Almost 1 in 5 cannabis products fail testing in California

Irving Hamilton
September 13, 2018

Nearly 20 percent of marijuana products in California have failed the state's new safety-testing standards for contamination and labeling accuracy, the Associated Press reports.

Cannabis-infused cookies, sweets and tinctures have been hit hardest, with about a third being banned for sale, the Associated Press said. Almost 20 percent of the marijuana and marijuana products tested in California for potency and purity have failed, according to state data provided to The Associated Press. Of those, about 65 percent of failures were down to labeling and potency issues. The failure rate was nearly twice as high for very profitable sales of cannabis-infused cookies, candies, and tinctures, with about a third being blocked from sale in licensed dispensaries.

Only a small number have been withheld from sale due to safety hazards such as unacceptable levels of bacteria, solvents or pesticides, according to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The California Growers Association, which represents the marijuana products industry, said potency testing is especially problematic.

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However other groups believe that there isn't enough requirements, and think that the state should add new tests to their protocol for different types of mold. Company executives say some products are being rejected after landing outside the margin by tiny amounts. The California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, meanwhile, complained that lab results could be inaccurate, yet there was no mechanism to correct lab reports. Others note that lab tests cannot be challenged by cannabis companies, so if the labs made a mistake, there's nothing a marijuana business can do to respond.

At a state hearing last month, the Santa Ana-based testing company Cannalysis urged regulators to broaden their rules to include a test used in food and pharmaceutical industries that company officials say can detect a large number of potentially harmful species of mold and yeast not now covered in state guidelines.

While growers argue that the standards are too strict, costly, and inconsistent, some testing experts say the standards don't go far enough to adequately catch fungal contamination that would otherwise be found in routine drug and food testing.

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