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1904SPT0377.1245 (Apr 2019)

Why Do We Test?

Caregiver-Provided Pot Failing State Tests 37.5% Of the Time

The statistics cover caregiver-provided marijuana products subjected to state testing, said David Harns, spokesperson for the state Bureau of Marijuana Regulation (BMR).

The state has temporarily allowed licensed provisioning centers to obtain and sell marijuana products from licensed caregivers or temporarily operating facilities. They're allowed to sell it even if it hasn't been tested in full compliance of state law, provided they get signed consent from the customer who purchases it.

Harms attributed the decrease in failed tests to more data on products available now than back in January when the rate was 88 percent and the sample size was smaller.

The intent behind allowing caregiver product into the licensed system was to alleviate concerns of a medicinal shortage as the state works to approve more facility licenses to bolster the medical marijuana industry (See "Cannabis Shortage Highlighted as Trade Group Launches For The New Industry,"1/15/19).

Yet some -- including licensed safety labs and other licensed facilities -- have raised safety concerns with allowing those type of products into consumer hands, given the number of products failing safety tests (See "Marijuana Businesses Warn State Against Allowing Sale of Untested Pot," 1/23/19).

Since the beginning of the year, the state has issued several recalls of marijuana products, and the BMR has since made updates to safety testing regulations (See "Bits and Tidbits, After Recalls, State Updates Marijuana Guidelines On Safety Testing," 2/4/19).

The state provides testing requirements for marijuana products, setting certain levels of THC potency as well as levels for yeast and mold, E. coli and salmonella and heavy metals like lead and arsenic.

At the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB) meeting today, Wes LUTZ, an owner of Choice Labs in Jackson, railed against the allowance of untested caregiver products, citing the 88 percent failed test rate from mid-January.

"It takes seven days to test caregiver product before it's released to the public," he said to the MMLB during public comment. "There's no reason why licensed processors can't test product before it's released."

Lutz asked the MMLB to halt the allowance of untested product sales by the end of this month. The board has previously passed a resolution pledging to not take action against certain licensees selling untested product at least through March 31.

Asked about the failed test rate from caregiver products, Harms noted the fail rate for products coming out of the licensed system is 0 percent. He said the fact that caregiver product fail rates aren't at 0 percent is the whole idea of moving to a fully licensed system.

Remember... No Test, Don't Use!