Reading this article it looks like there’s a lot of litigation heading the industry’s way..
Five Thirty Eight website report
Keegan Skeate was working the night shift when he first heard about the scam. The 26-year-old was only a few months into his new job at Praxis Laboratory, a Washington state lab that conducts consumer safety tests and THC potency analysis for legal cannabis products. During one quiet shift in 2018, a fellow lab technician walked over to Skeate and told him that she thought someone was manipulating her test results. She said that the numbers in her spreadsheets looked irregular and the recorded THC potency values were higher than she remembered measuring.
Over multiple interviews with FiveThirtyEight about his time at Praxis, Skeate explained what happened next. When he reexamined his own test results, he saw a similar pattern.
“I honestly believed her and did think the numbers were changed,” Skeate recently said. “It was a moral dilemma where I really didn’t know what to do. Do you tell someone? Do you quit, or do you just keep working? I kept working and I don’t really think that was the right thing to do.”
That was the spring of 2018. By the end of 2020, Skeate would lose his job, the local police would recommend criminal charges against him for blocking his boss from a company database, and the young software developer would become the latest whistleblower tangled in one of the legal cannabis industry’s thorniest problems: how to stop corrupt pot labs from profiting off manipulated test results.
America’s legal weed industry sold over $17 billion of pot last year and the industry’s obsession with THC, pot’s most famous intoxicant, has created financial rewards for every marginal increase in THC potency. Weed shoppers use THC percentages like nutritional labels, purchasing products based on their THC content, yet the lab system entrusted with measuring the compound is vulnerable to corruption. Laboratories across the country have been suspended or fined for manipulating potency results, having deficient procedures for detecting contaminants like mold or faking those contaminant tests altogether.
“THC inflation is pernicious, it’s easy to accomplish and there are strong financial incentives to do it,” said Don Land, a professor of chemistry and forensics at the University of California, Davis, and an adviser to the multistate cannabis lab company Steep Hill. “I believe that it is likely to happen at least infrequently in every market out there, and there’s very little chance that labs would get caught.”
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