With legal cannabis access expanding in the United States, it’s safe to assume that the pot you buy is on the up and up, right?
In most cases, yes, but too many continue to fail tests and go misrepresented on the market. This can range from flower being moldy to mislabeled. In other cases, flower can be contaminated. In recent years, tests of products resulted in failures for a slew of products. This includes a 2018 occurrence when nearly a fifth of California’s cannabis products failed testing.
Many concerns have been brought up concerning the testing of products. They range from the high cost of lab testing to the number of available labs to regulations, like California’s, making products very difficult to approve.
Aaron Riley is the president of Cannasafe, the country’s first accredited lab in cannabis. Since 2012, Riley and Cannasafe have seen the evolution of the market and its products. He noted that consumers who visit accredited dispensaries are likely going to find products that are lab tested and have had their contents confirmed prior to sale.
Riley explained that track and trace technology has done a great job at allowing retailers and consumers to know where their plant has been on the supply chain. That said, the technology still has workarounds that some have abused. “There’s a lot of misconceptions or people kept trying to mislead consumers…where a brand has a license, but they have, kind of, a split operation. Half of it is legal, half of it’s not.”
Less than reputable sellers and certain delivery services go hand-in-hand. Unlike an accredited dispensary, some delivery services do not adhere to the same standards as other retailers must. Riley considers these companies “sketchy actors” that will buy from non-approved vendors, giving consumers an increased risk of buying mislabeled or contaminated pot products.
There is one option to stifling this activity, according to Riley, but it comes at a cost. That is regulation. He said that many current markets have low risks and high rewards for sketchy actors. “You don’t have to pay any taxes…You don’t really have any expenses other than you make it, you sell it, you pay your bills or whatever your cost to produce,” Riley said.