A state lawmaker has drafted legislation that would require medical marijuana products to undergo independent tests for safety and accurate labeling for the first time in Arizona.
State Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu, said he intends to introduce the bill later this week.
Unlike most states with medical marijuana programs, Arizona does not establish contaminant standards for cannabis or require that cannabis products be tested in any way. A report last month by CBS 5 Investigates found mold on medical marijuana sold in the Valley that would not meet standards set by other states.
Borrelli’s legislation would require dispensaries to disclose all chemicals and pesticides used during cultivation on product labels. Independent labs authorized by the state would confirm the accuracy of those labels through testing. The certified labs would also specifically test for mold.
“This is supposed to be medicine. Let’s treat it like a medicine,” Borrelli said. “The patient has a right to know what's in their medicine.”
The labeling requirements would take effect Jan. 1, 2019. If tests determine the labeling is incorrect, dispensaries would be required to correct a product’s labeling before sale. Borrelli said the accurate labeling requirement would also apply to THC content.
“If they’re going to advertise 20 percent THC and it gets tested at 5 percent, they need to re-label,” he said.
Borrelli’s bill would also require that all medical marijuana products be sold in childproof containers.
The Lake Havasu Republican said he has been working with stakeholders in the medical marijuana industry for some time and expects to have bipartisan support, but the bill will face an uphill battle.
Under Arizona law, it’s difficult for the Legislature to make changes to voter-approved initiatives such as the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. To pass, the bill will need a supermajority: approval by three-fourths of both the House and the Senate.
“I’m actually very confident we will be able to get this accomplished,” he said.
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