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California Cannabis Regulator Sends Warning Letter to Labs, Announcing Reference Lab Tests

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Sep 19, 2023   
Cannabis bud held between tweezers in a gloved hand.

Image credit: iStock

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California’s cannabis labs have been warned.

In an email letter sent last week – seen by Analytical Cannabis – the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) reminded licensed labs that they are “required to accurately report testing results for cannabis batches.”

To check that all tests are indeed being accurately reported, the department said it will be carrying out on-site inspections and conducting secondary testing in its own reference lab. If any of the regulator’s test results differ from those of a lab, the relevant cannabis products may have to be recalled and relabeled and the lab may have its license revoked.

“Randomly testing ‘off-the-shelf’ products will continue to provide consumers with the confidence that the cannabis products they purchase have been tested and those test results are accurate” DCC Director Nicole Elliott said in a statement to Analytical Cannabis.

The announcement from the DCC has been welcomed by some within California’s cannabis testing sector who believe more regulatory oversight is needed to combat the issue of lab shopping.

The DCC’s announced strategy of double-checking test results in its reference lab mirrors other recent state regulator policies. Michigan’s cannabis regulator, for instance, is planning on opening its own reference lab.

“We are planning to implement a rigorous audit and oversight program that would include direct auditing of the laboratories as well as direct auditing of products in final form,” David Harns, public relations manager of Michigan’s Cannabis Regulatory Agency, recently told Analytical Cannabis.

“This procedure will have a set of clearly defined parameters to ensure that all licenses are audited equitably. Increased oversight will include auditing and testing of products and licenses that are under investigations,” he added.


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