We're going to be real here, we LOVE it when people get to try and consistently blaze with our Weedsy Infused mini pre-rolls. What we love a little less, however, is the regulatory nightmare that comes with testing the products. Don't get us wrong, we're not opposed to testing as the process ensures that you and I are only smoking the best of the best. What we don't like is the lack of a regulatory standard in what is considered a safe product and what is just fluffed up numbers.
So, as another big win to the California legal cannabis industry, the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) is being tasked with overhauling the testing regime with more standardized procedures. With the signing of Senate Bill 544 (SB544) back in October by Governor Newsom, the agency has until January 23, 2023 to develop the program and have it adopted by all labs statewide. Don't mind us as we dance around and aggressively fist bump everyone in sight. What's been at best, a s--t show, for testing our pre-rolls each time we generate a new harvest is finally getting the change we all deserve as brands servicing the community. Thanks to concerned industry officials as they noticed certain labs would generate preferential results seemingly undeserving companies, we should finally see a degree of change in the right direction.
THE CURRENT SYSTEM IS BROKEN
Now, there's a lot wrong with the current system. As a brand that sources exotic flower, we are at the mercy that the harvest possesses three points:
- It smells on point (AKA - it's LOUD);
- It delivers an accurate high (AKA - it's POTENT); and
- It's safe (AKA - it's CLEAN)
Another scenario that may occur is when a brand sends their finished product for testing. Let's use ourselves in this scenario as we've experienced our fair share of this one! Something that tends to happen when we test our Infused mini pre-rolls is receiving a false-positive a contaminant. A false positive may trigger an alert that a banned pesticide is present in the sample, thus prompting an un-compliant product and forcing us to remove the entire batch from queue to enter market.
This causes several issues across the supply chain. First, is the immediate loss of tens of thousands of dollars worth of product and manufacturing fees to essentially create an unsafe product. Next, the incurring of fees in waste management and freight as we quite literally physically remove product from the manufacturing facility. Last, and the most important, is not having a batch of new products to enter market. This creates a supply chain bottleneck as now dispensaries no longer have a consistent stream of product to sell. Then on the end user side, a lack of products from your favorite brand spells doom for the brand. You'd simply move onto another brand that can consistently keep their dispensaries stocked.
All this for what? A test result inaccurately displaying a requirement due to unforced lab error? No thanks!
THE NEW SYSTEM HOPES TO FIX THIS
This regulatory overhaul follows the directive set forth with SB544's signing by Governor Newsom earlier this year. The DCC's Cannabis Laboratory Division will appoint two state-run labs to establish the framework, procedures, and requirements for all other California cannabis labs to follow. In addition to redefining the rules, the overhaul will also require labs to report lab errors to the DCC to ensure transparency during the entire testing process for products.
Hopefully, by the overhaul's due date, the new rules can lay precedent for further testing and sampling regulations such as where testing should take place - for example, at the cultivation or manufacturing site instead of laying with the brand owning the finished product. That would eliminate a good majority of costs incurred should a failed test occur. On top of that, a new standardized testing procedure would still be open to change as new cannabinoids start taking popularity in the less-regulated parts of the cannabis industry. Popular cannabis alternatives like Delta-8, HHC, and THC-O are largely unregulated as they can be argued they're hemp-derived and therefore federally legal. Despite its easy-accessibility, the testing requirements still follow regulated cannabis testing methods, effectively bringing all cannabis products regulated or not under the same general product safety vision.
THERE ARE STILL SOME CONCERNS
As much as we're stoked about the changing of the rules so everyone can play by them, we do have some concerns. Mainly of which, are rooted in consumer demand to have or think they have the loudest gas in the state. By and large, a massive decision-maker in determining what a customer buys at the dispensary is THC potency concentration. For example, Weedsy Infused mini pre-rolls average around 40% - 55% THC and we actively work to source and manufacture the highest potency possible to give our customers the most bang for their buck. The end result are loyal repeating customers that truly believe in the products we look to bring to market.
Should this overhaul take place, there is a risk that a few of the ultra-trustworthy brands known for consistently potent products will not be as consistent as customer demand requires. In turn, this may drive down the overall market share of the legal industry more than it already does when compared to less-regulated or grey market products.
At the end of the day, product safety is paramount to the success in the industry. We hope that the new testing standardization does more to help brands like Weedsy and California labs to better service the men and women who have been supporting us since day one. If we can continue our operations with a little less headache, we're game.