In early 2016, Dr. Jim McRae, founder of Straight Line Analytics, roiled the Washington cannabis industry with allegations of rampant cheating by licensed cannabis testing labs who were boosting THC potency results to grow cultivator clients. Unfortunately, the problem persists, as an industry group has alleged a potential bad actor, the state’s leading lab, Peak Analytics, which it believes is artificially boosting THC results and underreporting microbial contamination, using data provided by McRae as well as other evidence.
Leafly has provided excellent in-depth analysis of the story, which includes a complaint filed by the Washington Cannabis Laboratory Association on April 10th. The Cannabis Alliance, aware of the issues, had reached out to its members through a letter in late March, and McRae published “Peak Potency — Lab Friendliness is back with a gusto!” on his blog days later. The company believes its scientific methods are valid.
The Washington laboratory industry controversy raises many important issues that extend well beyond the state. THC claims that are too high defraud consumers, hurt other testing labs and harm producers and retailers who don’t play the game and go with the friendly lab. Not reporting microbial contaminants can kill consumers, especially medical patients with compromised immune systems. It’s good to see the industry in Washington take on this issue, and hopefully Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) will take steps to better oversee the labs.
Read Tobias Coughlin-Bogue’s “Leafly Investigation: Is Washington’s Top Cannabis Lab Inflating THC Numbers?”: https://www.leafly.com/news/industry/leafly-investigation-washingtons-top-cannabis-lab-inflating-thc-numbers