October 4, 2013

Genifer Murray: Mandatory Cannabis Testing Laws Will Cause Ripples Across Industry

genifermurray
By Genifer Murray

Testing is currently voluntary in most medical marijuana states. As a result, the lion’s share of dispensaries bypass it entirely, coming up with any number of excuses (too expensive, not important enough to patients, no industry standards) to skip a crucial step in ensuring safe, reliable medicine is on the market.

In Colorado, only about 5% of the marijuana products on dispensary shelves are actually tested. Everyone in the testing industry knows how difficult it is to encourage businesses to do the responsible thing for patients.

But all of this is about to change.

Starting in 2014, it will be a requirement that all recreational marijuana products in both Colorado and Washington State be tested for health and safety. Eventually, the required tests will include potency for dosing, microbial testing (molds, E. Coli, salmonella, etc.), pesticides, and residual solvents (such as leftover butane from making hash).

Other new MMJ states coming online are requiring testing right from the start. A few states are even taking it to the point of requiring pharmaceutical-grade standards.
The change will not only increase the overall market size for testing services, it will put new products on store shelves and give dispensaries/retail stores another way to set themselves apart from the competition.

Just as importantly, it will usher in significant advancements in the science.

All labs back in 2009/2010 began potency testing with three cannabinoids: THC, CBD and CBN.  Now, many of them offer nine, including THCA, CBDA, CBG, CBGA, CBC and THCV.

nmbcoct15last Genifer Murray: Mandatory Cannabis Testing Laws Will Cause Ripples Across IndustryYet, with over 100 cannabinoids in the plant we haven’t even scratched the surface when it comes to the true range of effects the various cannabinoids (and ratios of cannabinoids) will have on an individual. There are likely many more medical conditions this plant can treat if they are bred properly to produce these other unexplored cannabinoids.

The more information you have about this plant the more it can help patients, and in turn, lead to higher profits. CBD is the most obvious example. CannLabs first tested a high-CBD strain in the summer of 2010. After re-running the sample several times to verify the results, it was indeed a 1:1 ratio with about 7% CBD and 6% THC.  This was a huge step for the industry as a whole, and now Colorado has some of the highest CBD products in the country. This is a case in which an early analysis of test data led to new types of products for patients.

The instrumentation is evolving as well. We started with GC (gas chromatography) for potency but quickly advanced to HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) and now UPLC (ultra-high performance liquid chromatography).

But perhaps the best aspect of recent changes in the testing world is the move towards certification. Currently, labs do not have to be certified or even monitored, and this is particularly true in states that have not mandated testing. That’s been a big concern for dispensaries and infused-products companies.

Now, however, states are working certification into their medical and adult-use cannabis laws.

In Colorado, for instance, the Marijuana Enforcement Division will be taking applications for lab certification and licensing starting in October of this year. Others – including Oregon, Massachusetts and most new MMJ states – are following a similar path. This means that both marijuana businesses and consumers can be confident that the labs are credible, regulated and compliant with state laws and use good laboratory practices consistent with other industries.

Looking back, it is remarkable how far the testing industry has come. Several years ago most people in the marijuana industry did not know what testing was or how it would benefit them. Since testing is now required in most states and the levels of required testing are improving, this science-based industry is helping to lead the charge for legitimacy in the overall cannabis industry.

And science is exactly what will ultimately make cannabis medicine mainstream and more accepted.

Genifer Murray is chief executive officer of CannLabs, a cannabis testing company based in Colorado


5 Comments:

  1. Another real necessity in this industry is EDUCATION! Too many patients new to cannabis (as well as those with experience), are left without assistance when dispensary staff are not knowledgeable about the needs to the patient. Support public cannabis education!

  2. What companies are doing the testings. I have invested in many areas of this industry and would like to have stock in a major player on the testing side of it.

  3. Hello Regina- I completely agree. In fact our new website will be full of education for new patients:)

    Joel – All of the labs I believe are still private.

  4. Good. Too many dispensaries get away with selling schwag to the uneducated buyer. Naughty, not to mention the bad karma

  5. @Christie Blue – yes it is very sad. Patients assume that what is on the label is what is in the product and that just isn’t true. Not to mention the CBD fraud going on right now. People trying to sell flowers/oil claiming to have CBD and they have none:(

Post Your Comment:


Please note:
Comments are moderated by our editors who do their best to approve comments ASAP. As MMJ Business Daily is focused on business, we approve comments that are specifically relevant to industry professionals. General opinions and questions about cannabis may not be posted.

Bid to Overturn San Jose MMJ Regs Falls Short

A last-ditch effort to block restrictive regulations on medical cannabis businesses in San Jose, California, [click to continue...]

IL Hospital Voices Interest in Dispensing Marijuana

SwedishHospital

A hospital in Chicago has gone public with its desire to dispense medical cannabis. Executives [click to continue...]

VT Moves Forward With Marijuana Legalization Study

Image for marijuana studies

Rand Corp. is set to begin a study on the possible impacts of marijuana legislation [click to continue...]

Illinois Expands MMJ Program

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has signed legislation expanding the list of qualifying conditions for the [click to continue...]

Cheeba Chews Returns to Colorado Market

Cheeba Chews is back in business. The Colorado-based company – which makes a popular line [click to continue...]

WA Product Shortages Could Last Months

Washingtonrecupdate

When will Washington State’s recreational marijuana industry have enough product to satisfy demand? One cultivator [click to continue...]

Denver Issues Edibles Recall, Despite Lack of Illness

Products from the popular Colorado edibles brand At Home Baked are being removed from store [click to continue...]

Vegas Suburb Proves Popular With Dispensary Hopefuls

The Las Vegas suburb of Henderson received 28 applications for medical marijuana business licenses by [click to continue...]

New Mexico Abandons Some Proposed Rule Changes

New Mexico’s marijuana community has scored a minor regulatory victory. The state’s health department is [click to continue...]

Washington OKs Marijuana Cookies, Nixes Candies

edibles2

Retail marijuana shops in Washington State can sell cannabis cookies, brownies and other baked goods, [click to continue...]

70% of Canadians Support Marijuana Legalization, Decrim

Canadians overwhelmingly favor loosening the country’s cannabis laws, according to a poll commissioned by the [click to continue...]

Canadian Cannabis Company Buys Huge Facility for $13M

A prospective medical marijuana company in Canada has purchased a 300,000-square-foot facility for roughly $13 [click to continue...]

Dispensary Solution on Horizon in Michigan?

Michigan medical cannabis issues, pot dispensary updates, news about marijuana by state

Michigan lawmakers could be close to approving a solution to the state’s medical marijuana problems. [click to continue...]

Cannabis Banking Bill Clears House

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment Wednesday to prevent the federal government from [click to continue...]