Here’s a joke.
What do you call it when one state-sanctioned lab determines a product to be clean, but another finds that same product contaminated?
Seriously frustrating. And frankly, not much of a joke.
But that’s exactly what’s happening.
And this inconsistent testing of products in Michigan is a total buzz kill for dispensaries.
The Greenhouse Pulled All Vape Cartridges
That was earlier this winter.
Since that time, the Greenhouse in Walled Lake got the go ahead from a state-sanctioned lab in Ann Arbor to put those cartridges back on the shelves since they tested clean.
But last Friday, the Marijuana Regulatory Agency told owner Jerry Millen and his team to take some of them down. Again.
Another Lab Detected Vitamin E Acetate
Y’all remember vitamin E acetate, right? The nasty additive responsible for the lung injuries during VapeGate 2019?
That’s the stuff.
Millen has ABSOLUTELY no issue pulling potentially dangerous product from the shelves. After all, he’s in this business to help people.
“I’m not going to argue with the state or anybody that tells me something might be dirty,” he said. “I’ll pull it off, I have no problem.
What he does have a problem with is how it’s being handled.
Inconsistent Testing Gave Different Results on Same Batch
The Motor City High cartridges under scrutiny received a clean bill of health, as it were, from PSI Labs. Millen has the documents that state no vitamin E acetate was detected.
But cartridges from this same batch – carried at another dispensary – showed levels of the additive when tested at a different lab.
So now, after being told it was okay to put them back on the shelves, he has to pull the 500 of this brand he still has in stock.
“You told me to put them back on my shelf, which I did. At your urging, they’re back on my shelf,” he said with frustration to the MRA. “Now you’re telling me to take them off even though they passed testing because carts failed from another lab?”
Dispensaries Pay the Price
Millen feels that his business – and others – are paying the price for this lack of consistency in testing.
The state’s regulatory arm, LARA, states that inconsistencies in testing can occur when products come from a caregiver. They say they’re just playing it safe.
“We understand that businesses need to look out for their bottom line, but in situations like this — when marijuana product is brought into the regulated market via a caregiver — we must always err on the side of caution and put the safety of patients first,” said LARA spokesperson David Harns.
“Vitamin E acetate is a public safety risk,” he continued, “and we can’t take any chance that these cartridges were cut with that prohibited product.”
So What Is the Solution?
Obviously, if there’s any chance that vitamin E acetate is in a cartridge, the consumer needs to be protected.
Millen and dispensary owners agree with this wholeheartedly.
They’d just like to see consistency in the testing so it doesn’t keep cutting into their bottom line.
Millen believes that if the MRA is going to decide that one lab is more proficient in testing than another, then every vape cartridge in the state should be tested there.
Creating a clear standard that every product would be required to meet would reduce confusion and ensure that every consumer is protected.
That makes perfect sense to us.
Has Inconsistent Testing Negatively Impacted You?
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