The first round of state-required cannabis laboratory testing in California is done, and many of the samples did not make the cut, according to a report by the Orange County Register.
The report stated that one in five batches of cannabis has failed the lab testing. These tests are part of the state’s safety requirements pursuant to new regulations that took effect on July 1.
Specifically, out of the 5,268 batches of cannabis that were tested, about 20 percent has failed to meet the regulatory standards.
According to the OCR report, a majority of the samples that failed to pass the inspection did not meet the specific claims on their labels. These include the level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) they contain.
While false THC levels are not necessarily a safety hazard, customers may end up overpaying for products that are not as potent as advertised.
Furthermore, nearly one of the five failed samples also had to do with the presence of pesticides. In some cases, the samples were tested for totally prohibited pesticides. In other cases, the samples were found to have higher levels of pesticides than the legal and allowable amount.
What does this mean for pot business owners?
Pursuant to the state’s new regulations, all cannabis products that fail to meet the safety and quality standards will be pulled out of the shelf and destroyed.
Take for example Alternative Herbal Health Services in West Hollywood. It was forced to pull out some of the samples from its shelves due to the failed test results.
Another example is Los Angeles-based The Bloom Brand, which announced that it was recalling four vaporizer cartridges with cannabis oil that failed to meet standards for safe levels. Specifically, these products were tested to have higher levels of the pesticide Myclobutanil, which is commonly used on food crops like almonds and grapes. This pesticide is believed to be unsafe when it is heated.
California sets up new regulations
Cannabizdaily has reported that California has come up with a new set of regulations that officially took effect starting this month. These new guidelines are more focused on tougher laboratory testing and labeling and packaging standards.
These new regulations aim to protect consumers, as well as to ensure that all cannabis products legally available are safe for their consumption.
What this also means is that marijuana businesses had six months, since retail sales were launched on January 1, to make sure their products comply with the new rules. The state had given business owners the first half of 2018 to sell their untested products and to prepare for the new testing and packaging requirements.
What are these new regulations?
Under the state’s new guidelines, cannabis products have to be tested for presence of bacteria, pesticides, and other contaminants. The potency or THC content of these products will also be tested.
Products that have passed lab testing and have been approved by the government will have to be sealed and sold in child-resistant packaging. The cannabis plant’s harvest date and its “best use” date should also be indicated on the packaging.
Non-edible cannabis products that are meant for recreational use should not contain more than 1,000 mg of THC per package. Meanwhile, non-edibles that are meant for medical use should not contain more than 2,000 mg of THC per package. Cannabis edibles, on the other hand, must not go beyond 10 mg of THC per serving, or 100 mg per pack.
Lab testing backlog
The state’s new testing requirements have created backlogs at the state’s accredited and licensed labs, of which only 19 are operating. As a result of this lab shortage, safety tests are taking one to two weeks.
While this is a matter that is concerning, industry experts believe that it is also a sign that the state’s pot industry is maturity and beginning to look like other regulated markets.