A large portion of cannabis shoppers today continue to make purchases based solely on product THC percentage.
Beginning in July, New York medical cannabis patrons may (or may not) have been enticed to buy multistate operator Curaleaf’s products based on that consumer trend. After making an internal labeling switch, the Massachusetts-based company had higher listed THC potencies than competing products at retail in New York.
That’s because Curaleaf began using dry-weight THC testing measurements for its product labels last month—a method that results in significantly higher potency than “wet-weight” THC testing—without approval from the New York Office of Cannabis Management (OCM), NY Cannabis Insider first reported.
But the company has temporality abandoned that labeling switch.
According to an Aug. 12 statement from Curaleaf officials provided to Cannabis Business Times by Stephanie Cunha, the company’s regional director of public relations, the multistate operator voluntarily discontinued including dry-weight testing measurements on product labels “out of an abundance of caution” until the OCM permits doing so in New York.
As a result, Curaleaf voluntarily removed thousands of products from medical cannabis dispensary shelves in New York, Cunha confirmed with CBT. A full count of what’s been removed from the market has not yet been made public.
In the company statement, Curaleaf experts explained that calculating THC potency on a dry-weight basis is an industry-standard method throughout regulated cannabis markets in the Northeast, including in neighboring states New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts.
Calculating potencies using dry-weight testing is also a standard within the broader food and agricultural industries, according to Curaleaf.
“The decision to provide the New York market the dry-weight potency on labels was done to ensure continuity across markets, allowing for clearer decision-making on the patients’ part,” the statement reads. “It should also be noted that this method of calculating potency provides a normalized value throughout the product’s life cycle. The wet-weight measurement is easily manipulated in so much as it can be influenced by the moisture content of a particular sample given to the lab. Conversely, the dry-weight measurement removes that easily manipulated factor providing greater transparency to the New York market.”
In the federally legal hemp industry, for example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Final Rule requires hemp producers to test their crops on a dry-weight basis, including a “Total THC” calculation starting in 2022.
However, dry-weight measurements for THC potencies are not yet the standard in New York. Products in the state still show a wet-weight measurement on product labels in accordance with OCM regulations.
“In keeping with the guidance from the OCM, the dry-weight potency value will appear on an unofficial basis on [Certificates of Analysis] COAs from the testing laboratories. Patients will have the ability to view this on a lot-by-lot basis,” the Curaleaf statement reads. “Curaleaf has voluntarily ceased this practice and the dry weight will not appear on labels going forward until such time as the OCM permits.”