Michigan regulators marijuana product failed testing

Saturday, Mar 12

Marijuana regulators consider notifying consumers if their product failed testing

Steep Hill Labs prepares to process marijuana samples for Michigan’s regulatory standards

Marijuana flower is set under a low-power optical microscope for inspection at Steep Hill Labs in Scio Township on Monday, Feb. 14, 2022.The Ann Arbor News


Michigan is considering providing marijuana customers more information like whether it’s been remediated, a strong indicator it also previously failed safety testing.

Currently, customers have no way to tell.

“If cannabis or cannabis products fail the (Marijuana Regulatory Agency’s) regulatory compliance testing, businesses must either complete the process of remediation or destroy the product,” the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) said in a recent public meeting notice. “Remediation is the process in which a business corrects something undesirable or deficient in their product.”

Remediation transparency is expected to be a main discussion topic during a March 10 Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) meeting that will also be available for public viewing online or listening via teleconference. The meeting is not regarding disclosure of previously failed tests.

With marijuana flower that fails for microbial testing — the most frequent reason — producers often use radiation or ozone machines to kill microbes, including mold, yeast and pathogens. Some argue the techniques also reduce desirable aspects of the plant matter responsible for taste, smell, flavor and effect.

Or, growers may just wait a period of time and retest. As marijuana flower dries, often microbes die naturally.

Another remediation technique for flower is to convert its form. THC oil can be extracted from flower for use in vaping cartridges and other products. Once the marijuana is processed into an extract and the plant material removed, it’s more likely to pass testing.

Some businesses, in an effort to ensure their marijuana passes testing the first time, preemptively remediate it. Most, however, do so in response to failed testing.

Marijuana safety information currently required on labels includes: the safety lab that last tested it, the date it passed testing and potency of CBD and THC. If a product previously failed safety testing, or was remediated, it will not be evident to customers.

For instance, a marijuana flower sample could fail safety testing for the presence of banned pathogens, such as E. coli, aspergillus or salmonella; or for greater than allowed levels of heavy metals, pesticides, yeast and mold, foreign matter or water activity. The producer could then remediate and retest the product as many times as necessary. If and when it passes, labeling isn’t required to contain information about the failed tests or notify the customer that product was remediated.

The public meeting on the issue is at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, March 10, at the MRA offices, 2407 N. Grand River in Lansing. It may be viewed virtually by clicking this link and entering passcode: 895050; or listened to by calling 888-363-4734, conference code: 3392693.

The MRA is requesting public input regarding the following questions:

  • Should businesses be required to notify consumers if products have been remediated?
  • By what method should consumers be notified?
  • Which products should be included in the remediation notification process?
  • What processes of remediation should require consumer notification, if any?
  • Should products that have not failed a safety compliance test but have been exposed to a remediation method require identification?

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