Health inspectors in California are finding that an increasing percentage of marijuana products are failing safety standards, a report says.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 20 percent of pot products in California are failing tests for potency, purity, and safety.
In much smaller numbers, testing companies licensed by the state are finding unacceptable levels of pesticides, solvents and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, according to data provided to The Associated Press by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control.
In the first two months, nearly 11,000 samples were tested and almost 2,000 failed. In some cases, the product must be destroyed. But many involve labeling issues that can be corrected. For example, a marijuana bud that’s tested to show a different potency than what’s on the label can be relabeled and sold with the right specification.
Bureau of Cannabis Control spokesman Alex Travers tried to explain it away as just a matter of unfamiliarity with the new testing procedures saying, “Mandatory statewide testing is a new thing and it’s going to take some time for everything to run smoothly, but on the whole we’re pleased with how things are progressing.”
But instead of complying with the testing regime, pot growers and retailers are hoping to make the testing less strict.
The California Cannabis Manufacturers Association, another industry group, is pushing for changes that include allowing companies to challenge lab testing results.
“Even if the lab admits it made an error, there is no way to change those results,” said Bryce Berryessa, an association board member who is CEO of TreeHouse dispensary in Santa Cruz County and president of La Vida Verde, which produces infused cookies.
“Labs are not perfect. Mistakes get made,” he said.
“Testing is currently costly, slow, and inconsistent,” the growers association claimed in a recent letter.
But state officials also say they are trying to stop unlicensed pot sellers from lacing their product with dangerous drugs like fentanyl.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.
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