What Marijuana Businesses Need to Know About Recalls

Two recent cannabis product recalls have some marijuana businesses concerned about such scenarios becoming amarijuana business widespread issue, particularly with more stringent testing regulations recently becoming mandatory. According to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, though, several testing labs have said there is little to be concerned about, especially as these regulations continue to balance out and become more integrated.

The testing labs noted first of all that the two instances of recalls, both in late July, were self-imposed by the companies who manufacture the product. Thousands of marijuana products have passed lab tests and have moved along to retailer shelves. The data from these tests is double checked by the Bureau of Cannabis Control to help ensure product that should have failed the tests does not make it into stores. For the most part, companies have been able to keep up with the new regulations, and the recalls were reportedly a precautionary move by those particular businesses. As understanding of all regulations continues to grow stronger, incidents of product testing failures will continue to decline.As our Riverside marijuana business lawyers can explain, new regulations came into play July 1 of this year which enforced more strict rules about childproof packaging, labeling of THC and CBD levels, and testing for pesticides. For the first half of the year, businesses were operating under a grace period allowed by Proposition 64 in which products simply had to disclose that they had not been tested or that levels were unknown. As it stands, the system requires distributors to have approval from labs before moving product from supplies to the retailers. Which means a recall would only likely occur if there was reason to believe the test results were not accurate. Recalls could, however, also be necessary if a distributor tried to skip this very important step. 

All of this is not to say that products are not getting caught up in the testing system before they hits shelves. Bureau of Cannabis Control said 20 percent of products tested as of Aug. 6 failed. While testing labs have the precise equipment to gauge levels of THC and CDB in products, such as edibles, it is up to manufacturers to have percentages on the labels when they are sent to testing. If testers discover the percentage on the label is off by more than 10 percent or the percent on the label, the product is sent back and must be relabeled, adding a lot of extra time, resources, and expense to the production overhead. For example if a product says it is 20 percent CBD, there is a 2 percent margin of error allowed, because 2 is 10 percent of 20. Manufacturers are finding this math to be particularly nightmarish when it comes to labeling product with very low percentages. If a product is labeled as having .1 percent CBD, 10 percent of .1 allows for practically no margin of error at all. Essentially manufacturers must budget for double labeling, which is neither practical nor efficient.

There also are some issues among the testing labs themselves. Without an agreed upon set of standards by which all labs test, each lab could be testing product in different ways, potentially getting different results. Testing equipment manufacturers can offer guidance and their own set of best practices, but that does not help unify all labs under one methodology. Despite these frustrations, testing is a vital part of the marijuana production process. Our skilled attorneys can help prepare your business for what you need to know about remaining in compliance, monitoring your products, and developing relationships with labs you can trust so you can work to avoid product recalls of your own.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients, defendants, workers and those facing criminal marijuana charges. Call us at 949-375-4734.

Additional Resources:

California Cannabis Testing Highlights the Importance of Quality Control and Safe Processes, Aug. 14, 2018, CFN Media

More Blog Entries:

Medical Marijuana Recalled over Pesticide Use, May 4, 2016, Cannabis Law Group

Contact Information