Cannabis Industry Leaders Speak With CLR on Current Delta 8 Issues In The Industry

Cannabis Industry Leaders Speak With CLR on Current Delta 8 Issues In The Industry

Dr. Stuart Titus, Ph.D., is an industry innovator who has been involved in the growth of many companies in the cannabis industry, and started his relationship with Medical Marijuana Inc. by becoming its seventh investor. Titus’ is also a Wall Street veteran, where he was a bond trader for 11 years. Dr. Titus earned his undergraduate degree at Rollins College, and his Ph.D. from the Open International University.


“We were the first to create a U.S. pipeline of hemp-based CBD products to Brazil, Mexico and other countries, and we’ve had tremendous demand for our products. As we expand this pipeline in the coming years, we really believe we’ll see economic improvement not just in the United States, but all over the world.”

Dr. Titus has been involved in the development and investment of several industry-leading cannabis and industrial hemp businesses during his most recent career. Dr. Titus developed several prominent cannabis companies, including HempMeds, KannaLife Sciences Inc, and Kannaway, LLC.

Titus’ diverse background in both finance and healthcare is the impetus behind his strong passion to help others by supporting the greater cannabis industry. A graduate of Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, Titus majored in economics and minored in business administration. He got his start on Wall Street where he worked as a bond trader for eleven years, managing a trading and underwriting department as a V.P. for CS First Boston Corp. Titus then went on to earn his PhD from Open International University, an educational organization affiliated with the World Health Organization.

Dr. Titus holds a Fellowship with the American Academy of Pain Management and clinical association with the American Association of Integrative Medicine. He practiced as a British Physiotherapist for over fifteen years, running clinics that specialized in integrative pain management and injury rehabilitation, treating over 40,000 patients. His first-hand experience with therapeutic hemp oil products as nutritional supplements led him to Medical Marijuana Inc. and drives him to continue to support the emerging cannabis medical marijuana and industrial hemp industries in the United States and abroad.



Colorado’s MED has just banned the sale of Delta 8 in rec retail. Do you think after the new rules in OR, WA & now  CO that we will see Delta 8 regulated in every state? 

Yes, I believe that Delta 8 will be regulated at both the federal level as well as at the state level.

What are your views of the regulation of Delta 8? 

We support the Hemp Roundtable’s statements on psychoactive hemp and that it should be regulated separately from hemp, CBD, CBG and other non-psychoactive or non-intoxicating cannabinoids. Although, more like beer and wine as compared to hard liquor in the alcohol industry, we realize the immense popularity of Delta-8. We believe it should not be scheduled as a drug or narcotic, but that there should be some form of regulation to keep it from being abused.

Should we just see it as something not too dissimilar from Delta 9 and leave it be or is the fact that it needs processing to manufacture mean that it should be regulated as another compound?  

There is the federal analog rule which may have application/implication for the scheduling of Delta-8. This has not yet been enforced or brought to a court of law  and again I will make the analogy to beer and wine in the alcohol industry (equivalent to Delta-8) vs hard liquor (more equivalent to Delta-9).

We believe there is a benefit to Delta-8 but there should be labeling or warnings on packages so that consumers are informed of potential minor intoxication effects. We support Delta-8 but feel that it is not the same as CBD or CBG in that these cannabinoids should be treated as dietary supplements (if new Senate legislation passes). Delta-8 would not be a dietary supplement, but it should be available for sale in grocery stores, convenience stores and smoke shops.

Do you think these new regulations will be challenged in the courts? 

Yes, I believe there will be court cases on Delta-8 unless Congress decides to regulate ahead of any potential litigation. So far, there have been no problems (no reported adverse effects) with the sale of Delta-8, although this is quite “new” within the past few months.

Are there states that you think they’ll let Delta 8 run and be sold along with other recreational products?  

I would believe that the cannabis industry, separate from the Hemp and CBD industries, would want Delta-8 to be sold alongside its more traditional Delta-9 products. It is quite popular and will bring more consumers, especially if a state were to regulate it so that Delta-8 would ONLY be available in dispensaries. If the Federal Analogue Rule were to be more strictly enforced, then this may be the only pathway to legally sell Delta-8.

