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Cannabis Lab Testing, THC, CBD, Cannabinoids, Terpenes, Pesticides, Heavy Metals, Marijuana Industry


Full auto-generated transcript below. Beware of typos & mistranslations!

Nick Mosley 5:32

Sure, yeah. My name is Nick Mosley. I'm a co founder of confidence Analytics, which is one of the analytical testing labs licensed in Washington State. And we also have a license in California.


Nick Jikomes 5:50

So you do cannabis testing in Washington, California. So cannabis is legal in those states, because it's legal. Everything that gets sold has to go through testing. What can you walk us through the basics of if a product comes in for testing? What are the basic things they have to get tested for? And what does that look like?


Nick Mosley 6:10

Yeah, it varies a little bit state by state. But the general general premise is about the same. On a batch wise basis, products get manufactured or cultivated. And those batches, each individually need to be sampled and sent to a third party testing laboratory that is not affiliated with the manufacturer or distributor. So the samples get selected, the size of the sample will depend. It's all driven by regulatory agencies, but the size of the sample will depend on the product type that's being sampled. And so will the types of analyses that that need to be cleared.


Nick Jikomes 6:57

So, you know, the most the most common thing people buy in a dispensary is is weed, it's flour, it's it's, you know, the physical plant material that people are probably thinking of when they think of someone buying marijuana. So, you know, when when you get that stuff tested, so someone someone grows as a producer, they have to get it tested on a batch wise basis, they send it in, what are the things that get tested for that are typically required in most states. So I sort of think


Nick Mosley 7:25

of the testing metrics as two different groups. You've got the label claims as one group of test metrics, and then you have the safety screening as the other set of test metrics. So on the label side of things, the state is usually interested in THC and CBD. Usually that's codified in law that needs to be labeled on the package. Then additionally, there are other cannabinoids CBN is one that's fairly commonly discussed. But there are many cmeg There's a whole Varon class of thc v. And then increasingly, you know, the industry is discovering ways to concentrate and in some cases even create new cannabinoids Delta eight Delta 10 to UCL acetate. So to the extent that these cannabinoids are regulated or are listed on the label as a label claim, then they are tested by the laboratory. Additionally, the terpenes provide some of the experience whether that is just the flavor or if it also interacts with the cannabinoids to create the psychoactive effect. terpenes are another class of chemicals that the plant produces. And to the extent that they are listed on the label as a claim, then they may need to be tested by an independent laboratory. So those are the label claims. Now on the safety screening, the state is usually interested in pesticides, usually at the forefront. Heavy metals, cannabis plant can be fairly good at pulling metals up out of the soil. So that's an area of concern also from atomizers in vapor products, residual solvents, when those are used in the manufacturing process, bacterias molds and a few toxins that are made by molds that's generally the the full suite of tests.


Nick Jikomes 9:28

I see. So so there's label claims, which is basically just, you know, does this what is this product? What does the product have in it? And you know, does it have what it says it has? So I guess the idea would there would be you know, it's pretty much just like other consumer categories, right? Like if you buy bottled alcohol, it's got the percentage alcohol content on the label. If you buy food, it's got, you know, the caloric and nutritional content. It's just it's just supposed to be telling the consumer what's inside.


Nick Mosley 9:54

Yeah, and that's sort of the fun side and then the other side is the the not fun side where you don't want I see those names.


Nick Jikomes 10:00

Yeah. So the the label claims like this is what's inside of it, this is what it's supposed to have, this is what you sort of want to be in the product. And then and there's obviously stuff that you don't want to be in there. So it's not supposed to be in there. So it can't be sold. If it's above a certain level, let's maybe talk about these one at a time. So for like the label claims, I probably the main thing that most people get focused on is the THC content, or the potency of the product. Can you talk a little bit about, you know how this is measured in the lab on the science side? And then, like some of the trends that you've seen over the years on on the lab testing side, in terms of, you know, our products becoming more potent over time? How much variation? Is there like some of that stuff?


