California normalizes cannabis testing to end ‘lab purchases’

cannabis plant
A cannabis plant. Photo from the time of San Diego

California’s Department of Cannabis Control has announced plans to standardize lab testing methods amid concerns about inflated potency and “lab purchases” by companies.

The ministry said some marijuana companies choose labs that report higher levels of THC than what’s actually in the cannabis flower or product.

“One of the challenges we face in regulating an industry that is not federally recognized is the lack of standardized and validated testing methods,” department director Nicole Elliott said Friday. “Individual accredited laboratories use different methods that can produce inconsistent results and inaccurate data on the cannabinoid content of cannabis.”

The department’s regulations were prompted by the passage of Senate Bill 544, which requires California to establish standardized testing methods by January 1.

All cannabis products must be tested by an approved laboratory before sale to ensure that they are free from harmful contaminants like mold, pesticides and residual solvents and that they are labeled with the correct amount of cannabinoid content.

“The ultimate goal is to protect public health and safety by providing consumers with accurate and consistent information about the cannabis they purchase,” Elliott said.

A public hearing on the proposed testing rules is scheduled for August 1, and comments can be sent to the department by email until the close of business on August 2.


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