Cheap cannabis products available before new California rules kick in

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Christine Brizendine buys products from Dannie Holzer (right) at a Sparc dispensary in San Francisco.

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez / The Chronicle

A bonanza of cheap marijuana is flooding the market this week as growers, manufacturers and retailers unload excess cannabis in preparation for the enforcement of strict testing and packaging regulations that are sure to further shake up California’s budding industry.

The regulations took effect Jan. 1, but the state suspended enforcement during the first six months to give the industry time to prepare. The end of the transition period Sunday means all recreational and medical cannabis sold in California must be tested in state approved laboratories, sealed in child-resistant packages and labeled by the producer.

All the remaining untested products must be destroyed by Sunday. Retailers, loath to waste their stashes, are unloading stock for bargain basement prices. Discounts of as much as 50 percent have been seen this week in the Bay Area.

“I think the next couple of days here are likely to be historic lows for retail cannabis,” said Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, an advocacy group for some 1,250 medical marijuana farmers and business owners around the state. “I don’t think you’ll see prices this low ever again.”