Sacramento, Calif- Approximately 20 percent of cannabis products in California are failing to meet state regulated requirements when tested for potency and purity. New regulations went into effect on July 1 requiring mandatory testing of all cannabis products.
Many industry members do not see the failed tests as a widespread issue of cutting corners, but rather, a problem with standards and technical issues producing false negatives. Edibles and topicals are experiencing the highest rate of failure. So far, approximately one-third of products in those categories have been pulled off of the market.
Despite what could be legitimate concerns over false positives, some of the lab tests are indeed uncovering dangerous levels of pesticides, solvents, and bacteria including E.Coli and salmonella according to data the Associated Press has obtained from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.
Since July 1, approximately 11,000 samples were tested and about 2,000 failed. Some products were required to be destroyed. In other cases, products could enter the market after labeling information was adjusted. This is especially true if a test discovered different potency levels than what was originally included on the product’s label.
State officials acknowledged that the testing regulations may not be perfect but seemed encouraged that the system is working as intended.
“Mandatory statewide testing is a new thing and it’s going to take some time for everything to run smoothly, but on the whole we’re pleased with how things are progressing,” Bureau of Cannabis Control spokesman Alex Traverso said according to the Associated Press.
The California Cannabis Manufacturing Association, another industry group, is pushing for an appeals system where lab results can be challenged.
“Even if the lab admits it made an error, there is no way to change those results,” said Bryce Berryessa, an association board member who is CEO of TreeHouse dispensary in Santa Cruz County “Labs are not perfect. Mistakes get made,” he continued.
Around 65 percent of all failed tests actually result from labeling issues. California law requires cannabis labels must be within 10 percent of what the labs find.
So far, the California Department of Public Health has not received any complaints of illness linked to contaminated cannabis.
According to the California Growers Association, the testing requirements are hurting businesses’ bottom line.
“Testing is currently costly, slow, and inconsistent,” the group said in a statement according to the Associated Press.