As the marijuana reform movement grows around the country and legal marijuana becomes a reality, the many great promises of legal weed are beginning to be realized. Reduced prices. More selection. Consistent supply. No legal troubles or safety concerns. No annoying or sketchy drug dealers.
Perhaps one of the most important, at least to some, is consistent and regulated quality. While the black market has certainly provided for us while the government got its act together, many of the marijuana smoked contained harmful pesticides, fungicides, mold, heavy metals, and even additives to make if feel like it was getting us higher.
That’s one of the troubles with the black market, a lack of regulation allows opportunistic individuals to take advantage of customers. Serving them product that may be harmful to them without them even knowing it.
Legal weed should fix that. State government regulated testing facilities exist in every market, and customers who buy from dispensaries feel comforted in knowing that their weed is tested for potency and a litany of potential harmful ingredients.
But what if part of that was a lie?
In the mortgage crises of 2007/2008, it was discovered that the ratings agencies of Moodys and Standard and Poors were in collusion with the big banks to give favorable ratings to garbage mortgage backed securities. It was a rigged system.
What if testing facilities and dispensaries are running a similar shame and lying to us about the THC percentage of marijuana? In a culture where many customers are focused on the strongest THC count they can find, that drives many brands and growers to have the strongest products.
Is it possible that in the same way banks went ratings shopping, that growers are going percentage shopping?
Yes. In fact, it’s an unfortunate certainty in some markets.
A recent Vice News report highlighted this growing troubling trend. Charley Town, a manager at Goat Labs in Washington State, says he has been pressured by clients to increase the potency percentage of their batches. When asked further, he went on to say that he has received calls from growers directly saying that they were ‘shopping around’ for laboratories and that its happening often in the industry.
Mr. Town further proves his point by testing a batch of cannabis oil from a dispensary claiming that the product was 30% THC. Goat labs determined that the sample was under 19% THC. With an 11% difference, there is no room for human, rounding, or calibration errors – that is a blatant lie.
Unfortunately, most state oversight on labs is not strong and mostly relies on the honor system. Once a lab has its certifications, a few annual (if that) checks may take place, but more often than not, the industry is left to its own devices. While this is somewhat understandable in a burgeoning industry that is regulated at a state level, it is nonetheless a dangerous trend that needs proactive measures to be taken immediately.
Washington has recently been considering tightening regulation since a secret shopper program discovered deviations in test results which were severe enough to warrant an investigation. While Washington may be actively working to correct this issue, some states do not even have testing requirements in place yet!
Source: 420Intel – Politics