In an ideal scenario for the industry, Delta-8 would be regulated in a similar manner to beer and wine and then sold at grocery or convenience stores, as the effects and abuse potential is similar.  With Delta 9, there are greater adverse effect risks and these should be explained at dispensaries that will carry and sell such products.

As and when Federal regulation comes along, would you expect to see Delta 8 provisions written into a cannabis omnibus bill?  

Delta-8 could be part of this future cannabis omnibus bill or it may be left out and regulated separately. This depends on how far they would want to go, as hemp is a form of cannabis too.  Already, we regulate hemp separately from marijuana forms of cannabis. I have also seen a Delta-10 product and this would definitely be part of the overall Cannabis Omnibus Bill of the future as the potency of Delta-10 increases beyond that of Delta-9. If Delta-8 continues with its popularity, then it may require a separate regulation, such as “cannabis light” – again the beer and wine analogy vs hard liquor in the alcohol industry.

Delta 8 appears to be the new bogeyman of cannabis or should we say those who aren’t that keen on cannabis. What is your view of the compound, something to celebrate or not?  

Delta 8 is something to be celebrated as it takes marijuana forms of cannabis into everyday usage.  Many people chose to relax after work with a beer or glass of wine and D8 provides this slight relaxation effect within the fringes of the intoxicating cannabis arena (Delta 9).
With Delta 8, one is not going to have an anxious or paranoia episode as can be common for newcomers to marijuana forms of cannabis – especially with high concentration of THC that is readily available today. D8 may well assist with relaxation and sleep.
The enormous popularity in such a short period of time reflects changing consumer preferences and D8 provides the perfect solution to lower regulations for innovative forms of cannabis.  Here, we could easily support the federal regulation of Delta 8 just as beer and alcohol are more lightly regulated vs hard liquor in the alcohol industry. My view – this is definitely an innovation in cannabis to celebrate!

Delta-8 appears to us at Cannabis Law Report, the canary in the coal mine for new cannabis compounds. Is it important to think very carefully how 8 is regulated and managed as a template for the many other compounds yet to come?  

We used to have “medicinal alcohol” in our country, and this was only available via a doctor’s prescription during the Prohibition Era. Long-term use of alcohol is quite harmful and severe liver/brain toxicity can lead to severe health impairment. Cannabis has been stigmatized but long-term use is far less toxic to the body than alcohol. So, if we are going to regulate alcohol but allow for its sale, we certainly should allow a cannabis form of relaxation that shows far less long-term harm. With Delta 8, we have a great opportunity to finally do cannabis justice and have Delta-8 sold in a similar manner to beer and wine.

Do you think there would be such a fuss about 8 if it didn’t get people “high”?  

The slight “high” seems to be part of the appeal  but the relaxation and sleep benefits also carry broad appeal as well. But the “fuss” is largely about the huge consumer demand and the slightly intoxicating effect for sure. The States would be eager to tax its sale, but hopefully smart enough to allow for free-market activities.

How do you think the sector should start educating legislators and law enforcement about the many different compounds that are yet to be manufactured from the plant and how do we try to stay away from a new “reefer madness” over time a new compound is discovered?  

The cannabis train has long since left the station and regulators are now just trying to catch up by advancing their knowledge of cannabis and cannabinoids. In 1996, California legalized medical cannabis yet today, with 37 US States allowing for medical cannabis sales, we still do not have an overall comprehensive cannabis/cannabinoid education program. Consumers, regulators, and legislators remain in the dark on cannabis. In my testimony before the FDA, I mentioned that with the use of CBD, people anecdotally feel less stress, less nervous and better able to cope with the pressures of society today.  They also sleep better and aren’t as bothered by “Musculo-Skeletal Discomfort”.

Over time, the science and research on CBD now supports its usage as many studies are showing benefits for health as well as for quality of life. I went as far as to mention that non-psychoactive cannabinoids provide essential and vital nutrients that support our highest levels of health and wellness.

Bottom line,  there definitely needs to be more formal cannabis-based education so that we can all get up to speed with the incredible demand for cannabis products by the consuming public. The legal cannabis industry is expected to exceed $40 billion in 2021 and CBD sales should reach $5 billion. With the size of markets and tax revenue streams assured into the future, one would think that states or the federal government would provide funding or grants for those groups to educate the general public, legislators, regulators and even the medical community.  Overall, knowledge and education of cannabis are sorely lacking.

