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 Marijuana 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.

Concentrates Qualify as MMJ in California, Court Rules

marijuana lawsuit

Cannabis concentrate producers in California can relax – their businesses are safe. A three-judge appellate [click to continue...]

MA Medical Cannabis Businesses Advancing Despite Uncertainty

Medical marijuana companies are moving forward with their plans in Massachusetts even though the incoming [click to continue...]

Terra Tech’s SEC Approval Good News for MJ Industry

A recent move by the Securities and Exchange Commission could fuel investor interest in marijuana [click to continue...]

Seattle Dispensary Plan May Be Scrapped

Seattle marijuana

Seattle medical marijuana businesses may not be able to get local licenses after all, as [click to continue...]

Michigan MMJ Bills Sputter, Leaving Industry in Limbo

Michigan sheriffs reportedly helped kill legislation on Thursday that would have allowed the legal return [click to continue...]

New York MMJ Regs: $200,000 Licensing Fee, Strain Limit

Medical cannabis companies hoping to operate in New York will have to jump through several [click to continue...]

Nebraska, Oklahoma Ask Supreme Court to Nix Colorado Marijuana Law

lawsuit

Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Colorado’s [click to continue...]

Joint-Smoking Santa Display Backfires for LA Dispensary

In a lesson on how not to advertise your medical marijuana business, a dispensary in [click to continue...]

Key Michigan MMJ Bills Come Down to the Wire

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

The future of dispensaries in Michigan hangs in the balance as police groups and public [click to continue...]

High Prices Could Limit Minnesota Medical Cannabis Market

Minnesota’s medical marijuana market could be smaller than expected, as patients will reportedly have to [click to continue...]

Colorado Earmarks $8 Million for MMJ Research

coloradocannabis

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment will devote serious money to studying the efficacy [click to continue...]

PayPal Co-Founder to Invest in Cannabis

PayPal co-founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel plans to pump money into the marijuana [click to continue...]

Anchorage Shoots Down Proposed Ban on Rec Sales

Alaska’s budding marijuana industry scored a significant victory Tuesday night when lawmakers killed a proposal [click to continue...]

MMJ Lounges Popping Up in Maine

maine marijuana

A new trend in Maine offers yet another possible offshoot business opportunity in the cannabis [click to continue...]