Nick Mosley 10:42

Yeah, I think so. So I mean, for one thing, there's been increased interest in variety of cannabinoids beyond just THC, but obviously THC is the main player. And I think there's a decent amount of evidence to suggest that the total THC content in cannabis flour has been increasing over time. But I think that timeline is really more on the order of decades. And so in our experience with the regulated market where these products have been consistently tested, thoroughly, and frequently, we've seen perhaps a modest increase in the average flower THC concentration. Definitely, in our experience, the first couple of years of the regulated industry saw quite a bit of increase. And I think that was just as cultivators sort of sifted through their their seed stock and selected those cultivars that had the highest concentration. And since then we've seen, you know, a fairly consistent average that I would say is probably in 19%, THC is where most SO


Nick Jikomes 11:55

SO, SO flower, the cannabis plant material tends to have, you know, around 90% thc today. And what like When did you get started? So what's the timeline that you were just describing what years?


Nick Mosley 12:07

So our lab was on the ground floor, Washington State was the first state to require a regulated testing regimen. Colorado followed slightly behind on requiring testing. And so, and we tested the first sample in the state. So we've been we've been here ground floor, going on nine years.


Nick Jikomes 12:33

Okay, so for the past decade, you know, there's been some increase in the potency, but but not that high, things have maybe plateaued. Yeah. And so, most people, most people buy weed, they are primarily or exclusively concerned with the THC content. That's the thing that is primarily dictating the psychoactive intensity of the experience that you'll have. And because that's what people are most familiar with. That's, that's sort of been steering how consumers spend their dollars. So with that sort of bias on the consumer side, and consumers getting focused on buying products based on how much THC is inside of them. What sort of issues has that cause to arise on the lab testing side in terms of how the testing is conducted? Which labs the producers pick, and, and all of that stuff?


Nick Mosley 13:25

Yeah, I think there's a lot of merit to having a conversation about how the, the THC percentage in the product is maybe not the best predictor of the products quality or even the of the effect that it might have on you. But nonetheless, you're right, the average consumer is using the THC percentage on the label as a as an indicator. It's a strong metric that the average consumer uses to assess product quality and to make a purchase decision. And as a result, there's pressure on retail stores, there's pressure on the manufacturers and the distributors, that you know, products with higher percentage numbers on the label will sell better. And so that places pressure on the laboratories to provide numbers that are higher than what might actually exist inside the package. And so there's been a pervasive conversation over the last decade, where especially folks who are plugged into the industry understand that there are certain labs that you can go to or perhaps you'll get a higher THC number, and that may be beneficial to the distributor even if it is misleading to the consumer.


Nick Jikomes 14:42

And so what like it's kind of funny that you mentioned earlier like in your guys's hands in your lab, the average THC percentage in flour lands at about 19% and, you know, I've done a lot of work analyzing lab data, including your lab bunch of labs. across a bunch of states was kind of funny to me, is what you see in many labs, probably a majority in basically any state you look at, is when you look at averages lab by lab, the average is typically at or a little bit above 20%, which is a little bit higher than the number you told us. So what, what's going on there, when we see these differences, when we look, when we look at the results from lab to lab, even in the same state, even when we look at comparable products, some labs produce higher or lower percentages than others. So what's going on there?


Nick Mosley 15:32

Yeah, I think there's a, I mean, there are several thresholds that I, you know, it's generated by by the retail by the buyers, and by the consumers. There's a perception, right that that 20% is worth more than 19% 20% has become a threshold that buyers want to see the flower above 20%. So there's pressure on labs that, you know, when you and it's unfortunate that the average flower probably fall somewhere around 19 1819, somewhere in there, but then the industry really wants to see it 20 or above. And I think you'll you see the same thing and your datasets at 25, you know, as another threshold where I'd really rather see my flower be 25 than 24, because the price difference can be substantial. And so and when we extend it to other product types, the same thing happens. So you know, and infuse pre rolls. 40% is the threshold in a lot of vapor products. 80 or 85% is the threshold for distillates, 90, isolates, 99. And so in each of these places, the industry places, you know, each of these thresholds, the industry places higher value for getting above the threshold. And that creates an incentive for labs to sort of fudge the numbers. And that's really unfortunate that it happens. But I think it's fairly pervasive.


Nick Jikomes 17:06

So how many labs are in like Washington, for example, about?


Nick Mosley 17:10

I think Washington has a lab in labs right now.


Nick Jikomes 17:12

Okay, so there's about 11 labs. And so if you're a producer, if you're growing or producing cannabis products in Washington, you can use any one of these labs, it's pretty easy to use any of them. How does how does a producer choose a lab, in theory and in practice?


