Close to 20% of marijuana products in California have failed tests for potency and purity since the state started requiring the checks on July 1 – a rate some in the industry say has more to do with unrealistic standards and technical glitches than protecting consumer safety.

Testing has been especially tough on cannabis-infused cookies, candies and tinctures: About one-third have been blocked from store shelves.

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Below are the findings in California’s testing of legal marijuana from July 1 through Aug. 29 . There were 10,695 samples tested and 1,904 fell short, according to the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) – and some samples failed for multiple reasons:
  • Inaccurate claims on package label – 1,279 failures
  • Pesticides – 403 failures
  • Microbial impurities (mold, E. coli, salmonella) – 114 failures
  • Residual solvents, processing chemicals – 99 failures
  • Moisture (in cannabis flower) – 36 failures
  • Homogeneity (even distribution of THC) – 25 failures
  • Foreign material (insect fragments, hair) – 6 failures

The debate over testing isn’t just about lab procedures or allowable levels of pesticides. It all comes with a cost, which companies say is straining budgets.

Testing for a small, outdoor marijuana farm can typically cost $5,000 to $10,000 in California.

There have been similar complaints in Colorado, where cultivators are dealing with new, required pesticide tests, and in Washington state, where cannabis businesses are pushing for mandatory testing.

Here’s a rundown of failed batches in California by category:

  • Cannabis flower – 5,355 batches tested, 567 failures (10.6%)
  • Inhalable oils, waxes – 3,361 batches tested, 686 failures (20.4%)
  • Edibles, tinctures, lotions: 1,979 batches tested, 651 failures (32.9%)

– Associated Press