California is working to develop statewide standardized cannabis testing to minimize inconsistencies in data from one lab to the next.
The move comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 544 into law Oct. 5. According to the bill text, the measure requires the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) to “establish one or more standardized cannabinoids test methods to be used by all testing laboratories” on or before Jan. 1, 2023.
“I believe it is a necessary step to standardize testing methods and procedures when all legal cannabis products are required to undergo testing and display those results for the consumers,” Jared Schwass, founder and managing partner Schwass Law Firm, told Cannabis Business Times in an email. “Unfortunately, many consumers currently rely heavily on the reported THC levels of cannabis flower, which has led to lab shopping. This puts pressure on all cannabis producers to find labs that can produce high THC levels and on the labs to find methods that produce such results.”
Schwass said he think’s the state’s current testing regulations decrease consumer confidence, and believes the standardized method will help consumers be sure that the labels on cannabis products are accurate.
Looking ahead, Schwass suggests that when the state is developing the regulations, it might bring industry insiders into the fold to learn about other issues the state needs to address through the new regulations—such as the logistics around lab testing.
“For example, small producers (i.e., farmers and manufacturers) could benefit greatly if they were able to have their testing samples taken from their location before shipping their product to a distributor,” Schwass said. “This could save significant shipping costs, especially if a product fails testing. It also costs a significant amount of capital to start a lab and the state needs to ensure that the new standards won’t require large investments just to stay compliant. In the past, the state has failed to take insider input at the expense of the operators. I hope it is different this time.”