Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Business | By Tara Barton

Calif. safety tests pass moldy marijuana but fail ~20% of products overall

Calif. safety tests pass moldy marijuana but fail ~20% of products overall

According to the data, about 20 percent of marijuana products tested by California labs since the beginning of July have failed to meet the state's required safety limits.

Cannabis-infused cookies, sweets and tinctures have been hit hardest, with about a third being banned for sale, the Associated Press said.

Under California's voter approved Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of marijuana in the state, testing was required foro recreational marijuana and related products for potency, contaminants and health risks.

In the first two months, nearly 11,000 samples were tested and almost 2,000 failed. But many involve labeling issues that can be corrected. 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.

The remaining failures were largely linked to unacceptable levels of pesticide residues and the presence of other impurities, such as bacteria and mold.

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

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State rules require the THC concentration of a product determined by testing to come within 10 percent of what is advertised on its label.

Marijuana company officials say the state is rejecting some pot products after they fall outside the 10 percent margin by tiny amounts.

"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. "Mistakes get made", he said.

Critics are simultaneously describing the state's testing requirements as too rigid, too lenient and overly costly.

Some lab officials say a large number of potentially harmful species of mold and yeast can go undetected in pot products because they are not now covered in state guidelines. The association also complained that the testing was costly, noting that small marijuana farms were getting hit with testing fees of up to $10,000.

Kaul urged the state to "create a bigger net to catch things".

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