Nick Mosley 17:27

Well, you know, I would think, in theory, producers should be looking for service, right. So its price, its turnaround time, and its quality of information that they're gathering. Because while there is a regulatory requirement for this information to be gathered, there's a lot of internal quality value to it, right? Producers should want to produce a consistent product that is of high quality, and information from laboratories in the cannabis industry. And in other industries, laboratory information is used as a quality assurance guide to the manufacturer. So So in theory, yeah, they, you'd think that they'd be shopping based on turnaround time. So speed of service, quality of service price, as sort of the engineers triangle right there. But I think in practice, some brands do shop around for number one, higher THC numbers, and number two, for passing results in the event that they may have product that wouldn't otherwise pass, I


Nick Jikomes 18:34

see. So. So if you've got something that's 90% THC, you send it to three labs, and one of them gives you 19 and the other to give you like, 20, you're 22, naturally, you're gonna want your label to have that higher number. And then on the passing side, you know, maybe maybe it has above the allowable threshold of like pesticides, or heavy metals or something like that. And if it fails, if one that one sample that was tested fails, you're talking about a fairly substantial amount of product that that brand wouldn't be able to sell. So they want a lab that that won't fail them, basically. Yeah. And like that happens, how often would you say that happens? Like qualitatively speaking a lot, a little bit somewhere in the middle?


Nick Mosley 19:18

It's hard to know for sure, but I would say, you know, my lab services, three to 400 customers a year and I wouldn't say over the last 12 months, I've probably seen three or four different instances where, you know, I customer came to us that hey, you failed my product. I send it to another lab that passed it. And, and then we may never see them again. And we don't know the number of times that that happens without them alerting us to it. But yeah, I think it happens with some regularity.


Nick Jikomes 19:55

How often like so in your lab in Washington State A for flower, cannabis flower, the plant material, you know, give us a sense for like how often samples don't pass things like the pesticide test, or the microbe contamination test and things like that. Is it 10%? Is it 20% is a 1%.


Nick Mosley 20:15

It's single digit percent for cannabis flour, it's higher for concentrates, which makes sense for a variety of reasons, concentrating the pesticides, starting with lower quality material, etc, etc. But when it comes to quality flour, we see failure rates and low single digit or sense.


Nick Jikomes 20:35

And like, you know, when when we talk about some of these thresholds, and some of these things that are tested for, you know, whether it's pesticides, whether it's bacteria and mold, how exactly How concerning is this? So, for example, are the are the thresholds, and the stringency of the requirements? Are they like really conservative such that, you know, even if something didn't quite pass, but you know, some lab passed it, you know, it probably isn't gonna be like a life or death situation for consumer. And you know, how, how many things are like, really concerning that you see that would plausibly be inside of products that aren't being passed appropriately?


Nick Mosley 21:13

Well, I think the honest answer is that it's hard to know. Cannabis is a pretty unique commodity in terms of the way it's consumed. So we don't have a lot of understanding for how, so when you when you consume a toxin, generally, you know, if you're eating it, it's going to pass through your stomach, and through your liver, before it makes its way to your bloodstream and to the rest of your body. Now, your stomach as you know it, you know, it's filled with acids, so it can break down certain chemicals, your liver really is your body's chemical plant, where your food before it makes its way to your blood gets processed by your liver, and that'll remove a lot of toxins. So we know a lot about how pesticides affect humans and animals, especially as those pesticides are ingested through eating well, we don't have a lot of information on is how they affect a human when they're inhaled. And also when they're combusted before they're inhaled, because when you inhale a toxin, it goes into your lungs and then straight into your bloodstream, it bypasses your liver, it can get make its way to your brain without touching your liver. And so there's reason to believe that pesticides are more toxic, or at least differently toxic when they're inhaled instead of eating. And, and the truth is, pesticides are regulated generally by the USDA and the EPA, who set standards for pesticide tolerance levels in various commodities. Now, cannabis is not federally legal. So when it comes to cannabis, the states have to make these determinations themselves. And they honestly lack the resources that the federal government has. And so in many instances, they sort of have to, well, primary for lack of a better term, they pull it out of thin air, they may look to others commodities, but again, it's hard to find a comparable. Now, a lot of times what they do, is they they they set levels that are conservatively low. Is that sufficient? It's hard to say,


