Regulatory Overreach: Are California’s Lab Rules Too Strict?

By Aaron G. Biros
4 Comments

Some think the proposed set of draft rules, if they become enforced, would create unnecessary burden on the market, raising prices and limiting availability.

With California moving into a more regulated market, some are concerned the state may be overregulating the market with strict, unnecessary rules. The Bureau of Marijuana Control, California’s agency in charge of regulatory oversight for the cannabis industry, released a set of proposed draft regulations for lab testing recently.

Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D, Chief Executive Officer of The Werc Shop

Those rules cover everything from sampling standard operating procedures to detection limits for pesticide analytes, which some say are absurdly strict as is. According to Jeffrey Raber, Ph.D, chief executive officer of The Werc Shop, a cannabis consulting firm located in Monrovia, CA, these rules will immediately raise prices. “The regulations are quite extensive and will undoubtedly drive the costs of patient medicine upward,” says Raber. “Regulations are not intended to be so detailed in these fashions, but are supposed to provide the floor and specific framework upon which operators can build best practices and differentiate themselves from others in a competitive market that drives prices downward.”

“Comparable guidance from other states operating today, and even federal regulations, are not nearly as specific in certain aspects,” says Raber. “While there are some very good parts to the current draft, and the bureau has certainly aimed to provide strong consumer protections, as they should, the idea of benzene even being mentioned or possibly permitted, or a completely cold transportation chain being required, and pesticide levels so low it pushes the limits of the most sophisticated and modern analytical equipment while going far past sensible EPA limits, strongly suggests there is work to be done to dial back the current position and make for far more workable and fully balanced regulations before they are fully finalized.”

Dave Egerton, vice president of technical operations at CW Analytical

It is important to note that nothing is set in stone yet. The bureau will hold four public hearings throughout the month of June for the lab testing rules. In addition to that, concerned stakeholders can send written comments through June 20th.

Dave Egerton, vice president of technical operations at CW Analytical, a cannabis-testing lab based in Oakland, is pleased they are finally regulating the market, but definitely plans on providing some feedback to change the rules a bit. “CW Analytical applauds the state’s efforts to regulate laboratories and the cannabis industry in general,” says Egerton. “…Many aspects of the proposed regulations for labs will make for a marked shift in the way our businesses operate, but the motivation behind them is well-intended.” His sentiment is consistent with many who operate cannabis laboratories and other stakeholders who see these proposed rules as overreach.

“Unfortunately, some of the regulations as written will create undo burden upon the industry and carry a strong probability of limiting supply to medical patients,” says Egerton. “During the current review period, CA laboratories will be providing feedback on some of the details within the law in order to streamline their quality assurance goals into a more tenable document that still protects patients.” That public comment period is a crucial part of the rulemaking process, as the rules will most likely change after cannabis laboratories’ voices are heard.

About The Author

Aaron_headshot

Comments

  1. Throwaway

    I think what is proposed is reasonable for public safety and established a minimum baseline of competence in laboratory testing.

  2. Frank Strong

    Overreach? The existing labs have a strong financial motivation to guide the regulations towards their current capabilities.

  3. Clee Langley, PsyD

    I enjoyed reading your article. Your writing style leads me to believe your are both an intelligent and interesting human being.

  4. Lori Glauser

    EVIO Labs concurs with the sentiment of CW and Wercshop.

    The proposed rules as written would put an undue financial burden on the industry that could ultimately drive sellers back to the unregulated market.

    Safeguarding patients and recreational consumers is our number 1 priority. We encourage all CA labs to participate in the public comment sessions to make recommendations to the state with the intent of finding right balance between public safety and ensuring a functioning legal market.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *