California cannabis retailers lower prices ahead of new testing rules

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Regulations being phased in six months after California broadly legalized marijuana require that cannabis sold after Saturday meets strict quality standards, so retailers unloading untested inventory are offering blowout prices.

The change in testing rules was part of the state’s decision to allow the industry in its legal infancy to get a running start at the beginning of the year.

Retailers were given six months to go through supplies of cannabis products made without strict testing requirements.

Any marijuana harvested this year or for sale as of July 1 must meet quality and safety standards or be destroyed.

Robert Martin, co-founder and CEO of CW Analytical Laboratories in Oakland, said the voluminous new rules are draconian, especially a mandate to test for heavy metals – which he said is unnecessary – and one to keep tested samples 45 days.

Concerns exist that the 31 testing facilities licensed by the state will not be enough, though labs said even with a spike in recent months, they have been able to handle capacity.

A larger worry is a lag in testing as business owners banked on delayed implementation of the new rules.

That could put them in a precarious position as they try to push product through a limited pipeline to restock retailers.

The fear is there will be a repeat of what Oregon experienced two years ago as distributors held out for a rules reprieve that never materialized and held up the supply chain.

The resulting bottleneck at labs meant testing that should have taken days dragged on for weeks, said Lori Glauser, chief operating officer of EVIO Labs, which has locations in California, Oregon, Colorado, Florida and Massachusetts.

– Associated Press