New York cannabis regulators on Tuesday took a major step in easing testing lab safety standards for the upcoming recreational marijuana market, apparently in response to industry pressure regarding contamination thresholds.
If the standards weren’t lowered, New York cannabis growers told the state Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) recently, then the state would run the risk of product shortages just as it hopes to launch its new adult-use market.
But according to Syracuse.com, the OCM notified licensed growers via email on Tuesday that “the Office has updated its Laboratory Testing Limits to remove the pass/fail limits” for bacteria, mold, and yeast.
“Cannabis Laboratories will still need to run these tests as part of the state-mandated testing panel, but at this time, there will not be a defined limit for unextracted cannabis products in the adult-use program,” the email reads, referring to raw smokable flower, pre-rolled joints, and other such products.
The OCM cautioned that the guidance was not permanent and noted that it will issue updated industry guidelines “soon.”
“Problem more or less solved for outdoor growing,” cannabis farmer Suehiko Ono of EOS Farms wrote on Twitter. “HUGE WIN!!!”
Problem more or less solved for outdoor growing.
— Suehiko Ono (@SuehikoOno) November 1, 2022
Not everyone in the industry was ecstatic, Syracuse.com reported, and quoted consultant Colin Decker, the owner of Sensei Growth Consulting, who said the rollback would likely lead to a degradation of product quality standards.
“This will allow farmers to move more product onto the marketplace, but inevitably will open a can of worms in regards to the standards, quality, and expectations that customers would have for the flower and products they are looking to purchase,” Decker told Syracuse.com.
New York regulators are still processing more than 900 retail applications they received last month for the first round of recreational cannabis shops, and it’s still unclear when the first adult-use retailer will open for business in the Empire State.
In October, Gov. Kathy Hochul advised Advance Media New York’s editorial board that is still “on track” to have 20 adult-use retailers licensed and operational by the end of the year.