Nick Jikomes 23:38

I see so so we really don't know, you know, if something gets into your body from the lungs directly into the bloodstream, we know that that's going to allow it to it's going to be processed by the body differently than if you eat it, as you said. And in general, right, it's not going to go through the liver or not as quickly not as much. So there is risk of, of higher toxicity from something but we really, you know, haven't looked at the specific things that tend to be in cannabis when they're inhaled. So we don't actually know the specific answers for most of these things. Right? What? So when we think about I mean, at the end of the day, right? This whole industry is basically based on farming, right? You got to grow the plants, you got to harvest them, you got to process them and put them get them into the form factor that is ultimately going to be sold to the consumer. And you know, because we're talking about farming plants here, you know, pests are always a concern to farmers. And it's a legitimate concern, right? There's mold that can grow on the plant, there's bugs that can eat it. There's also everything that you would think about if you were you know, farming any other crop basically. And so how how common, you know, how commonly used are pesticides based on the results you've seen in your lab? And what are some of the pesticides that are used and what are they used for? Is it for insects? Is it for other stuff? What are the more common ones?


Nick Mosley 24:54

Yeah, so yeah, I think the the cannabis farmer is put into a pretty difficult situation. They're growing a very high value crop. On a square footage basis, what they're growing is very valuable. Their square footage is also limited by their license. So we generally cannabis farmers are not, you know, sowing acres and acres of cannabis fields where, you know, maybe they can afford to lose 30% of their field and still have a good harvest. It doesn't really exist in cannabis seeds that your entire field has to be licensed. Usually it has to be surrounded by an eight foot high fence that obstructs visual it has to have cameras at every corner. So they're limited in how much square footage they're allowed to grow. They have very expensive inputs, licensure is very expensive. And this, this crop is not immune to blight. And then additionally, they're mono cropping, you know, they there's not a good economic incentive to rotate cannabis crops with strawberries one year and corn the next year, and then cannabis, the other again, because your plot of land is licensed for cannabis, and you want to grow that there. So it's mono cropping, it's high value, it's limited canopy space. And sometimes it's indoor too, which can increase the risk for some pests. So the pests that they're that cannabis farmers usually are facing are various types of mites, both mites that grow on the plant itself, and mites that grow on it in the soil on its roots. And, and mold. powdery mildew is a big one. So the types of pesticides that are most frequently seen are those that are targeting molds and insects.


Nick Jikomes 26:57

And how often do you see that how often do flower samples in Washington or California say, test above what the legal limits are for pesticides.


Nick Mosley 27:08

Say it's in the low single digits, you know, 1% 2% of cannabis samples, I mean, we're detecting these things more often than that. But you know, the the failures, and that's actually something that's progressed quite a bit over the years. And we first started testing for pesticides in 2016. And at that point, we were seeing in flour of about a 10% failure rate and concentrates, you know, vapor products, we were seeing failure rates upwards of 40%. And just providing more access to the information has really helped, you know, through testing has really helped the cultivators bring down their exposure, and I think it places pressure on them from their buyers, from the downstream product manufacturers to source clean product. And we've seen it definitely cleaned up quite a bit in the last six, seven years.


Nick Jikomes 28:07

That's good news. So you mentioned earlier, like, you have experiences as, as the person operating the lab, you've had experiences where someone sends you a sample and it fails, let's say you know, it fails the pesticide test or it fails one of the other tests, but then they'll tell you, they sent it to another lab, and that lab passed, you know, a sample from the same batch. And there's a couple ways I can think to interpret that the the generous way to interpret that would be to think, though the perusers just being rigorous right there. They're getting multiple test results and comparing them and you know, they're they're just being diligent. And then the other way to interpret it is, well, this could just be a strategy for shopping around for whoever is going to give you that passing grade. Even if, you know, you're actually you actually are going to be failing that test for pesticides, or heavy, heavy metals or what have you. And so I guess my question is, like, how, how often does that happen? And how explicit is it? Do you just get examples where you know, from time to time, you know, you fail, you fail a sample from someone, and then you learn from them or somehow that they've sent it somewhere else? And another lab has passed it? Where do you get? Do you get examples where people come in and basically tell you what they expect you to get?


