Just days after the first marijuana product recall was issued in California’s new regulated market, a second was underway.
David Elias, CEO of Los Angeles-based Lowell Herb Co., confirmed to Marijuana Business Daily that his pre-roll-production business had issued a voluntary recall beginning July 27 after a testing lab reversed its initial finding that a specific batch passed muster and was cleared for retail sale.
“We are in the process of a voluntary recall,” Elias said Monday, adding that the company has already contacted 74 retailers that had the affected pre-rolls on shelves.
The recall involved two stock-keeping units (SKUs) and is “an expensive hit we will be taking,” he said, because the company has decided to destroy all the recalled pre-rolls instead of trying to remediate the product and get it back to market.
Lowell Herb has been voluntarily testing its flower for the past 18 months, Elias said, and always gets flower tested before pre-roll production to ensure it will get all the way through the supply chain to retailers.
In this particular case, he said, the flower in question was approved by SC Labs in Santa Cruz, manufactured into pre-rolls and sent to a distributor.
The distributor then had the pre-rolls tested by San Francisco-based Anresco Laboratories, which initially gave the batch a green light, so the product was sent to retailers. Two weeks later, however, Anresco changed the batch’s status to “fail,” Elias said.
Lowell Herb then had the same batch tested by a third lab, Long Beach-based BelCosta Labs, which also determined the pre-rolls passed state testing standards.
But out of an abundance of caution, Elias said, Lowell Herb decided to issue the recall.
“We will make sure our customers can trust us and the actions we will take,” Elias said.
Inconsistent test results between labs is far from a new issue in the U.S. marijuana industry, which has been grappling with testing discrepancies nationwide for years.
Elias said he wouldn’t be surprised if many more companies are faced with similar predicaments in coming months, since mandatory testing in California only kicked in July 1.
“We go above and beyond, and now … depending on the lab you test with, you can have massively divergent results,” Elias said.
“This does present really big challenges to the industry as a whole, with different labs presenting different results.
“I’m not sure how the state is planning on dealing with this.”
John Schroyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org