New recommendations for medical marijuana testing in Arizona could increase prices

An Arizona panel recommended stricter medical marijuana testing procedures and if approved, it would mean medical pot would get more expensive.
Published: Dec. 15, 2022 at 8:03 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -There are new recommendations when it comes to testing for medical marijuana in Arizona. This week, a council of industry experts submitted its thoughts to the state health department. The Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association is made up of several people who work in the medical marijuana industry. One of them, Steve Cottrell, says there are vendors who are working around the current rules. “It’s very easy for someone to spike a sample before it goes into a testing dispensary,” he said. “Instead of having a beer, it’s a shot of Everclear.”

That’s a big reason why Cottrell says testing changes are needed. Some cultivators can choose the sample they want tested and the labeling may not accurately show how strong a product is. Right now, the person who tests the marijuana is given a sample chosen by the vendor. If it tests and is higher in potency, they can sell it for more money.

If the new recommendations are approved, the tester would have a larger batch to work with, and they would choose the sample to test, not the vendor. Cottrell says that would level the playing field and prevent cultivators from working around the current rules. “People were concerned on behalf of the industry. There are a lot of people in this space who are not playing by the rules when it comes to testing.”

Mint Cannabis COO and cofounder Raul Molina says the changes would increase testing costs. It would take longer, and the process would be more tedious. Molina says the cost would be passed on from the vendor to the supplier or dispensary. The higher price would then be passed onto the person buying the product. “The times and the cost are probably the two biggest factors people are going to complain about, but at the end of the day we should be trying to put out the best product possible.”

Cottrell says other dispensaries are against the new rules as they don’t want prices to rise, but Molina says he understands the idea. “They’re taking it for medical reasons and we need to make sure we’re putting the best product in front of them. I welcome anything that pushes the industry and puts it in a position like any other industry.”

MITA sent the recommendations to the state health department. The leader will review them once Governor-Elect Katie Hobbs chooses someone to lead the health team. Arizona’s Family will let you know if they are approved. Click here to review the report from the Arizona Marijuana Industry Trade Association.