All cannabis products sold in Colorado will be forced under the microscope later this year, as state marijuana regulators have established guidelines mandating the use of laboratory testing.
Since marijuana remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government, the hand of the recreational marijuana industry is not held by federal agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, as a means to monitor and regulate the safety of its edibles market.
Therefore, the state has been required to develop a regulatory system from the ground up, establishing a set of food safety and sanitary standards for the manufacturing of marijuana-infused goods. The new rules require all cannabis products to be tested for THC content and dangerous toxins like E. coli, salmonella, and pesticides by the beginning of October. Edibles testing is expected to start sometime in May.
While the regulations may translate into added inconvenience for some marijuana businesses, the majority of the industry has embraced the new standards and believes they will help protect their customers.
“We’re a new industry,” Christie Lunsford, marketing and education director for Dixie Elixirs, a marijuana edibles manufacturer, recently told KUNC. “Even my competitors, who are food novices -- they really care about providing for the consumer and making sure they’re safe.”
Of course, mandatory testing also means big business for companies specializing in cannabis analysis, which are scarce – there are only three of these laboratories currently operating in Denver.
CannLabs owner Genifer Murray says that her business has already experienced a substantial amount of growth and expects that it will only get bigger. “CannLabs started in a space of about 150 square feet, this is about 500 and we’re moving to 2,000,” she said.
Murray says that it is important for consumers to know exactly what they are getting in regards to edibles and topicals, because taking too much can ruin the experience.
“You can feel like you’re dying,” she said. “Your heart rate speeds up, you sweat, you can throw up. I mean it’s awful. So with edibles it is very important that they get tested and that you know your dose.”
State regulators are currently working on establishing certification requirements for all marijuana testing facilities.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.