We also asked David Marelius of  Infinite Chemical Analysis labs the same questions

David Marelius, PhD. CSO

Born and raised in San Diego, Dave attended San Diego State University in 2009 where he received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Dave then went on to earn his Phd from the joint doctoral program between SDSU and the University of California, San Diego, where, for his graduate work, he utilized organic and organometallic synthesis to make catalysts for water splitting, the conversion of water into oxygen and hydrogen for energy storage. As a graduate student, he received the IPMI Richard Rubin Memorial Scholarship in 2014 for his research in precious metals. He decided to apply his knowledge and experience to the cannabis industry, and has assisted in developing industry- leading methods of analyses for cannabis and hemp testing since co-founding the lab in 2016.

CO’s MED has just banned the sale of Delta 8 in rec retail. Do you think after the new rules in OR, WA & now  CO that we will see Delta 8 regulated in every state ?

It’s no surprise to InfiniteCAL that Delta 8-THC is becoming more regulated every day, and we believe that it should be regulated nationwide. The products available on the market have been produced by synthetically converting cannabidiol (CBD) with potentially harmful catalysts to Delta 8-THC.

This procedure is a complex process that will also create other byproducts like Delta 9-THC and other compounds that have yet to be identified. If Delta 8-THC products are available for purchase, they need to be tested by a cannabis lab to ensure the products are safe and inform consumers what they are putting in their bodies.

What are your views of the regulation of Delta 8 .. Should we just see it as something not to dissimilar from Delta 9 and leave it be or is the fact that is needs processing to manufacture mean that it should be regulated as another compound

Delta 8-THC is a psychoactive cannabinoid, just like Delta 9-THC, and legislators should regulate it as such. It seems completely backwards that an unregulated product that gets people “high” and is synthesized in a lab can be sold at gas stations and smoke shops but naturally derived Delta 9-THC must go through rigorous safety testing and can only be sold and handled by licensed companies.

InfiniteCAL has seen cannabis products fail for high lead levels, the presence of mold, and carcinogenic pesticides. Regulators in legalized states have established guidelines to weed out these harmful products, so why isn’t the same being done for CBD and Delta 8-THC?

Do you think these new regs will be challenged in the courts?

Based on the amount of claims companies make about Delta 8-THC being federally legal, it’s only a matter of time until someone tries to challenge the new regulations in court.

However, Delta 8-THC is explicitly listed on the DEA 7370 Controlled Substance list, so it’s hard to imagine the cases ending in any other way than saying Delta 8-THC should be regulated like cannabis. 

Are there states that you think they’ll let Delta 8 run and be sold alongside other rec products?

To InfiniteCAL, selling Delta 8-THC products in licensed dispensaries makes the most sense. Based on the way it’s produced, Delta 8-THC should be batch tested to ensure consumer safety. We already see products with Delta 8-THC submitted at the state compliance level in California.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regulations stipulate that any cannabinoids that make up 5 percent or more of a product must be labeled. The only cannabinoid that has a limit for how much is allowed is Delta 9-THC. Every cannabinoid has its potential benefits, so as long as it is tracked through the METRC seed-to-sale software and passes state-mandated testing, producers should be able to sell these unique products at the retail level.

As and when Federal regulation comes along, would you expect to see Delta 8 provisions written into a cannabisomnibus bill?

InfiniteCAL believes that cannabis will be federally legalized in the near future. When the time comes, these regulations must address naturally derived cannabinoids compared to synthetically derived cannabinoids. Delta 8-THC isn’t the only cannabinoid that one can create in a lab.

Regulations must be drafted in a way to prioritize public safety. More research is needed before these products become widely available at the retail level.

Delta 8 appears to be the new boogeyman of cannabis or should we say those who aren’t that keen on cannabis. What is your view of the compound, something to celebrate or not?

The alarming part about Delta 8-THC is that someone is creating it in a lab instead of it naturally occurring in the plant. One thing you hear from lobbyists and activists pushing for legalization is that cannabis is great because it’s this all-natural plant that can be used as an alternative for prescription drugs.

One of the many processes of making Delta 8-THC includes converting pure CBD isolate with a catalyst such as hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid, to name a few, which, if not appropriately neutralized, can be very harmful to consumers. With no research or clinical trials conducted on the effects of consuming these compounds, there is an elevated amount of risk selling Delta 8-THC products. Safety needs to be the number one priority when evaluating whether or not these products should be available for purchase.