Nick Mosley 29:22

Yeah, it's a little bit of all the above. I mean, I generally like to give people the benefit of the doubt. You know, it's an unfortunate characteristic of humans that we have confirmation bias. So a lot of times, folks, you know, the the manufacturer will think that the product they have produced doesn't have pesticides in it. And so when they get a result from us, that indicates there are pesticides present. There, their natural reaction is to not believe that and then if they go get a second opinion from another lab, and that lab says there's no pesticide there and their natural reaction is to believe that because that's what they originally believed, right? So this is confirmation bias. And it drives a lot of human decision making, even when the intent is not nefarious that said, you know, I would hope that due diligence would bring them to test more than just two labs to get more than just two opinions. We certainly when we're approached, for explanation we do, we do our due diligence and try to provide our rationale for how we landed at the decision that we did, we also have a partner lab that that we know does good science, and we're always willing to send out a reference to them for a second opinion, but sometimes you know it, the dollar speak louder than words and then we do lose the customer like so I would say it probably happens, you know, five or 10 times a year that we lose a customer through a situation like this, and it's apparent, and the most common type of customer of ours that that encounters this situation is, is one who is making a concentrate. So like inhalable are like a vapor product. And they they are not the grower of the flower themselves. So this is this is a brand who is purchasing flour from a farmer, then distilling it or extracting it into a concentrate and then and then having it tested. And so they're you know, they're, they can be caught off guard because they've been told by the farmer that there's, you know, there will be no pesticides in this, we don't use pesticides. So that's really the most common occurrence and then it becomes a negotiation between them and their, and the grower how they're gonna write that wrong.


Nick Jikomes 32:01

And so like when you make a concentrate, obviously, you know that that's the name, it's a concentrate, so you're concentrating the resin of the plant to get for example, a higher THC levels. So if you look at you know, any of these concentrate products, they can have much higher THC levels than the flower products that are derived from there. Does that concentration happen to any of these pesticides, or undesirables as well do those things also get concentrated in those products,


Nick Mosley 32:27

they absolutely do. And they get concentrated, typically at about the same ratio as the cannabinoids get concentrated. So if you're going to start with a, like we said, a 19 or 20% flower, and concentrate that to an 80% Concentrate than any pesticides that existed in in the original flower, you can anticipate about a 4x increase


Nick Jikomes 32:50

in ICS. So to the extent that's happening, and to the extent that's going to be problematic for health reasons, it really is a question mark as to like no one has just done the studies to go look at these products and see if there's any effect even in animals or something for for some of these pesticides and other undesirables.


Nick Mosley 33:12

Yeah, I mean, I think a lot of a lot more research would be necessary to know, you know, what, what levels are can actually be tolerated by people. I mean, another unfortunate reality too, is we're usually when we are detecting pesticides at levels above the action limit, the failure limit, we're often detecting them at high levels much higher. So, you know, it's not just barely squeaking by with a fail a lot of times, you know, it's 510. I mean, I've seen some times where it's hundreds of times over the action limit. And so, yeah, logically, you would think that that's a pretty serious cause for concern. And some folks have have proposed that it may be one of the causes of cannabis hyperemesis syndrome, where over the last few years, there have been some people who have been getting extreme bouts of vomiting from certain strains of cannabis is wondering if it's actually a contaminant. Interesting.


Nick Jikomes 34:17

That's an interesting idea, because I have heard of this and one of the characteristics right the the symptoms are basically you're really sick, you're you're vomiting, a lot hyperemesis. It's not pleasant to have, but one of the things that's curious about it, is the people who have it don't have that reaction every time it sort of happens randomly. And so people start to think, Well, maybe it's one strain or one brand or whatever, but what you're saying is we don't know this, but one hypothesis would be that if you've got say 1% of products out there that have two high levels of some pesticide, something like that, you know, in theory could be causing something like like these symptoms.


Nick Mosley 34:58

Yeah, I mean, that's it Seems logical, but like we said, we need more studies. So we're just, we're going off of biological plausibility here.


Nick Jikomes 35:08

And so based on what you've said, so far, it sounds like it sounds like tell me if this would be like a fair, a fair assessment of what you would say, the retail market looks like for products. There are definitely products out there that have been tested, and that are on store shelves and dispensaries that have above the the legal limits for pesticides and other things. It's it's not a majority of products. It's probably not an incredibly large number, but it is some number of them. That's that may be concerning.


Nick Mosley 35:38

I wouldn't say definitely. Yes.


Nick Jikomes 35:41

As a like as a consumer or sort of on behalf of the consumer based on all of your testing experience. Would you say consumers should be more concerned about some products having undesirables like pesticides? Or they should be more concerned about whether or not the label claims are accurate? Like the THC potency?


