“You can smell it. There’s a certain desperation from stores that bought too much and they have to dump it,” said John Atari, CEO of Source Cannabis Farms, a licensed cultivator in Los Angeles. “There’s going to be a big shortage of clean product come July 1.”
At Firehaus, a shop along an LA freeway, a fire sale of sorts unfolded this month with a 50 percent off “summer blowout” sale advertised on a popular marijuana app and texted and emailed to regular customers.
Patrons leaving the brick storefront on a recent day were happy to double their value, but were unaware of the reason behind the bargains.
A half-dozen of those interviewed said they welcomed testing designed to weed out pesticides and contaminants such as solvents and mold, though they were largely unconcerned about the safety of the cannabis they’ve used for years.
“I smoked pot for 40 years that wasn’t tested, from dealers on the street, and it smelled like anything from gasoline to perfume,” said Catherine Lanzarotta, who stocked up on “Blue Dream.” ”So I’ve never had that concern.”
Testing will also examine concentrations and potency of the ingredient that gives users a buzz.
The change in 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. Shops were given six months to burn through supplies of grass grown and cookies and other products made without strict testing requirements.
Any marijuana harvested this year or for sale July 1 must meet quality and safety standards or be destroyed.
Before the legalization of recreational marijuana, testing of pot sold for medical purposes was largely done for marketing. Growers could promote the potency of their product or the fact that it was free of contaminants.
Robert Martin, co-founder and CEO of CW Analytical Laboratories in Oakland, said the voluminous new rules are draconian, with a mandate to test for heavy metals, which he said is unnecessary, and one to keep tested samples 45 days. There are also requirements about what technicians must wear, and lab employees have to pick up test samples directly from suppliers.
“The new regulations have us twisting,” Martin said. “We feel like we’re trying to do yoga on two mats.”