The Office of Cannabis Management announced on November 1st that it would be making cannabis more dangerous more end users. Well, not in those exact words, but the Office of Cannabis Management did state that it has eliminated its cannabis testing limits for bacteria, yeast, and mold. Why did they do this? Because conditional cannabis growers voiced concern that the majority of them can't pass the "strict rules required by the state and therefore wouldn't be able to get their product onto store shelves".
The Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) sent out an email to cultivators on Tuesday which stated: "Total Viable Aerobic Bacteria Count and Total Yeast and Mold Count for unextracted cannabis products (e.g. cannabis flower, pre-roll, etc). 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 its the responsibility of the licensee to consider these tests and any impact to the stability and expiration dating of the product as well as any risk to the health of consumers."
What this means is that New York, while still requiring testing, has removed to safety limits of the testing. Testing typically states what amounts of a contaminant are allowed for a consumer's safety. New York's testing standard was greater than Federal Law, as instead of allowing the labs to choose these limits (which made some of them extremely high and dangerous as labs picked and chose their data). However, now that they have removed the limited they set for these contaminants, they're leaving it up to the cultivators to "consider the tests...and impact to the health of consumers."
If there's anything we've taken away from judging companies by the Ethereal Gold Standard, it's that the majority of them do not give a single damn about the consumers' health. We have rejected 100s of manufacturers for not full panel testing, dubious testing, and much more that can put the consumer at risk. The majority of them will do whatever it takes to save that extra $600 per SKU. Dave Livingson, the executive director of the Cannabis Association of New York, even told NY Cannabis Insider that the association, which is comprised of hundreds of growers and processors, that he had “every faith that the OCM is going to recognize the existential threat” the testing limits pose to cultivators and this year’s harvest.
While New York's testing standards were one of the best in the nation, OCM spokesperson Aaron Ghitelman provided a statement to NY Cannabis Insider about the change: “This model is in line with other states with legal adult-use markets that have outdoor cultivation including California, Oregon and Washington...New York’s licensed cannabis farmers have done incredible work with this year’s crop, and we at the Office of Cannabis Management are hard at work to ensure they can sell their tested, sun-grown product that cannabis consumers can trust as soon as possible.”
Not only is this change now in effect, but as a reminder New York also does not require moisture content, filth/foreign material, and water activity testing until after Jan. 1, 2023. Testing for residual solvents and terpenes will be required after March 1, 2023. I suppose if you care about profit rather than safety, this is a good change.
If you care about safety, remember all Ethereal Gold Dispensary products ship nationally -- including our federally and state legal Delta-9 products. If you're in New York, it may be a good idea to not visit your local dispensary until this change is made.
It's fantastic to want cannabis cultivators to succeed. But not at the risk of the consumer.