According to a recent report from the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (and first reported by The Orange County Register), one in five batches of cannabis has failed new mandatory state testing for pesticide residues and other pathogens that took effect July 1. Many dispensaries are finding themselves scrambling for inventory after products were found to have trace amounts of bacteria, processing chemicals, or potentially hazardous pest-mitigation sprays. Some samples were also flagged due to inaccurate labeling.
Nearly 20 percent of the failed tests were related to pesticides. In several cases, the samples tested for traces of pesticides that are banned by state regulations; others were found to have higher levels of approved chemicals than the amount deemed safe by state law. Some cultivators claim that pesticide residues are showing up during lab testing due to soil contamination at grow sites that previously belonged to vineyards, as there are stricter limits on the types of pesticides allowed in marijuana versus wine.
Around six percent of lab test failures have been due to the presence of microbial substances, such as mold and bacteria. According to the report, the most commonly found bacteria includes salmonella and e. coli, which can be deadly. These strains often develop due to overly humid conditions during cultivation and curing, and can also pop up during storage.
The new testing regulations in California have already had big economic impacts on producers and retailers, some of which occurred before the rules took effect. The state saw nearly $300 million worth of non-compliant product destroyed at the end of June. Weeks later, The Bloom Brand, which makes several popular varieties of vape cartridges, found their products pulled from over 100 California dispensary locations after issuing a re-call due to contamination from Myclobutanil. The fungicide has been found to be harmful to humans, especially when heated, as it turns to Hydrogen Cyanide (a Schedule 3 substance under the Chemical Weapons Convention).
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