California Pot Shops Cut Prices Ahead of New Testing Deadline
Cali stoners have a chance to score some cheap weed before new regulations — and a possible supply shortage — arrive on July 1st.
Published on June 28, 2018

Photo via iStock/ OpenRangeStock

Cannabis retailers all across California are slashing prices in a desperate attempt to sell off any and all products that aren’t compliant with the Golden State’s new pot regulations, which go into effect this weekend. For decades, cannabis has been readily available to Californians via the state's previously lax medical marijuana program, which allowed canna-businesses to cultivate, package, and sell their wares with relatively little government oversight. That all changed with the passage of Proposition 64, which established a legal but tightly regulated market for both medical and recreational marijuana.

Recreational sales went live on January 1st, but the state gave canna-businesses a six-month grace period to conform to the new regulations. That leniency expires on July 1st, by which time all retailers must sell off or destroy any cannabis products that don’t conform to the new rules. And so in order to minimize their potential losses, pot shops are offering “summer blowout” sales, cutting prices on non-compliant products by as much as 50%.

“You can smell it. There’s a certain desperation from stores that bought too much and they have to dump it,” John Atari, CEO of Source Cannabis Farms, said to the Associated Press. “There’s going to be a big shortage of clean product come July 1.”

One of the main issues behind this expected restriction in supply are the state's new testing requirements. All cannabis products must now be tested for THC levels as well as levels of mold, solvent, heavy metals, pesticides, or other contaminants. There are only 28 labs currently authorized to test cannabis products in the state, however, and these facilities are experiencing a serious bottleneck as producers scramble to get their inventories tested.

“The new regulations have us twisting,” Robert Martin, CEO of CW Analytical Laboratories, told the Associated Press. “We feel like we’re trying to do yoga on two mats.” Martin said that he felt that the state's new testing laws were too extreme, mandating that labs have to pick up samples directly from suppliers, and then retain these samples for 45 days. The regulations even specify the attire that lab technicians must wear.

While some retailers are scrambling to offload excess amounts of untested products before the deadline hits, others have gradually been stocking their shelves with tested, compliant products. “Everyone in the game knew this was coming,” said Jamie Garzot of Shasta Lake retailer 530 Cannabis to the AP. “My hope is that everybody has been doing their job getting systems dialed in for an uninterrupted supply chain.”

Faced with this possible shortage, Cali stoners may want to take advantage of these sales to ensure that they are fully stocked for next week's July 4th holiday.

Chris Moore
Chris Moore is a New York-based writer who has written for Mass Appeal while also mixing records and producing electronic music.
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