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Pot Shots: A-Pot-Calypse Now

In Culture
State laws forced dispensaries to empty their shelves by offering steep discounts.

State laws forced dispensaries to empty their shelves by offering steep discounts.

Pounds of pot and other cannabis products that California dispensaries couldn’t unload by July 1 now need to be destroyed. Call it a “weed apocalypse,” “marijuanapocalypse” or an “a-pot-calypse,” the new rules that went into effect July 1 sparked some deep discounts as clubs statewide scurried to unload their noncompliant nugs before the deadline.

Some clubs in the Golden State were reportedly selling their stock up to 70 percent off. But even with steep sales like that, the United Cannabis Business Association estimated that the legal cannabis industry lost at least $400 million as a result.

As of this month, all buds, edibles, cartridges and other cannabis items sold at dispensaries must be tested for potency, pesticides, mold and other contaminants in state-certified laboratories and sealed in childproof packaging. The government is also putting harvest and “best use by” dates on all weed. Edibles are limited to 100mg THC with clearly marked doses no more than 10mg each. This has left many since January mourning the loss of industry favorites like Korova’s notoriously stony 1,000mg Black Bar, which now fetches up to $90 on WeedMaps (nearly double the suggested $50 retail price).

Places not selling approved product ahead of time are now dangerously low on merchandise, while some vendors have shut down temporarily to meet the new standards. About a third of the testing labs listed on the Bureau of Cannabis Control’s website are non-operational, compounding the problem of quickly getting more compliant merchandise on the market. Elemental Wellness, one of San Jose’s largest dispensaries, has handled the transition pretty well so far, largely due to the city’s stringent seed-to-sale oversight.

“Being regulated by San Jose for so long, we’ve been dealing with compliant vendors so long that our inventory is pretty good right now,” said Derek Howard, owner and founder of Elemental.

“With all the fire sales of stuff that was noncompliant, we’re worried that July and August sales will be a little flat since everybody’s stocked up,” he added.

Prices have gone up at some Bay Area dispensaries in recent days, but not everywhere. Smaller pot shops might also find it more difficult to procure compliant cannabis than larger operations like Howard’s, which hasn’t seen any direct impact on pricing yet and can absorb overhead increases more easily.

“The market is going to go through some bumps, I believe,” Howard said.

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