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Cali Looking to Level Playing Field With New Lab Testing Standards

To prevent cannabis businesses from “laboratory shopping” (i.e., finding facilities that are more likely to show higher THC concentrations that they can then brag about when marketing their products), California cannabis regulators are soliciting feedback on proposed rules to standardize cannabis testing methods in the state.

A variety of other cannabinoids and terpenes make up the remainder of the mix, so basing purchases on THC content alone is not the best strategy, and does not serve consumers’ best interests. Standardized testing is crucial to cannabis firms as well as the public’s trust, and anything the state can do to advance that is appreciated.


The Low-Down on Cannabis Testing

The Low-Down on Cannabis TestingAll licensed cannabis businesses are required to test their products for possible toxins as well as cannabinoid content. However, since regulated testing facilities currently don’t use a standard technique, the outcomes of analyses can vary from one facility to another.

The state claims it is aware of cases where cannabis businesses shop around for laboratories to identify those where testing methodologies tend to give findings showing more of the psychoactive cannabinoid due to consumer demand for high-THC goods.

This is an ineffective and unfair way of making purchasing decisions, as there are a variety of components within the cannabis plant that make up the final product. To combat the issue of “laboratory shopping,” the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has stated its intention to begin a rulemaking process that will create standardized testing procedures that every accredited laboratory would have to use.


Potential Lab Testing Standardization

Nicole Elliott, director of the DCC, stated in a press release that one difficulty in regulating cannabis — due to the industry not being federally recognized — is the absence of standardized, approved testing procedures.

According to Elliott, different licensed laboratories use various techniques that can result in inconsistent results and erroneous data on cannabinoid concentration. The DCC is attempting to improve this in order to increase market integrity, customer access to correct information, and stakeholder confidence.

Potential Lab Testing StandardizationUntil August 2, the DCC will be taking public comments on the proposed cannabis testing technique regulations. A public hearing is scheduled on August 1 for anybody who wishes to provide an in-person testimony.

By restricting laboratories to only use cannabis testing techniques approved by DCC, existing requirements for testing laboratories will be improved upon. Elliott stated that the ultimate objective is to safeguard the public’s health and safety by giving customers accurate and dependable information about the cannabis they buy.

The announcement for updated testing regulations comes a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a comprehensive bill to reform the state’s adult-use marijuana program, including by getting rid of a tax on cannabis cultivation, in an effort to relieve industry pressure and further suppress the black market.

AB 195, which expands on the governor’s modified budget proposal from May, was approved by both chambers last week with nearly unanimous support.

Two of the main measures of the bill are the elimination of the tax on marijuana growing as well as the shifting of the site of collection and payment for the separate excise tax of 15% on cannabis sales from distribution to retail. The proposal, which is anticipated to be signed by the governor and then put into effect right away, also stipulates that there won’t be a rise in the excise tax for at least three years.


 

The intricacy of cannabis promotes the need for a comprehensive analysis of this product’s constituents, and because there are no government restrictions, laboratories are on their own. This causes a large variation in the methods and, thus, results of cannabis testing. It is the hope of the DCC (and us at Beard Bros, as well as many other cannabis businesses and consumers), that these new potential rules for the standardization of cannabis testing will help resolve the issue.

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