Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office has suspended the production license of one of the state’s few edible companies following claims their products were making it to shelves untested.
The Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office is an agency that falls under the umbrella of Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development which is tasked with protecting consumers in Alaska, in this case, marijuana users. Last week they announced their enforcement team had discovered that most edible products being produced in Frozen Budz licensed manufacturing facility were not tested as required by law before being transferred to retail marijuana stores and sold to consumers.
“The products are labeled as having 5 mg of THC per serving, but in reality, each serving may have a great deal more THC,” Erika McConnell, director of the Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office said in a statement. “Additionally, the products have not been tested for contaminants such as bacteria, fungus, or mold. Consumers who have purchased products made by Frozen Budz should be aware.”
As of the beginning of 2017, Frozen Budz had 41 products approved for distribution by state regulators. That is a crazy high number of edible products for any single provider, but of course, the state would contend they’re definitely not watered down.
We reached out to McConnell to ask how Frozen Budz products had come under the scrutiny of her enforcement officer.
“We have learned that some of Frozen Budz’s products were not tested (as required) before being offered for sale to the public. We are still investigating the extent of the situation,” she told Cannabis Now via email. “Our regulations, at 3 AAC 306.550, require that a sample of each production lot (”a group of marijuana products that were prepared at the same time from the same batch of marijuana, using the same recipe or process”) of marijuana products be tested for potency, homogeneity, and microbials (3 AAC 306.645). The seed-to-sale tracking system records the testing, so we can see whether or not it happened.”
We asked McConnell if this case arose from a specific batch with no affiliated lab data that the state could see in the seed to sale system.
“Many batches,” she replied.
We reached out to Frozen Budz for a comment on the situation and have yet to hear back.
Lab testing continues to be a hot topic in Alaska. The day before announcing the Frozen Budz suspension the control board established their Testing Working Group. The goal of the working group is to address all of the testing concerns the industry has, consider regulatory issues brought forward by the agency’s staff, and to evaluate marijuana testing regulations in Alaska Administrative Code
“After a year and a half of implementation, it is time to take a comprehensive look at what’s working and what isn’t in the testing regulations to ensure that consumers are getting accurate information,” said Brandon Emmett, the board member who will chair the working group.
The working group will be made up of the state’s labs, representatives from the dispensary and cultivation sides of things, Department of Health and Social Services staff, Department of Environmental Conservation staff, Department of Public Safety crime lab staff, and a representative from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
“Because protecting public safety, health, and welfare is one of our agency’s goals, we value this opportunity to have experts work together through some of the testing issues that have arisen,” McConnell said in a statement on the working group. “The working group will provide important information for the Marijuana Control Board to consider.”
The effort is expected to produce a report in summer 2018 that will cover standardization of sample preparation methodology, sample selection, amount of product to be tested, proficiency testing, and the required tests for various products.
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