused oils, extracts, other cannabis liquids.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Expired, unused, leftover edibles and drinks.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused cannabis grinders.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused cannabis vape pens.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Unused cannabis capsules, containers, wrappings, packaging, etc.
  • ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†Empty nutrition boxes/packaging.

How to Properly Dispose of Cannabis Waste:

You must keep cannabis waste in a proper waste receptacle placed in a secure area.

A pharmaceutical waste container is the appropriate licensed waste receptacle to use for marijuana waste disposal on your premises. Our waste disposal company provides the appropriate receptacles as part of our service package and at no additional cost to you. We also carry pharmaceutical waste containers to be purchased separately for a one-time fee if desired.

Cannabis waste must be rendered unrecognizable or unusable before disposal.

Usually, as a medical waste disposal company, we will be responsible for making sure all regulations are followed, including this one.

However, in some states, (Colorado is one) the marijuana waste has to be rendered unrecognizable or unusable before leaving the premises. In that case, you can pour some kind of detergent or grease over the marijuana waste. You can also grind it with another approved non-consumable solid waste until the marijuana is incorporated and the resulting mixture is at least 50 percent non-cannabis waste.

Marijuana waste disposal- liquids and solids.

Disposal must be documented.

There are three options for marijuana waste disposal.

  1. Self-hauling cannabis waste to a waste disposal facility
  2. Hiring a local agency, a local agency franchiser, or permitted private medical waste hauler to dispose of cannabis waste.
  3. Composting cannabis waste on the licensed premises.

Self-Hauling Cannabis Waste:

Cannabis waste can be disposed of at a manned, fully permitted solid waste facility, a fully permitted composting facility or composting operation, a fully permitted in-vessel digestion facility, a fully permitted transfer/processing facility, or a fully permitted chip and grind operation.

Most cannabis waste disposal companies consider marijuana and its waste products to be incineration waste and will use a manned, fully permitted solid waste facility to dispose of cannabis waste.

Only the business licensee or employees can transport cannabis waste to a solid waste facility. Once the cannabis/marijuana waste has been dropped off, you will need a copy of a certified weight ticket or receipt documenting the delivery from the solid waste facility for each delivery.

Hiring a  Cannabis or Medical Waste Disposal Company:

MedWaste Management will provide you with the paperwork you need for your records. Documents include:

*The name of the entity hauling the waste; (that’s us)

*Documentation that shows the date and time of each collection of marijuana waste from your premises.

*A copy of the certified waste ticket, or other document that confirms the receipt of the cannabis waste at a fully permitted cannabis waste facility.

As a veteran medical waste disposal company, we take care of all aspects of regulated cannabis waste disposal, especially the paperwork, which can be a real hassle.

Composting Cannabis:

If you choose to compost the cannabis waste on your own premises, you will need to be in compliance with  Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations at Chapter 3.1 (commencing with Section 17850).

There are cannabis waste composting facilities that operate like any other solid waste disposal facilities. We, the medical waste disposal company, pick up the waste and deliver it to the composting facility. They provide  all the necessary legal paperwork, and they dispose of the cannabis waste in a way that reduces carbon footprint.

In Canada, Micron Waste Technologies, an organic waste technology company, is developing its on-site cannabis waste treatment system.  The Gaiaca company in Monterey, CA is also working on a better environmental solution for cannabis waste disposal. Cannabis waste disposal is a growing need now that marijuana is a legalized and regulated substance, so hopefully there will be more companies offering cannabis composting solutions soon.


We are MedWaste Management – California’s medical waste disposal experts!

Established in 2008, MedWaste Management brings great benefit to the healthcare industry and the general public alike. We publish this blog to to spread useful and practical information to help people stay safe, smart and healthy!

Call us with any questions or to start service at (866) 254-5105. We are always happy to speak!

Check out our services and other great resources in the links below.

Medical Waste Disposal Services 

MedWaste’s Blog Index

Medical Waste Regulations

Medical Waste Products 

California Bureau Of Cannabis Control

I know I can count on you all to collect everything and do it safely.

You are a great company to work with. At our pharmaceutical production laboratory. We have gallons of leftover pharmaceutical waste that are a headache for our techs to deal with. I know I can count on you all to collect everything and do it safely. I’m pleased with the personal service.


Mitchell Adam

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