About 18% of marijuana products in California have failed tests for potency and purity since the state started requiring the checks on July 1, a failure rate some in the industry say has more to do with unrealistic standards and technical glitches than protecting consumer safety. The testing has been especially tough on cannabis-infused cookies, candies, and tinctures: about one-third have been blocked from store shelves. In much smaller numbers, testing companies licensed by the state are finding unacceptable levels of pesticides, solvents, and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella, according to data provided to the AP by the state Bureau of Cannabis Control. In the first two months, nearly 11,000 samples were tested and almost 2,000 failed.
In some cases, the product must be destroyed. But 65% of the failures involve labeling issues that can often be corrected. For example, a marijuana bud that's tested to show a different potency than what's on the label can be relabeled and sold with the right specification. To the state, the strict testing program is largely doing what it was designed to do: identify marijuana buds, concentrates, munchies, and other products that are in some way tainted and unsuitable for eating or smoking. But the California Growers Association, an industry group, is among those concerned the state is forcing growers and manufacturers to hit too tiny a target when gauging levels of THC, the psychoactive chemical that causes marijuana's high. Rules require the THC concentration come within 10% of what is advertised on a product label.