On January 1st, 2018, the recreational cannabis market in the state of California opened for business. Six months later, on July 1st, the strict guidelines, restrictions, and regulations governing the state’s cannabis industry went into effect. While these precautionary measures are implemented with the best of intentions to help protect consumers, they have not come without much static.
At this time, there are currently only 31 labs throughout the entire state of California that are certified to test cannabis products and approve them for the legal market. These 31 labs are responsible for testing every single product that will be sold at over 400 retail locations statewide.
As the new restrictions and regulations, primarily surrounding testing, went in to play on July 1st, there has become quite the supply shortage. This is mainly because these 31 certified laboratories are unable to proficiently and accurately test, in a timely manner, all the cannabis products for which they are responsible.
California law requires retailers in the state to have their products tested not only for potency but also for pesticides and pathogens. Reports have shown that after the first month of testing, roughly 20% of all samples being tested by labs in the state were being rejected. The primary rejection measures have been regarding inaccurate labelling of cannabinoid content. A small percentage, however, has been due to pesticide contamination.
California is believed to produce most of the cannabis grown each year in the country. Estimates also show that there is approximately $10 million worth of cannabis that diverts to the illegal market each year from the state. With this in mind, you would think the cannabis control commission would approve and issue more licences for labs in the state so that they can ensure the shelves stay stocked with compliant, safe cannabis products throughout California.