Phase 3 Testing in California

Written by Ryan Scott

What is Phase 3 Testing?

With California’s full-spectrum, state-level Cannabis Legalization well underway, new legislation has been enacted to develop the state’s regulations for the thousands of licensed cannabis cultivators and product manufacturers required to comply with the state regulators. These new standards include an array of testing for cannabis products before being introduced into the market, the latest being named Phase 3 Testing. The legislation also calls for up to a 55% increase in associated fees for these tests, which include heavy metals and mycotoxin screens, as well as applicable testing for products making terpene content claims.

The Problems Associated With Phase 3 Testing

One of the main concerns does not lie with the regulations themselves, but rather that only a handful of labs are currently capable of performing them.With so many cultivators, processors, and product manufacturers seeking to get their products into market, there are simply not enough labs offering the new standard of tests. The small number of Phase 3-capable labs may possibly be due to the lack of capital needed by existing facilities to implement new testing procedures. Some may not be qualified to run the full spectrum of tests needed for the new regulations. The massive volume of tests combined with few labs to administer them means excessive waiting times and the complications arising thereof.

Another major concern is with the higher fees leveed on companies for compliance. These fees are such that they can easily set back up-and-coming businesses looking to make their place in the growing cannabis market. Although the fee increase may go towards certifying more testing labs , it will still likely take some time before they are Phase 3 operational, so the short-term benefits may be at best marginal.

The costs only add up for cultivators who have multiple harvests a week. In addition to the testing fees, many companies pay out-of-pocket to ensure their product’s compliance before ever submitting them for final certification.

Though many strongly believe that the standards set by California are necessary in ensuring quality products reach cannabis consumers,they are also integral to the health and well-being of those consumers. While the burdens of new testing represent more than just a few hurdles for cultivators and cannabis product manufacturers, they also affect consumers who are reliant on obtaining quality cannabis products regularly for their various physical ailments.Because some labs have not achieved certification for conducting all testing requirements, this could create an analytical bottleneck, since the uncertified labs may need to farm out specific tests, thus rendering a dire situation for patients who aren’t able to access the products that they have come to trust and are effective for their needs.

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Ryan Scott

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