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CannaSafe Labs to Close

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Jul 07, 2022   

Image credit: CannaSafe Labs

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CannaSafe Labs, one of the most prominent cannabis testing labs in California, will shortly close, its president has confirmed.

In a letter to clients published on June 27, the lab’s president, Antonio Frazier, said that the lab will be “winding down it’s [sic] testing services.”

“This isn’t a decision that we take lightly and certainly one that comes with a heavy heart,” Frazier continued. “We thank you for trusting us with your products to ensure they’re safe and accurate for consumers.”

Shop till you stop

Founded in 2011, CannaSafe went on to become one of California’s most eminent cannabis testing labs, opening a 12,500 square foot lab in Los Angeles in 2018 at the dawn of the state’s recreational market. Former clients include well-known cannabis companies like Stiiizy and Lowell Herb Co.

Speaking to Analytical Cannabis, CannaSafe’s chief science officer, Ini Afia, explained why the lab had decided to close.

“The issue of lab shopping and ownership decision not to play in that arena ultimately led to the closure.”

Lab shopping is the somewhat unscrupulous practice of “shopping” a cannabis product around different labs until one provides the cannabis manufacturer with the test results it’s after.

“There hasn’t been substantive action from the DCC [California’s Department of Cannabis Control] even when direct evidence of unscrupulous lab practices were [sic] submitted as complaints to the agency,” Afia continued.

“When people are able to test compliance samples at multiple labs and pick the most favorable result for sale, then it makes it very difficult for labs with integrity to get on the playing field,” he added.

Afia, Frazier, and other CannaSafe colleagues have spoken out about the dangers of lab shopping for years. Speaking to Analytical Cannabis back in 2020, Frazier warned that, “Lab shopping creates the race to the bottom with safety.”

Now, the issue has led to end of one of the state’s most prominent cannabis testing labs. And Afia warns it won’t be the last.

“What happened to Cannasafe is just a preview of what is coming for other existing labs [whose] business models solely depends [sic] on cannabis testing,” he told Analytical Cannabis.

“The CA market has a ton of potential, but unfortunately with taxation, circumstances around the economy, and inaction from regulatory authorities on unscrupulous labs, most existing cannabis labs will not make it. It’s already evident with most closing doors and others barely open with a handful of staff.”

While Afia’s outlook on the state’s testing sector may look dire, he’s still hopeful that the DCC will one day quash the practice of lab shopping. Then, he says, CannaSafe may return in some capacity.

“This closure is not permanent and it is our hope that in due time, licenses will become limited and regulations will actually be enforced to allow our nascent industry to thrive to its full potential,” he said.


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