By: Cecil King
Can Missouri Cannabis Pass the Test?
In Missouri and other US states where cannabis prohibition laws still exist, vibrant illegal black markets proliferate allowing consumers to pay top prices for product that may have been grown under questionable quality standards.
Cannabis growers in countries that target the U.S. with illegal imports are more concerned with rapid crop harvests, quick plant curing and achieving the most weight possible out of their plants.
These growers dump fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides on plants throughout the growing cycle and into their critical flowering stage. Trace concentrations of these chemicals can be found in the flowering buds of the final product.
Cannabis users in non-regulated states such as Missouri may not know if the black market product they’ve purchased contains man-made or artificial occurring adulterants. As long as state prohibition laws against cannabis remain in place, Missouri legislators put consumers at risk.
Critical to a state’s successful management of their legal cannabis market is a regulatory framework requiring a strong quality control mandate to ensure approved laboratories test all cannabis products designated for consumer use.
One of the pioneers of medical cannabis, Steve DeAngelo realized early in 2006 that he wanted to create a new model of professionalism and integrity for his Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California. “I wanted to ensure that our medical marijuana patients could trust our products,” says DeAngelo.
California had no requirement to test medical cannabis, yet DeAngelo voluntarily decided that all Harborside cannabis products would be laboratory analyzed for safety and quality assurance before offering them for sale.
In 2007, this led DeAngelo to found Steep Hill Lab, now one of California’s premier medical cannabis testing labs.
The state of Nevada opened its first medical dispensary on June 30, 2015 in the city of Sparks, however it may be more important to note that the first cannabis testing lab opened there a few days prior on May 27.
DigiPath Labs was the first, but a few additional testing labs have subsequently opened. All of these businesses will benefit from an increasing demand as newly licensed dispensaries seek the services of competent cannabis testing labs as they develop and bring products to market.
“Our analysis not only helps product producers and dispensaries screen out products with dangerous levels of contaminants, we also quantify the medical compounds present in samples,” stated Todd Denkin, CEO of DigiPath. Patients and caregivers can then “choose products that have been shown to relieve their symptoms” and they’ll have the scientific data to aid in their medical decisions.
Cannabis testing labs are a major part of the future for retail cannabis sales and require a highly skilled workforce of chemists, scientists and lab technicians.
Continued prohibition of cannabis in Missouri ensures that these high-paying tech jobs will never develop in the Show-Me state. Meanwhile, consumers in legal cannabis states benefit from knowing the critical metrics in their cannabis medicine, such as the percentages of beneficial cannabinoids and the potency of a cannabis product, when making their purchasing decisions.