Delta 8, appears to us at Cannabis Law Report, the canary in the coal mine for new cannabis compounds. Is it important to think very carefully how 8 is regulated and managed as a template for the many other compounds yet to come?

Absolutely, with over 150 cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, there is no doubt that various cannabinoids will ride the Delta 8 popularity train. It’s vital to create regulation in anticipation of unique products instead of catching up after it’s available to the public. Regulators should use the current Delta 8 market as a learning opportunity to address synthetic versus naturally derived compounds, psychoactive versus non-psychoactive cannabinoids, and the necessity of ensuring consumer safety as the industry continues to develop new products.

Do you think there would be such a fuss about 8 if it didn’t get people “high”? 

Yes, Delta 8-THC would cause just as much of a fuss if it didn’t get people “high.” The issue is that it’s synthetically produced and not naturally occurring. Some chemicals potentially used to synthesize Delta 8 can be extremely harmful to consumers, especially when considering these compounds are being combusted and inhaled.

These chemicals include reagents like acids or catalysts, and consuming these compounds can cause serious illness. During the 2019-2020 vaping lung illness outbreak, there were 60 deaths reported due to Vitamin E acetate and other adulterants being added to vape cartridges. It should be the goal of everyone in the industry to take every step possible to prevent another vape crisis.

Research on whether or not new products are safe for consumption needs to be conducted prior to their availability on the market.

How do you think the sector should start educating legislators and law enforcement about the many different compounds that are yet to be manufactured from the plant and how do we try to stay away from a new “reefer madness” every time a new compound is discovered?

Based on the way cannabis has been treated in the United States, activists and researchers must take it upon themselves to educate legislators and law enforcement when new cannabinoids come to market.

InfiniteCAL is on the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) advisory board composed of other experts from across the industry. This advisory board recently announced that it adopted National Standards on Indoor Cultivation for cultivators across the country to learn about and implement the best practices for indoor cultivation. Legislators and law enforcement should work closely with the experts at NACB to understand the proposed standards and build them into future regulation.

We’d like to thank both Stuart & David for taking the time to answer our questions and look forward to approaching them again as new cannabis compounds  hit the market.

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More states roll out bans on production, sale of delta-8 products

More states roll out bans on production, sale of delta-8 products

Delta-8 THC has become a runaway market hit – and more states across the country are responding by cracking down on access to the product commonly derived from hemp extracts.

From Alabama to Oregon, states are reacting to the popular products by:

  • Rolling out total bans to limit market access.
  • Considering measures to ban the products.
  • Setting potency limits on products containing delta-8 THC.

According to Marielle Weintraub, president of the U.S. Hemp Authority, a third-party product certification body, states will continue to ban delta-8 THC and other products like it because the cannabinoid is an intoxicant deemed a controlled substance under federal law.

“Do not produce or sell delta-8 products without a permit to produce or sell THC as a controlled substance,” Weintraub said.

“The correct path for the legal production and sale of delta-8 products is through a state-licensed adult recreational or medical marijuana operator.

“Hemp companies not doing this are risking their brand and business future, sanctions from FDA, FTC, USDA and EPA and possible enforcement actions from DEA and state law enforcement and regulators,” Weintraub added, referencing such governmental agencies as the U.S Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency and Drug Enforcement Administration.

She added that hemp operators manufacturing delta-8 THC will be barred from certifying products through the U.S. Hemp Authority.

Confusion reigns

The legal status of delta-8 THC – along with delta-10 THC, the newest minor cannabinoid creating excitement in the CBD market – has been confusing because of conflicting regulations.

Proponents of products such as delta-8 and delta-10 THC argue that the 2018 Farm Bill states all hemp-derived cannabinoids fall within the definition of hemp, which is a legal crop and no longer a controlled substance.

However, the DEA issued an interim final rule in late 2020 declaring: “All synthetically derived (THC) remain Schedule I controlled substances.”

Because delta-8 THC is manufactured from hemp-derived CBD, not extracted directly from the hemp plant, it is a controlled substance under law, according to the DEA.

