The Noncompliance Rate of Cannabis Samples with California’s Recent Regulatory Standards Stands at 20%

The Noncompliance Rate of Cannabis Samples with California's Recent Regulatory Standards Stands at 20%

Since the implementation of new safety regulations on July 1 in California, an alarming statistic has emerged. Data from the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) reveals that one in five batches of cannabis have failed to meet these new standards. The failures are attributed to two main factors: mislabeling of products and contamination from pesticides, bacteria, and processing chemicals. The severity of these failures is demonstrated by the first recall of a cannabis product from store shelves due to its failure to comply with safe pesticide levels.

The BCC is responsible for regulating the cultivation, manufacturing, sale, transportation, storage, delivery, and testing of cannabis in California. Their new regulations, which came into effect on July 1, cover four main categories: lab testing, packaging and labeling, THC limits, and ingredients and appearance. Any cannabis goods that do not meet these criteria must be destroyed in accordance with specific rules.

The regulations include several notable stipulations. All labs must test for residual solvents, residual pesticides, and foreign materials. Packaging and labeling must be completed before transportation to retailers. All cannabis goods must be in child-resistant packaging before delivery to retailers. Edible cannabis goods are subject to restrictions such as not exceeding 10 milligrams of THC per serving and 100 milligrams per package.

Since July 1, Californian labs have tested 5,268 batches of cannabis, with approximately 20 percent failing to meet state standards. The majority (68 percent) of failed samples did not pass acceptance criteria due to inaccurate claims on product labels, particularly regarding THC or CBD content. While this may not harm consumers directly, it can lead to overpayment for less valuable products.

Around 19 percent of failed samples posed a health risk due to pesticide contamination. Cases varied from excessive legal pesticide use to the presence of banned pesticides under state law. Additionally, approximately 6 percent of lab test failures were due to microbial impurities like mold and bacteria, which can be dangerous for individuals with weakened immune systems. The remaining 5 percent failed due to the presence of residual solvents like ethanol, butane, and isopropanol, which can produce carcinogens when vaporized.

The new regulations have had a significant impact on the industry. The Bloom Brand, a Los Angeles-based company, voluntarily recalled a batch of cannabis products from stores across California as they failed to meet safe pesticide standards. These products contained Myclobutanil, which decomposes into harmful fumes when heated. This recall affected approximately 100 stores and resulted in apologies from the company and promises to comply with regulations within three weeks.

Currently, only 31 labs are licensed by the BCC to test cannabis, mostly located in Northern California. This limited number of testing facilities means that if a few labs struggle with the new regulations, it affects the entire state. Consequently, some retailers have experienced severe inventory shortages.

However, despite these challenges, most products are meeting the new standards, ensuring consumers receive products that undergo strict safety checks. These regulations signify the maturation of the Californian cannabis industry and its alignment with regulatory practices in other markets like alcohol and food.

To further strengthen regulation, additional stipulations are being developed by the BCC. The recent upheaval represents the second phase of their new regulations. The first phase introduced lab tests for moisture content and microbial impurities on January 1, 2018. Moving forward, by December 31, testing for terpenoids, heavy metals, and other contaminants will become mandatory for all Californian labs.

In conclusion, while California’s cannabis industry is experiencing challenges in adhering to new safety regulations, these changes ultimately contribute to a safer and more regulated market. With continued efforts from regulators like the BCC, consumers can expect higher quality products and increased confidence in their purchases.

Dr. Paul Miller, MD

Dr. Miller is committed to finding new and innovative ways to help his patients manage their symptoms and improve their overall quality of life. He has a particular interest in the therapeutic potential of medical cannabis and is passionate about educating both his colleagues and patients on its safe and effective use. He is also committed to continuing his education and staying up-to-date on the latest advances in neurology and cannabis research.

Leave a Comment