Nick Mosley 36:01

Oh, well, I guess it depends on where where your goals are and where your heart lies. I mean, I think, I think the potency inflation is much more widespread than the pesticide contamination on the shelf. And so I think that's a that's a fairly serious consumer protection concern. But you know, excessive levels of pesticide, whether or not they cause you know, an acute sickness like cannabis hyperemesis, or if they can build up over time and increase your your risk for cancer or liver failure. I mean, that's, that's an enormous concern. If if such a consumer safety issue is really present, and so I mean, that's, that's probably where, where my concern is.


Nick Jikomes 36:56

So like, the the label claims like THC percentage, those numbers being inflated, that's a much more pervasive problem. But it's a much more mundane problem from a consumer safety standpoint, than the other stuff,


Nick Mosley 37:09

you would say, you know, maybe consumers are regularly getting ripped off. That's not the same as, yeah. An increased risk for cancer, for example.


Nick Jikomes 37:19

Yeah. And so like, when, you know, I know that there's been, there's been controversy over the years in most states, on this potency, inflation stuff. And, you know, there's a number of stories out there where some labs get caught, you know, basically doing doing bad things, inflating the numbers passing samples shouldn't be passed. How, you know, when you look at lab to lab differences, how, how egregious are some of these inflation examples where labs get caught producing numbers that are higher than actually in the sample? Is it typically like, you know, labs are pretty close in their numbers, and they just drift a little bit one way or the other, that you could just chalk up the methodological differences, or other clear examples where labs have been systematically and egregiously, you know, in fraudulently like changing the numbers?


Nick Mosley 38:12

Yeah, I think it's, it's, it's both, you know, I think there are probably labs, who maybe just random differences in their methods, even inadvertently, are producing slightly higher numbers, maybe I think they're, I think there are probably other labs who intentionally find little things they can do along the way, in the method that will bump up the numbers a little bit. And then there are obvious examples of egregious inflation that is, clearly it's not even methodological, it's so systematic, and so large, that I mean, it's, it's on the level of fraud.


Nick Jikomes 38:56

And when you see those cases, like how, how big how, how big of an issue isn't like, how many percentage point are we talking about a couple of percentage points, inflated numbers? 10%? Like, how big is the difference?


Nick Mosley 39:07

So for example, a lab in Washington 2020, was shut down for providing preferred results only to some customers. And they were doing it, they were found to have been doing it, just through the software. So it was the method was fine. And it was working well. And most customers were getting normal potency results, but a few of their customers were, you know, a data scientist would go in the middle of the night and change the numbers. And so that's just that's how that happened. In California right now, there are a couple of class action lawsuits underway that allege that consumers have been sold infused pre rolls that are labeled between 40 and 45. percent where a reanalysis at a trusted laboratory reveals that it's closer to 30%. So if you think about how much THC the consumer is getting ripped off there, you're being told it's 40%. But you're being given something that's 30%. So you, you know, you're, you're missing a quarter of what you're sold.


Nick Jikomes 40:21

I see. So so it can be it can be fairly substantial. Yeah. And how, you know, how do how much the regulations differ, say, between California and Washington? What's, you know, is there are there things that are required in one state that aren't required in another? And I guess from there, like, what do you think ideally, the full set of things are that we should be looking for from a consumer safety standpoint?


Nick Mosley 40:44

Well, you know, we're almost 10 years in on this industry. And I would say that at this point, I think, I think the legislatures in most states have crafted laws that have been translated into rules that are fairly sensible and well thought out, like the, the industry has matured, insofar as the state has written laws that more or less make sense, I think the problem that most states are still experiencing is that enforcement of those well thought out laws, is often lacking. And so you know, what I would like to see, in almost every regulated cannabis market is a more sophisticated enforcement agency that can not not just apply the law, but apply it fairly and evenly across the entire industry. That's where I think the industry is really being held back the most right now.


Nick Jikomes 41:45

What do you think that could look like? So what would enforcement mean, specifically?


