Arizona establishes new cannabis testing procedures

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As the industry matures, states are taking a closer look at how cannabis is inspected

A discussion has been held for a while about getting standard numbers of amounts of pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents and microbial growth in the cannabis plant, and even some claim there is not enough science to determine that amount. Now a council appointed by Arizona recently determined that traces of these components are safe in medical marijuana. As of November 2020, Arizona law will require testing as per the Arizona Department of Health Services (DHS).

The DHS has been working along with a council to present some recommendations that were delivered on December 23 to be prepared for the new legislation next November that will mandate testing. The final official report won’t be released for another few days, but since DHS has moderated the meetings for the council, there is a draft version that was distributed yesterday including most of the recommendations made. Starting with this document, this council group argues that products for sale should not contain more than 100 units of E. coli that can form colonies, no salmonella at all, and just little trace amounts of other microbial growth so they can be put in the dispensaries for sale.

Another test in discussion in this document is the heavy metals testing. As the council suggests, testing should be done for arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury and only the products with very small amounts can be put up for sale. Added to this, there is a list of 18 different residual solvents and toxic substances including ethanol and chloroform and the state should test it for patient safety. Besides that, the report suggests testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) content put labels that coincide in by 20% or less with the label.