It’s happened. We have built our reputation upon providing Washington State Department of Health certified cannabis to the market and now we are running out of tested material. But the state of Washington does not yet have a lab certified to test for heavy metals in cannabis, as per the Department of Health rules.
To quote from my March 2018 LTD column:
“With more than 1,000 growers competing for space in less than 400 stores in Washington, one factor that helps keep us relevant is having our flower blessed by the testing standards set by the state Department of Health for pesticides and heavy metals. This testing allows us to put the General Use sticker on the package, ensuring consumers that they are getting cannabis that is free of harmful contaminants.”
Or my December 2018 column:
“Recently, I fielded a call from our testing lab representative informing us that the lab’s owners decided to no longer test cannabis. … All of our packaging has the DOH symbol. The lab rep was giving me a 10-day warning to test all we needed before they shut down to our industry at the end of September.”
That lab ended up getting an extension of its certification until the end of January 2019. That put the state Department of Health in a bind since its own rules demanded both pesticides and heavy metals be tested to use the symbol and that was the only lab in the state for heavy metal testing. Their solution, if we are to continue to use the General Use Complaint symbol, is to impose an emergency rule that forces the few of us who relied upon this testing to put a sticker on our packaging that states: “WARNING: This product has not been tested for heavy metals.”
In a field of thousands of other producers that claim “pesticide-free” on their packaging but have no required tests to back it up, we are supposed to put a warning on our packages that points out the lack of having this test available! Incredibly infuriating!
I won’t do it. I will not place a warning sticker on our packages that indicates somehow lesser quality products. I paid for new printing plates to incorporate that symbol onto all our packaging and now I am designing a sticker to cover it up?
What will tomorrow bring? I cannot tell. I threw away my crystal ball and just take it one day at a time.