The cannabis dealer hunched up in the shadows is losing his business. States are ushering in recreational and medical cannabis laws with astonishing rapidity, leading to the formation of dozens, if not hundreds, of legal dispensaries.
Legality comes a trove of new regulations. Industry professionals need to pay all the attention in order to pass inspection. Consumers want to know exactly what they’re consuming. They don’t want cannabis flowers or extracts riddled with contaminants or pesticides, they want pure, clean products.
State regulators are even more demanding than consumers. Markets that have legalized cannabis have introduced a lot of rules to ensure both consumer safety and satisfaction. Quality assurance, two words that the underground cannabis dealer rarely worried about, is now of the utmost importance. You can’t be a grower or manufacturer unless you’re willing to play by the state’s rules.
The critical part of quality assurance is the testing laboratory. Cannabis growers are naturally inclined to inflate the THC percentage of their products. It’s hard to believe that a professional company would intentionally mislead its customers about pesticides or contaminants, but without government oversight, it’s unlikely that they would do the required testing. Now they don’t have a choice.
Nevada, Colorado, California, all of the largest cannabis markets in the country require that every cannabis product legally sold in a dispensary must be tested by an accredited, independent lab. The rules in California are so strict that local dispensaries are currently having a firesale. The law that requires official testing goes into effect July 1, meaning that dispensaries need to dump all of their untested product before it becomes illegal to sell it. (1)
“You can smell it. There’s a certain desperation from stores that bought too much, and they have to dump it,” John Atari, CEO of Source Cannabis Farms, told CNBC.
One issue surrounding quality control in cannabis facilities is the lack of federal oversight. States are winging it, creating their own laws as they move forward. Some states are significantly stricter than others. It would be easier for both consumers and industry if there was a standard that everyone had to follow. However, that’s impossible while cannabis is still listed as Schedule 1 drug by the federal government.
The cannabis industry is being built up piecemeal from the ground up. Quality control is one of the biggest issues facing fledgling markets. Massachusetts legalized cannabis but they’re having trouble approving independent testing labs, which is causing a delay in sales. (2)
Quality control is the bugbear that’s going to plague the industry until the kinks are worked out. Consumers, however, have little to worry about. There might be problems with the supply chain, but the regulations in place are robust enough to protect the consumer from purchasing substandard products. The cannabis that’s actually being sold on dispensary shelves is tested for quality and safety.