Nick Mosley 41:50

Well, it's, I mean, certainly coming from the perspective of the, you know, the analytical testing laboratories. It's, it's a complex and nuanced topic. But it does require that the agency tasked with enforcing the law have on its staff members who understand the intricacies of analytical laboratory testing, that have experience and can go into a lab, and investigate and really know what's happening there. Because I think what happens today is, industry players may know that a laboratory is doing something incorrectly, and will alert the enforcement authorities to it. And the enforcement authorities just won't know really what to look for, and can easily have the wool pulled over their eyes when they do end up going and investigating at a laboratory because it's complex science that's happening. So I really, I think it comes about through more experience. And, and better staffing at the enforcement agencies. And then also standardization of methods. I mean, you had mentioned earlier, you know, perhaps one, one lab just has a method that's a little bit more favorable. And that absolutely can and does happen. And that could be resolved by standardized methods, which multiple states are working on Washington state has a standardized method that they'll be adopting, in conjunction with New York. So those two states will have the same standardized method. As of 2024. California is working on doing the same thing, they were hoping to have it done by the end of last year, I think they push that out to the summer of this year. And it looks like that will get pushed out again, but they're working on standardizing the methods which ultimately will aid in enforcement.


Nick Jikomes 43:48

Yeah, cuz you have the same methods, you should be producing comparable results. And it's just much more definitive. If you do have the same method, you can't just hide behind Oh, our methods a little bit different. It must have something to do with the technical details. Yeah. And so on the consumer side. So again, like, like you said, this is really complicated stuff. The average consumer isn't going to understand the nuances of testing, they're really just going to have what is printed on the label, and and their own, you know, purchase purchase experience and what their experience was with the products they've had, if you were to give advice to consumers around, you know, what can they do to shop for products help ensure they're getting what they pay for on the label side in terms of THC percentage, and what's actually inside the product. And then also on the safety side, like what they should be looking for, to try and minimize the odds that they're going to get some kind of undesirable in their product. Is there anything they can really do?


Nick Mosley 44:42

I think it's a tough, it's a tough question. I think the best that an average consumer could do is just familiarize yourself with the brands that are available. I mean, in terms of the label claims. You know, just finding products that You know, unlike me, at the end of the day, the level of THC in the product, whether whether or not the label is correct. Quality is in the eye of the beholder if you like the product, and it's a good product. And so that's how, you know, on the safety side, yeah, I mean, I think the best you can do is really familiarize yourself with the brands that are available. And, you know, you through the help of the retail store and the bud tenders, and whatever marketing is available from the brands, I mean, you you find the ones that that you think you can trust. I don't know how you can do much better than that.


Nick Jikomes 45:40

So it sounds like you've said that, like, over the years, the the regulations have gotten better and more reasonable. And, you know, maybe there's not as much egregious stuff going on as there used to be is that is that your general take that things are, in general, on average, moving in the right direction in terms of testing requirements, and you know, people doing things by the book?


Nick Mosley 46:02

Thanks. I think things have generally gotten better. Yeah, I think most most players in the industry do want to do things right. And when given information, will will go in the right direction there, there are definitely players who are not playing it straight. And until enforcement can get them in line, they have a pretty serious advantage. And an often an outsize market share.


Nick Jikomes 46:31

Are you talking about labs or producers? Both all the above? Yeah.


Nick Mosley 46:37

And barely going in the right direction. I think I think the label claims are going to be a really difficult nut to crack for the enforcement.


Nick Jikomes 46:45

And there's probably no way around that other than enforcement at the regulatory level like it, I can't think of how you get around it.


Nick Mosley 46:53

Yeah, I mean, I think I think, you know, media helps. So this type of podcast, I think that helps when, when it it does end up in the news that a you know, another lab was shut down, or another brand is being sued. I think that helps. I think the lawsuits probably are going to drive some behavior, too. I mean, at the end of the day, when you hit, people get hit in the wallet that tends to change their behavior. And so you've got some of the biggest brands in California right now are facing class action lawsuits for basically consumer deception.


Nick Jikomes 47:30

Well, is there are there any final thoughts you want to leave people with, you know, particular thing about consumers here, when it comes to lab testing and looking for quality? I think you already, you know, kind of give them some pretty good advice. But you know, what should people will be thinking about, or at least have in the back of their minds, when they're shopping for these products? And whether or not you know, they can place trust in what the label actually says?


Nick Mosley 47:53

Yeah, I mean, I think the bud tenders are probably your best resource, getting to know the brands through their marketing efforts. And just through your own trial and error, I think is the best you can do. I mean, if you really want to dive deep, you usually can request the test results from the laboratory. But I don't think that's something the average consumer is really going to do. It is available and it may be informative. And that can be another tool in your toolbox to understand which lab may have tested the product and whether or not that's a reputable lab. But, but yeah, I mean just familiarity with products you'd like and know and brands that you trust. As we have to go off.


Nick Jikomes 48:39

All right, well Nick Mosley, thank you for your time.

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