California cannabis regulators are onto a scheme where labs are overstating the amount of THC in your weed, and right now, two-thirds of the state’s labs are barred from testing marijuana flower.
Since recreational marijuana became legal in California six years ago this week, legal weed businesses have been operating in several different licensed categories. There are the dispensaries who sell the pot, the growers who grow it, and various other sectors, like distributors who can transport it. Perhaps the least known sector is the testing labs, who make sure the cannabis doesn’t have mold or toxins, and calculate a percentage of the active ingredient THC so you know how strong your product will be. These labs also test your gummies, edibles, vape pen cartridges, and the like.
If you want a lab that will analyze your products with the care and uniqueness they require and deserve, give us a try.— Anresco Laboratories (@anrescolabs) February 28, 2022
For more information, visit our website at https://t.co/NWFDe0LiY3#AnrescoLabs #CannabisEdibles #HempEdibles #EdibleTesting #InfusedProducts #AccuracyMatters pic.twitter.com/XOybteg7eA
You’d be forgiven for never having heard of these labs, and there’s only one in San Francisco, Anresco Laboratories. But in these early years of legal cannabis, the white-jacket lab types have always been considered the smartest, most ethical, most trustworthy people in the industry.
first-ever analysis of cannabis lab testing data from multiple states confirms what most in the marijuana industry knew: the THC percentage printed on your lab-tested, state-"certified" legal cannabis is almost certainly bullshit. story --> https://t.co/7EygTKZwcY— Chris Roberts (@_chrisroberts) November 28, 2023
Until lately. This year, California (and several other states with legal weed) have come to grapple with the fact that cannabis labs have been purposefully inflating the THC levels so the cannabis can be marketed as stronger than it really is, according to industry trade publication Marijuana Business Daily. This has led to a practice called “lab shopping,” where cannabis brands seek out the labs that will give them the most impressive-sounding THC levels, regardless of whether the reported levels are anywhere near accurate.
The state’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) promised a crackdown in mid-September, sending the labs a letter that read, “Inaccurately reporting results and falsification of data will result in action against your license, up to and including revocation.” And now SFGate reports that crackdown has arrived, with more than two-thirds of the state’s testing labs currently unable to test cannabis flower (the smokable stuff) until they come into compliance with rigorous new standards.
SFGate says that “As of Jan. 3, only 12 of the state’s 38 labs had met the new requirements.” This can be easily confirmed. The DCC’s website shows only 12 labs have met the new standard, and there are 38 California labs with active testing licenses. So more than two-thirds of them cannot currently test marijuana flower (though they are allowed to test edibles, gummies, and other cannabis products).
This is not likely to create any sudden marijuana shortage on dispensary shelves. Some labs are still testing flower, others will likely come back into compliance quickly. “We don’t anticipate delays, but they could happen,” DCC spokesperson David Hafner told SFGATE. “Regardless, our focus is enforcing the rules and we encourage the industry to work with the labs utilizing the approved method.”
And the one cannabis lab in SF, Anresco Laboratories, is among those whose right to test marijuana flower is currently suspended. That is not going to ruin their business. Anresco Laboratories has existed for more than 80 years, and their primary line of business is food and nutritional testing, with cannabis being just a small side sector for them.
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