“From a chemist’s perspective, it is clear that the isomerization of CBD to delta-8 THC with a catalyst is a chemical process,” said Erik Paulson, lab manager at Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs, a cannabis testing laboratory with locations in California and Michigan. “Any product of a chemical reaction like this one is, by definition, a synthetic chemical.”

At least five states have considered or are currently updating their laws to specifically govern delta-8 THC, joining at least 11 that already have laws on the books addressing the minor cannabinoid, which can produce psychoactive effects in some people, although they are considered to be less potent than the delta 9-THC common in marijuana.

The states that currently ban delta-8 THC entirely include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Rhode Island and Utah.

However, because delta-8 and delta-10 THC remain listed on the DEA’s Controlled Substances List as Schedule 1 controlled substances, along with delta-9 THC, they remain illegal in all 50 states, Paulson said.

“Some have interpreted the 2018 Farm Bill as the legalization of these other cannabinoids because delta-9 is the only cannabinoid explicitly listed,” Paulson said.

Here is a breakdown of state delta-8 measures:


Hemp industry members in Alabama praised state lawmakers when they rejected proposed amendments in late April that would have banned delta-8 and delta-10 THC products as controlled substances.

In a bill that would ban antidepressant tianeptine in the state, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee allowed an amendment to be tacked on that would have also banned delta-8 and delta-10 THC.

After members of the Alabama hemp industry complained, that amendment was removed by the bill’s author, according to Alabama Political Reporter.

However, a similar amendment was proposed as an addition to the state’s medical marijuana bill, which would have designated all THC as a controlled substance within the state.

That amendment, recommended by state Attorney General Steve Marshall, was tabled by the House Health committee.


The Illinois House of Representatives passed a measure in mid-April that would regulate delta-8 THC and other products.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Bob Morgan, said the products represent a “public health crisis.”

”Thousands of people in Illinois are buying products labeled as CBD, delta-8 or other hemp derivatives without any way of being sure what these products contain. Some may not contain any CBD or hemp at all,” Morgan said.

Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2019.


A top hemp-producing state, Kentucky made news last month, when the state’s agriculture department clarified that delta-8 THC is a controlled substance.

In a letter to Kentucky hemp license holders, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles responded to inquiries to the state agriculture department by saying, “Distributing products containing (delta-8) is illegal, and distributing such products could lead to your expulsion from the Hemp Licensing Program as well as potential exposure to criminal prosecution.”

Quarles cited federal law, saying, “Because Delta-8 THC is a Schedule I controlled substance under federal law, it remains a Schedule I controlled substance under state law,” adding that Kentucky has not enacted any law to create an exemption to the state’s controlled substances act.

North Dakota

A surge in demand for delta-8 THC prompted the North Dakota Attorney General’s office to propose changes to the state’s hemp regulations in late April.

One section of the state’s bill would immediately ban delta-8 THC, according to Fargo TV station KVRR.

Hemp operators are asking legislators to consider regulations that won’t ban delta-8 for patients using it for health benefits.


Though Oregon legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, the state does not have the same regulations in place for delta-8 THC, which has raised concerns both in the hemp industry and among state regulators who want to see more research done on the effects of the minor cannabinoid.

A measure introduced in the state House would regulate delta-8 THC and allow the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the regulatory body that oversees cannabis, to set potency limits on artificially derived cannabinoids and clarify testing requirements for consumable products containing hemp-derived cannabinoids.

The bill, which has gained bipartisan support, would establish a task force exploring how new cannabis products including delta-8 THC fit into Oregon’s legal cannabis market, reported Portland TV station KOIN.

Hemp Industries Association President Rick Trojan argued in written comments that the bill would “destroy Oregon’s hemp industry overnight.”

Trojan said subjecting federally legal hemp products to the same “burdensome regulations” as federally illegal marijuana “doesn’t make sense.”


State regulators in Vermont also recently reminded residents about the legal status of delta-8 THC.

In an April 23 email to registered hemp growers, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Farms and Markets said delta-8 THC products are not legal under its published state rules, which state that processors are prohibited from using “synthetic cannabinoids in the production of any hemp product or hemp-infused product.”

Making delta-8 THC products in Vermont would violate state law, the agency clarified.

Washington state

Lab-created products made from hemp are temporarily banned in the state, according to a policy statement issued last week by the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board (WLCB), the regulatory body that oversees cannabis products.

