mLive reports that many in the Michigan cannabis industry say demand for high potency weed has led to questionable conduct by greedy marijuana growers, producers and testing labs:
Growers pressure labs for the higher potency results, and sometimes labs bend science to reach them, multiple lab representatives industry insiders have alleged to MLive.
“People are spending money every day — $250 million a month is being spent — and if a significant amount of that is being (potency) inflated, people are being ripped off on a massive scale,” said Avi Zallen, CEO of Steadfast Lab in Hazel Park. “I don’t know if it’s as much of a health and safety question as it is ripping off consumers.”
Because marijuana flower prices and profits are so closely linked to THC percentages — higher the better — reports of potency inflation have plagued nearly every legal marijuana market in the U.S.
“How fast the market has expanded, it’s an inherent problem,” said Alex Adams, CEO of Cambium Analytica, a Traverse City lab. “This is not new. We’ve known about this problem. It’s terrible in California, it’s getting worse in some of the older markets.
“If there is an incentive created at the laboratories, then people will … use those laboratories at the expense of the customer.”
…The CRA audited potency results exceeding 28% and found that nearly 80% of all tests above the threshold had been conducted by Viridis labs, according to a CRA rules violation complaint filed in May 2022. The complaint didn’t identify between what dates the data came from. The reviewed data also showed that the Virdis Lansing lab was testing marijuana above 28% at a rate seven times higher than the rest of the labs in the state, the CRA said.
“The number of flower samples that exceed 30% are coming from Viridis Laboratories, primarily,” Clair Patterson, the CRA’s science manager, wrote in a Dec. 2, 2020 email sent to Viridis management and later included in court filings.