Why some California cannabis can’t make the grade

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California’s statewide safety requirements for cannabis which were enacted on July 1 have already resulted in ample amounts of product being pulled from dispensary shelves.

As of last week, 20 percent of the marijuana in California failed to meet state standards, though cannabis investors remain optimistic that numbers will improve.

In California, cannabis is now scrutinized similarly to the alcohol and food industries, which many agree brings a level of legitimacy to the cannabis industry. In fact, many cannabis companies are using the new regulatory structure to their advantage.

Before California’s new cannabis regulations went into effect this summer, the state gave local cannabis companies six months to prepare. “Smart brands are pre-testing first, then testing again in the labs,” Brian Blatz, founder of Verdant Distribution in Long Beach, told The Orange County Register last Thursday.

While one in five samples of California weed may have failed to make the grade, the cannabis products that did pass are certified pesticide-free. There are more than sixty regulated pesticides in California, and some cannabis product pulled from shelves contained a fungicide called Myclobutanil.

Contamination from pesticides, heavy metals, and residual solvents are the top reasons cannabis is recalled. Microbial impurities make up the other reasons. Six percent of California weed was pulled because it contained illegal amounts of mold and bacteria, a flaw that occurs when marijuana is not properly stored.

California labs also tested for potency and labeled accuracy. Potency and terpene profiles are not legally required until next year, but mislabeled cannabis creates an issue when customers are buying a product that contains more or less THC than advertised. While mislabeled cannabis is not illegal, it is leading customers to overpay for less potent marijuana.

What happened to California’s weed may start happening in other states as regulatory bodies continue to move forward with implementing stricter rules concerning cannabis. It may be causing a headache up front for some dispensaries, but most experts agree that these regulations are necessary to guarantee the longevity and success of the cannabis industry.

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