But the board’s position is “advisory” and requires more discussion about whether federal drug law applies to compounds such as delta-8 THC and delta-10 THC, which are derived from hemp.

The WLCB said April 29 that it would work with companies producing and selling cannabis products through a formal rulemaking process that will begin this month.

According to a statement from the board, the ban was driven in part by safety concerns and a lack of mandatory testing standards and potency or concentration limits.

The state’s licensed marijuana growers requested the prohibition of delta-8 THC products, saying they were being forced out of the market by cheaper, illegal products, reported The (Spokane) Spokesman-Review.

But not everyone in Washington’s marijuana industry is against delta-8 THC.

In a February letter to the WLCB, the Washington Cannabusiness Association requested that its policy not rule out delta-8 THC completely.

“The focus should be on incorporating all things cannabis into the regulated system in a safe manner; this includes delta-8 THC,” wrote Vicki Christophersen, the association’s executive director.


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National Association of Cannabis Businesses Adopts National Standards for Indoor Cannabis Cultivation

National Association of Cannabis Businesses Adopts National Standards for Indoor Cannabis Cultivation

Standards aim to help licensed cannabis producers leverage global export opportunities

New York, NY, May 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) announced today that it has adopted National Standards on Indoor Cultivation. The standards identify best practices for cultivating cannabis in an indoor facility, the preferred method for producing cannabis for growers to have comprehensive control over the cultivation environment and product quality.

“Our aim with the Indoor Cultivation National Standards is to help licensed growers adopt best practices for efficient and sanitary indoor cultivation that will ensure a healthy and safe consumer experience,” said Gina Kranwinkel, President and CEO of NACB.

The Indoor Cultivation Standards outline best practices for indoor cannabis production from cultivation to business operations. Topics covered include licensing requirements, company standard operating procedures (SOPs), genetics, insect and disease control, inventory management, product storage and more. Read the entire NACB National Standards on Indoor Cultivation.

The Indoor Cultivation Standards are the latest in a series of national standards NACB is developing to ensure players in the legal cannabis market are operating safely, ethically, and responsibly. NACB uses a deliberative, inclusive process that solicits input from subject matter experts, government agencies and NACB members. Ryan Douglas of Ryan Douglas Cultivation was instrumental in drafting the Indoor Cultivation Standards. Ryan was Master Grower for one of Canada’s largest licensed producers of medical cannabis, and prior to that, spent 15 years as a commercial greenhouse grower of ornamental and edible crops in the U.S. He is the author of From Seed to Success, a guidebook for entrepreneurs interested in launching a successful cannabis cultivation business. Dr. Allison Justice provided expertise in defining the focus of the Indoor Cultivation Standards. Dr. Justice is founder and CEO of The Hemp Mine, an established grower and producer of premium hemp products located in South Carolina. She served on the California Industrial Hemp Advisory Board and advises on policy and regulation for the South Carolina Farm Bureau. Josh Swider, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Infinite Chemical Analysis Labs, provided expert review and commentary on the Indoor Cultivation Standards. InfiniteCAL provides the cannabis industry with high-quality, accurate and timely analytical services. Since 2016, its mission has been to ensure only safe, quality cannabis products reach dispensary shelves. Jacob Policzer, co-founder and Director of Science and Strategy at The Cannabis Conservancy™ and his team provided crucial input on inclusion of cannabis cultivation sustainability during their review of the Indoor Cultivation Standards. The Cannabis Conservancy provides sustainability certification to legal cannabis organizations that adhere to good agricultural practices, are free of harmful chemical inputs, utilize waste reduction methods, are energy efficient, and conserve water. Its mission is to empower and assure that the regulated cannabis industry achieves environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

Every NACB standard is reviewed by NACB members and adopted through member vote. Previously adopted standards provide guidance on advertising, packaging and labeling, lab testing, cybersecurity and more. View the complete list of NACB’s National Standards and details.

“NACB national standards promote state-of-the-art business practices and help consumers more easily identify companies that offer quality products, marketed in a truthful, and socially responsible manner, said Kranwinkel. “The future success of the cannabis industry is determined by how responsibly cannabis companies do business today.”

About the National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB): The National Association of Cannabis Businesses (NACB) is one of the first self-regulatory organizations in the cannabis industry. NACB’s mission is to advance the industry by building consensus around best practices, promoting business responsibility and demonstrating to regulators what transparent and responsible regulations should look like. Compliance with NACB national standards is required for ongoing membership in the NACB.

