Steep Hill May Exit Poorly Regulated Washington Cannabis Testing Market

Ray Estrada, Jr., a lab analyst, holds a pot sample kept in an "archive" for a certain period of time after testing at Steep Hill, a cannabis research and testing facility, Tues., Jan. 5, 2016, in Tukwila.
Ray Estrada, Jr., a lab analyst, at Steep Hill (Ken Lambert/The Seattle Times)

One of the key benefits of cannabis legalization is that consumers, some of whom may have compromised immune systems, can be assured that the product is safe, with cannabis testing labs providing assurance regarding contaminants and potency. Regulations vary from state-to-state in terms of testing requirements and oversight, and Washington is a state that has come under heavy criticism for its lack of stringency.

A study by Jim McRae has set off a firestorm, as he reported that four of the fourteen labs certified by the state had failed to reject a single specimen during a three month period, while two had rejected 44% for microbial contamination. Similarly, five labs didn’t fail a single specimen for residual solvents.

Several labs and thought leaders applauded the study and urged the Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) to clamp down, including Dani Luce of GOAT Labs, Michelle Sexton of the defunct Phytalab, John Davis of Northwest Patient Resource Center and David Lampach, CEO of Steep Hill.

Lampach believes the LCB is about to tighten lab oversight, something agency officials said would happen last year. A clampdown couldn’t come too soon, he said. Steep Hill, which also operates labs in California and Colorado, is considering pulling out of Washington, he said, because it can’t compete with labs that rubber-stamp results.

Luce and Lampach would like to see proficiency tests, and Lampach suggests that the state use secret shoppers to assure that all the labs are playing by the rules. The WSLCB is aware of the analysis performed by McRae, according to spokesperson Brian Smith.

Read  Bob Young’s “Some pot labs in state failed no pot at all, says scientist”:

Published by NCV Newswire
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