The state of Arizona just barely voted cannabis legal for medical use in 2010. This made Arizona the 15th state to legalize the use of medical cannabis. Since then, their medical program has flourished. Despite running a tight ship when it comes to on-site visits to cultivations, edible manufacturers, and dispensary sales floors, the Arizona Department of Health has not set any standards for testing. There is absolutely no regulations for cultivations or dispensaries to test their flower, edibles, concentrates, and other products. There are also no testing lab regulations for the laboratories themselves.
Until the scare last Fall in California regarding pesticides, nobody in Arizona had really questioned the lack of testing regulations. Colorado also made headlines when 1000 edibles were pulled from shelves because of pesticide residue deemed potentially unsafe. Oregon also had its first recall in March of this year. Cannabis flower showed to have above average traces of pesticides in testing lab results.
Will Humble served as director of the state Department of Health Services while Arizona’s medical cannabis program got its legs. According to the Phoenix Times, he doesn’t see any reason for testing lab regulations. He also believes that a testing program would raise the price of medical marijuana for the 115,000 Arizona medical cannabis patients. Despite these claims, we have to hope that the state will begin to regulate the cannabis being distributed to their sick residents.
Many dispensaries do still use laboratories to back up potency claims. But dispensaries rarely opt to test for contaminants, pesticides, and mycotoxins. It is possible that Cara Christ, the current state director, could change the rule to require lab testing. When it comes to public safety, knowing what is in the medicine being distributed should be one of the first steps. Let’s hope that Christ will change the rules and Arizona will start mandating clean, safe access for patients.