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Lab Shopping: Highlighting the Need for Checks and Balances in Cannabis

Lab Shopping: Highlighting the Need for Checks and Balances in Cannabis

Josh Swider, Co-Founder of InfiniteCAL, shares his concerns regarding labs working more like profit centers than public safety agents.

Cannabis, we have a problem. Legalizing adult use cannabis in California caused the demand for high-potency cannabis to increase dramatically over the last several years. Today, many dispensary buyers enforce THC minimums for the products that they sell. If smokeable flower products don’t have COAs proving the THC levels are above 20% or more, there is a good chance many dispensaries won’t carry them on their shelves. Unfortunately, these kinds of demands only put undue pressure on the industry and mislead the consumer.

Lab Shopping: Where the Problems Lie

Lab shopping for potency analysis isn’t new, but it has become more prevalent with the increasing demand for high-potency flower over the last couple of years. Sadly, many producers submit valid, certified COAs to the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), which show two to three times the actual potency value.

At InfiniteCAL, we’ve purchased products from dispensary shelves and found significant discrepancies between the analysis we perform and the report submitted to the BCC by the producer. So, how can this happen? Several factors are creating the perfect storm in cannabis testing.

Problems with Potency

Many consumers still don’t understand that THC potency is not the only factor in determining quality cannabis, and they are unwittingly contributing to the demand for testing and analysis fraud. It is alarming for cultivation pioneers and ethical labs to see producers and profit-hungry testing facilities falsifying data to make it more appealing to the unaware consumer.

Basically, what’s happening is growers are contacting labs and asking, “I get 30% THC at this lab; what can you do?” When they see our COA reporting their flower tested lower than anticipated, they will go to another lab to get higher test results. Unfortunately, there are all too many labs that are willing to comply.

I recently saw a compliant COA that claimed that this particular flower was testing at 54% THC. Understanding cannabis genetics, we know this isn’t possible. Another product I reviewed claimed that after diluting an 88% THC distillate with 10-15% terpenes, the final potency test was 92% THC. You cannot cut a product and expect the potency to increase. Finally, a third product we reviewed claimed 98% total cannabinoids (while only looking at seven cannabinoids) with 10% terpenes for a total of 108% of the product.

These labs only make themselves look foolish to professionals, mislead laymen consumers and skirt under the radar of the BCC with basic mathematical errors.

The Pesticide Predicament

Frighteningly, inflating potency numbers isn’t the most nefarious testing fraud happening in the cannabis industry. If a manufacturer has 1000 liters of cannabis oil fail pesticide testing, they could lose millions of dollars – or have it retested by a less scrupulous lab.

Photo: Michelle Tribe, Flickr

As the industry continues to expand and new labs pop up left and right, cultivators and manufacturers have learned which labs are “easy graders” and which ones aren’t. Certain labs can miss up to ten times the action level of a pesticide and still report it as non-detectable. So, if the producer fails for a pesticide at one lab, they know four others won’t see it.

In fact, I’ve had labs send my clients promotional materials guaranteeing compliant lab results without ever receiving a sample for testing. So now, these companies aren’t just tricking the consumer; they are potentially harming them.

An Easy Fix

Cannabis testing is missing just one critical factor that could quickly fix these problems – checks and balances. The BCC only needs to do one of two things:

Verifying Lab Accuracy

InfiniteCAL also operates in Michigan, where the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) has already implemented a system to ensure labs are maintaining the highest testing standards. The MRA will automatically flag all COAs which test above a certain percentage and require the product to be retested by multiple labs.

labsphotoLabs are required to keep a back stock of material. So, when test results come back abnormally high from Lab A, then Labs B, C and D are commissioned to retest the material to compare data. If Lab A reports 40% THC, but the other labs all report 18%, then it’s easy to see Lab A has made an error.

Secret Shopping

By simply buying products off the shelves and having them blind-tested by other labs, it would be simple for the BCC to determine if the existing COA is correct. They already have all the data in Metrc, so this would be a quick and easy fix that could potentially solve the problem overnight.

