CannabizDaily has reported earlier that California’s first round of state-required laboratory testing for legal marijuana products saw one-fifth of the samples not making the cut.
One in five batches of cannabis samples failed to meet regulatory and safety standards. These tests are a part of the state’s safety requirements under the new regulations that took effect on July 1.
This first round tested 5,268 batches.
Now, two months after, nearly 11,000 samples have already been tested. However, the results are no better. Nearly 20 percent of the cannabis products still failed for purity and potency.
More specifically, of the 10,695 samples that have been tested from July 1 through August 29, nearly 2,000 have failed.
According to data provided by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control to The Associated Press, state-licensed testing companies have found unacceptable levels of solvents, pesticides, and bacteria like salmonella and E. coli in the samples.
Reasons for failure
Of all the samples tested, 1,279 failed on account of inaccurate claims on packaging label.
Meanwhile, there were 403 samples that tested positive for pesticides. And there were 114 that tested positive for microbial impurities, including mold, salmonella, and E. coli.
There were also 99 samples that were found to have residual solvents or processing chemicals, and 39 that were found to have moisture in cannabis buds. There were 25 samples with homogeneity or even distribution of THC, while there were 6 samples that contained foreign material such as hair and insect fragments.
Tough on edibles
Here’s a summary of the batches tested and of their failure rate:
- There were 5,355 batches of cannabis buds tested, with 567 failures (10.6%).
- There were 3,361 batches of inhalable oils and waxes tested, with 686 failures (20.4%).
- There were 1,979 batches of edibles, tinctures, and lotions tested, with 651 failures (32.9%).
The strict testing program has been particularly hard on cannabis-infused edibles like cookies, candies, and tinctures. Around one-third of these products have already been taken down from store shelves.
Regulators say testing program was designed just right
For the Bureau of Cannabis Control, the strict testing program of the state is just doing what it was designed to do, which is to identify cannabis buds, concentrates, edibles, and other products that are unsuitable for smoking or eating because they are tainted in some way.
According to the bureau’s spokesman, Alex Traverso, the mandatory testing is still new and it will take some time for things to run smoothly. He said that overall, they are pleased with the way things are progressing.
However, some in the cannabis industry argue that the 20 percent failure rate has more to do with technical glitches and unrealistic standards than protecting consumer safety.
The California Growers Association is among those who are concerned that regulators are forcing cannabis growers and manufacturers to hit a very little target when it comes to gauging THC levels. Rules require that THC concentration stay within 10% of what is indicated on the product label.
According to company executives, some of the cannabis products are being rejected for landing outside the THC margin by very little amounts.
Cannabis industry wants changes in strict regulations
Needless to say, regulators are facing criticism and pressure by the cannabis industry to revamp their testing requirements. These requirements are being described as either going too far or being a very costly burden.
The cannabis industry in California, more particularly the industry group California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, is seeking changes to the state’s testing standards. Among the changes they want are:
- Allowing manufactures cannabis products that fail the tests to be relabeled in order to reflect the results. For instance, if a cannabis-infused chocolate bar fails for containing too much THC, its label should be changed to reflect the greater potency rather than destroy the batch. Currently, this is done for cannabis buds but not for edibles.
- Allowing variances in THC content up to 20% below or above what’s on the packaging label of a cannabis edible rather than the current 10%.
- Allowing growers that produce different cannabis strains to test them together instead of separately, which is what’s required now even if the plants from the same farm were harvested at the same time. Testing these together is estimated to cut costs by up to 40%.