Huge pressure to inflate THC levels Located on farmers, manufacturers and laboratories. And when THC levels are inflated, it creates unrealistic expectations of higher numbers, and erodes confidence in the integrity of the industry.
A California lawmaker has a solution: On March 15, Assemblywoman Reggie Jones Sawyer (D-LA) foot Assembly Bill 1610, which he calls a “weeding” bill to create greater transparency in cannabis testing and help eliminate fraud in legal markets.
“As consumers, we all want to know that what we’re buying is safe, legal, and tested. That’s why I introduced AB 1610,” said Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer. “As the California cannabis industry continues to grow, my bill will help protect consumers and preserve high-quality cannabis products.”
SC Labs AB sponsors 1610 because it will improve market transparency by allowing or requiring in-person lab audits, random product shelf testing to ensure accuracy of cannabis labels, and blind proficiency testing of labs.
“SC Labs supports this law because without greater state involvement, there is no way to hold bad actors to account,” says Josh Worzer, SC Labs’ Head of Compliance. “Under the current system, actor labs and bad brands profit off companies that work hard to follow the rules.”
Wurzer continues, “We want the legal market to thrive, because it’s been under a lot of pressure lately from low prices and the persistence of illegal markets. Increasing trust and transparency in legalized products will boost consumer confidence, ensure public safety, and strengthen legal markets.”
Werzer says the reforms proposed in the bill are commonsense measures that will strengthen existing laws and give regulators the tools they need to crack down on fraud. It includes:
- Require blind proficiency testing so that laboratories are tested for accuracy in the normal course of their work
- Requiring that all past recalls be shared publicly over the Internet so that consumers can easily access them
- Requiring annual in-person lab audits (many of the labs operating in California were operating under temporary licenses and had not yet been personally inspected. This is something other states do regularly to ensure accountability)
- Allow random testing of retail products to identify inconsistencies in testing
Wholesale prices for distillates are determined by the THC content, and consumers prefer the flower for the same reasons. Companies “lab shop” for the highest possible levels of THC. What’s really going on is that consumers manipulate prices when they think they’re getting more THC than what’s actually in their products.
Just how widespread is it? A few labs that are tired of the rampant inflation in potency have recently begun to quantify just how bad the problem is. He found this when sampling more than 150 randomly selected flower products by several laboratory leaders 87% of products They illegally overestimated their THC content, and many also contained harmful levels of the pesticide. Moreover, more than half of the samples skewed more than 20% from the labeled THC values, which is more than twice the legal allowable variance.
California allows some room for error. The state threshold is +/- 10% for THC, but companies often illegally exceed this margin of error. “Any cannabinoid, total THC, and/or total CBD claimed to be present on a label is not considered inaccurate if the percentage difference in the Certificate of Analysis is more or less than 10.0%” California Cannabis Control Department (DCC) States.
At least five class-action lawsuits have been filed in recent months by consumers seeking damages for paying high levels of THC. Some of the major and well-known cannabis brands have been recalled.
When people essentially get less THC than what’s on the label, trust in the system will collapse.
“When Californians voted to approve the use of cannabis, we did so with market confidence. Unfortunately, bad actors violated that trust with mislabeled products at artificially inflated prices,” said Assemblyman Jones Sawyer. “This law, combined with the ability to conduct testing and product audits, improves accountability and gives regulators the tools to restore consumer confidence.”
Products have been recalled in California and other legal states due to unsafe levels of everything, including mold, yeast, E. coli, and salmonella.
SC Labs has cannabis facilities in California, Oregon, Colorado, and Michigan, and the company is also a registered cannabis lab in other states that require it, including Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico, New York, and Texas.