For example, at InfiniteCAL, we once purchased 30 samples of Blue Dream flower from different cultivators ranging in certified COA potencies from 16% to 38%. Genetically, we know the Blue Dream cultivar doesn’t produce high levels of THC. When we tested the samples we purchased, nearly every sample came back in the mid-teens to low 20% range.

Labs Aren’t Supposed to Be Profit Centers

At InfiniteCAL, we’ve contacted labs in California where we’ve uncovered discrepancies to help find and flush out the errors in testing. All too often, we hear the excuses:

  • “If I fix my problem, I’ll lose my clients.”
  • “I’m just a businessman who owns a lab; I don’t know chemistry.”
  • “My chemist messed up; it’s their fault!”

If you own a lab, you are responsible for quality control. We are not here to get rich; we are here to act as public safety agents who ensure these products are safe for the consumer and provide detailed information about what they choose to put in their bodies. Be professional, and remember you’re testing for the consumer, not the producer.


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Ethics or Profits?

Ethics or Profits?

California: Home to some of the best cannabis in the world. From the Emerald Triangle’s premium flower to solventless hash rosin, the industry has quickly evolved from backyard experiments to an artisanal craft. Before any products can hit the dispensary shelves, they must undergo state-mandated quality and safety testing. Producers have 36 labs to choose from to conduct the analysis, but not all labs are created equal. Some labs have prioritized quality analytics, while others have prioritized profits.

Clearly, there is an incentive for companies selling cannabis concentrate or flower to find the lab that will report the highest THC concentration – higher THC equals more profit. This has left the industry vulnerable to the practice of “lab shopping.” It’s not difficult to find a lab that’s willing to boost numbers to gain more business (or so I’ve been told).  I’ve lost count of the number of times people ask me to bump potency up with the promise of money or “earning the account.” One request we get from producers more than you would believe is to guarantee their flower always tests over 30 percent THC. I value ethics over profits. However, not every lab in the industry does. When I refuse to ensure over 30 percent THC, the grower has no problem calling the next lab on the list.

Lab shopping is not only unethical in that it misleads consumers – it also hinders the industry. I have clients who will test a concentrate sample and get 87 percent THC during R&D, then take it to another lab that will report a 95 percent THC at compliance. This leaves me with two choices: I can start inflating numbers to earn a company’s business or continue to provide precise, quality analytics and potentially miss out on millions of dollars in revenue.

It comes down to scientific as well as personal integrity and ethics. Lab operators should ask themselves why they are in this industry: is it public safety and science, or is it to make money at the public’s expense? As chemists, we don’t spend time and effort earning degrees to fudge potency results for someone to sell their product at top dollar. If consumers knew the rampant nature of THC inflation, they would have zero confidence in results posted by most labs. If people cannot have confidence in potency results, how can they have confidence in the accuracy of safety tests?

The current regulations set for testing pesticides are another massive contributor to lab shopping. The 66 analytes we are required to test for are split into two different categories: 45 belong to Category 2 and have an action limit for the maximum amount allowed before causing a sample to fail. If any amount of the other 21 pesticides (Category 1) are detected, it will result in a failed batch.

The only analytical requirement for Category 1 pesticides by the California Bureau of Cannabis Control is that the laboratory must quantify them above 100 parts per billion (PPB). This is when the quality of a lab (and its analytical scientists) really comes into play. If a lab has done its job and created a method that is as sensitive as possible for consumer safety, it will be the best lab for the public and the worst lab for its clients. For example, one lab might have a limit of detection of 30 PPB, but another has a limit of 75 PPB. A sample with a pesticide concentration at 50 PPB would fail at the first lab and pass at the second. This problem is not new – it has been discussed for years, yet it remains in the regulations. We’ve unknowingly participated in many blind spiked sample studies by clients, where a contaminated sample was sent to multiple labs. The results prove that other labs are missing category 1 and 2 pesticides over action levels or required LOQ.

Misreporting pesticides is harmful to consumers and creates an unequal playing field in the lab industry. Current Category 1 pesticide testing regulations allow cannabis companies to work with a lab with less stringent standards than competitors. Instead, regulators need to assign action limits to all pesticides. California regulators should conduct a blind study to reveal how well cannabis is currently being tested – and how much danger they are exposing residents to under the current system. Until then, consumers will continue to be at risk of buying products that advertise inflated potency values or, worse, fail to meet the safety standards for consumption.

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