Regulators of California’s marijuana industry want to put a stop on so-called “laboratory shopping” by growers and retailers. The practice reportedly involves cannabis companies being drawn to working with testing sites that have a reputation for landing on higher THC concentrations in marijuana products, thus allowing those goods to be sold at a premium.
As our Los Angeles cannabis business lawyers can explain, while the state has clear guidelines in place mandating marijuana products be screened for contaminants and THC content by licensed testing facilities, what is lacking is any sort of uniform methodology to do so. The result of that is that two facilities may be using different processes, ultimately leading to a variation of findings.
Products with a greater THC concentration (which has the greatest potential for intoxication) are going to be in higher demand. The state’s problem is a pattern it has identified of marijuana growers shopping around for labs that employ testing methods that have a greater tendency to indicate a higher THC concentration.
In an effort to drill down on this matter, the state’s Department of Cannabis Control recently initiated the process of rulemaking that would ultimately lead to development of a standard test method that would need to be adopted by all licensed cannabis testing labs. The state agency’s director said this issue comes about partially as a result of regulating an industry that lacks federal recognition, and thus has no standard, validated testing methods. Licensed labs have reportedly issued THC concentration data that may be inconsistent – or possibly even inaccurate – according to the agency. Having a streamlined testing process, the agency said in a press release, will improve testing accuracy, stakeholder confidence, and market integrity.
Public comment on the proposed testing method rules is being accepted through July, with a public hearing scheduled for the first day of August.
Word of this proposal came just after the governor signed a state bill to restructure the adult use cannabis program through removal of the state’s cannabis cultivation tax – the end goal of that being to undercut illegal sales. That measure also includes a one-time, $20 million grant to support development of local retail licensing in areas where no cannabis licensees are allowed to operate. The state recently launched an interactive map that clearly shows where cannabis companies are allowed to operate – and where they are not. This helps to provide consumers with a clear idea of whether a shop or provider may be illicit or not.
Lab shopping for potency analysis isn’t a brand new issue, but officials believe it has become more pervasive as demand for high-potency flower has grown in recent years.
As cannabis growers and retailers, it’s important to convey the message to consumers that potency of THC isn’t the only factor that determines cannabis quality. Specific strains, growth methods, light intensity, and other properties can be important to buyers.
Marijuana testing laboratories that are dedicated to accurate analysis and quality control take their role as public safety agent seriously. All labs should have a dedicated marijuana business lawyer on retainer to ensure their policies and practices adhere to the latest state laws, rules, and guidelines. legal compliance must be a top priority.
The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, ancillary companies, patients, doctors and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.
California Seeks To Standardize Marijuana Testing To Prevent THC ‘Laboratory Shopping’ , July 8, 2022, By Kyle Jaeger, Marijuana Moment