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California Department Of Cannabis Control Tackles Lab Shopping

California cannabis consumers’ obsession with unrealistic THC levels is wreaking havoc, and regulators are gathering public opinion of how to handle the issue most effectively. California’s Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is tackling the widespread problem of “lab shopping”—the way cannabis growers shop around at various labs to get the highest THC readings.

The DCC is proposing changes to the regulations that would adopt a standardized cannabinoid test method for use by all licensed laboratories. Senate Bill 544 requires the DCC to establish standardized cannabinoid test methods by January 1, 2023.

The proposed regulations were first released to the public last summer with multiple public comment periods. The latest 15-day public comment period ends on October 20.

DCC was flooded with multiple comments calling for better accuracy for lab testing methods of cannabis products in the marketplace. After considering the feedback, DCC determined that limiting the applicability of the standardized method is the way to move forward.

Announced on October 4, the latest round of proposed changes was released. Primarily, under the new proposed changes, regulations would limit applicability of the standardized cannabinoid test method to the testing of dried flower, including pre-rolls. The DCC released Notice of Further Modifications to Proposed Text and Modified Text of Regulations.

The rulemaking process provides the opportunity for public participation in the adoption of regulations via the public comment process.

“The regulatory package reflects the Department’s continued commitment to tackle issues with cannabis potency inflation and ‘laboratory shopping’ by cannabis businesses looking to secure THC levels that may be higher than what is contained in the cannabis flower or product,” says Christina Dempsey, Deputy Director of Policy and Research for the Department of Cannabis Control. “The potential for potency inflation is higher for cannabis flower products, in which higher percentages of THC can sometimes be used as the basis for marketing and higher sales prices to consumers.”

Lab operators fees pressure when growers want percentages of THC upwards of 30 percent every time—which just isn’t realistic. Nor is it logical, considering that THC levels alone won’t determine the quality of cannabis that is ignited.


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