More Testing Regulations for Washington
New Rules… again… for Washington Cannabusiness
Hello and welcome to theBlunt
In case you missed it, there are new rules for testing and compliance for cannabis laboratories in Washington State. Effective August 31, 2017, there are now stricter requirements for laboratory certification requirements, proficiency testing, pesticide levels, and lab accuracy requirements.
Admittedly, we had a problem before with inconsistent test results from labs across Washington. What would happen is that smart processors and producers would send samples from the same lot to a couple different labs for testing. The lab that then gave them the “highest scores” was the winner and they would then use that lab for additional testing.
Where the culture got stuck is that they were (and still are in many ways) so used to shopping for products based on THC content, that it was just the total count of cannabinoids or count for THC that people were focused on.
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But back to the issue at hand with changing laboratory rules. We see a number of issues that will affect the way the market changes within the next few years, or even months.
Issue #1. Failure Rates. With the newer stricter test requirements and new addition of mycotoxin tests, we think many of the grows may fail testing. But why do we think this?
Mycotoxin means fungus and mold. The unfortunate fact is that many of the outdoor grows… and many of the indoor grows… are constantly fighting powdery mildew. It’s a product of the environment, especially when you combine nice humid temperatures, warm climates, and a regulated lighting schedule without pests. What does this mean for the customer? Powdery mildew makes it all the way to the product, and stares back at consumers from your shelves. I see it in bags of “quality” flower on shelves everywhere… and I haven’t even opened the package yet to really look inside.
With this newly imposed testing for mycotoxins, there are going to be a lot of growers whose product may not make it through.
As we all know, the market for prices has dropped due to additional supply of cheap stuff available. It has been a race to the bottom for many of the still quality producers and processors that we have in Washington. However, I think two things happen moving forward.
Issue #2. Pricing Issues. As many of the crops fail and struggling companies are forced to close their doors for the professionals that remain in the business, this could actually help the market. See, supply and demand drive prices… for everything.. but also for cannabis products. As the supply starts to dwindle, I believe our prices may see a little bit of a rebound off the bottom. Of course, keep in mind that you’ll have to pass all the new lab test in order to see your prices rebound, but I think that is where we are headed next.
But, you’ll still have to deal with…
Issue #3. Quality Control. If you are a processor or a retail operation, I think it’s more important now than ever to start teaching consumers about quality and testing standards. Make it part of the discussion.
Let’s face it, there is a lot of cheap crap on the market today. What I’m afraid of is that these larger processors, who just bag other people’s stuff and put it on a shelf, will work around some of the testing regulations. What we may see is that the new “quality standards” that are set in place may accidently see some of the old garbage lumped in with it… and then passed off to the consumer as a higher quality than it really is. That’s the last thing we want to deal with, but I’m afraid there will be a handful of locations that start twisting the rules.
What can we do? Educate people. Show consumers how to spot powdery mildew in bags. Teach budtenders how to educate consumers for the different processing methods. What is the difference between RSO or CO2 or BHO or ESO? Why should they care?
Are new lab requirements inconvenient for many producers? Absolutely.
Are new testing and lab requirements a bad thing for the industry? Not at all.
If we are going to talk about all the good this plant can do, then let’s make sure we aren’t ingesting garbage that offsets those benefits and ends up causing harm instead. Bad products are the last thing we need coming to the surface. It puts at risk all the hard work and dedication by people that have cared.
Do you need help finding partners or moving your company forward? We can make some great introductions. Let’s talk about the CANNA VIEW service that we offer and how it can get you in front of the right people. Give us a call at (206) 466-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. After all, we are in this for the long haul and are here to support you all along the way.