If there’s one area in America where scoring score pure, potent weed is damn near guaranteed, the Bay Area is indeed that place. Unfortunately, however, Anresco Laboratories (headquartered in San Francisco), a company that provides comprehensive food and cannabis testing services has found that much of the weed sold in California is tainted with mold and other harmful chemicals. For now, California’s 1000 plus dispensaries are selling bud that wouldn’t pass quality control standards in other states such as Oregon or Colorado and medical marijuana consumers in California should be concerned.
California (the first state in the union to legalize medical marijuana in 1996 with Prop 215) passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Proposition 64) in November, which finally legalized recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 21.
Unlike Nevada or Oregon, who began early start programs to get recreational marijuana sold within mere months, California is still carving out its own regulations and procedures for sales to officially begin in 2018. Such procedures also trickle down to marijuana testing, since quality control won’t be adopted in any strict way until January.
According to the SFGate, workers at Anresco stumbled upon some serious issues at a recent HempCon event,
When they were asked to test buds, edibles, and concentrates entered in the competition at last August’s HempCon… 80 percent of the product entered came back tainted with mold, pesticides, and harmful solvents.
Oils and dabs were also affected, and happened to contain even more toxins than flower due to their high concentration. SF Mag reports that, “pesticides and fungicides can appear in cannabis extracts at 1,000 times the level of concentration typically found in foods.”
Moldy or bacteria-laden cannabis is nothing to play around with. Ingesting dirty marijuana can have life-threatening consequences such as lung or fungal infections, compromised immune systems and respiratory illnesses.
It’s not just the Anresco lab who’ve made these unfortunate findings. Steep Hill Laboratories in Berkeley also sampled 20 dispensaries across California to find that, “ninety percent of those samples had something on them. Some DNA of some pathogen.” This is up from the 20 to 30 percent contamination that the company normally sees.
On the upside, California’s testing regulations in 2018 are purported to be some of the strictest in the U.S. Rules such as what technicians can wear when collecting cannabis to pesticide levels will officially be on the books, reigning in a state that has been progressive in its politics but haphazard in its execution.
Until the laws are in effect, medical marijuana patients who know how to safely grow their own pot may want to take that route, or simply wait until 2018.