In wake of the rollout for Hawaii’s revised medical cannabis program, lab testing facilities in the state have been working hard to show the world that Hawaii has the best (or at least strictest) medical cannabis regulations in the country. In order to prove that point, the new laboratories have been undergoing rigorous oversight from the State. However, since most of Hawaii’s dispensaries are still working out the kinks before becoming operational, there has been a dearth of legal product for the labs to sample. This has provided a roadblock for the labs needing to showcase the efficacy and sufficiency of their equipment to run accurate tests on cannabis, in order to meet certification requirements of the state health department.

Their solution? They have been testing cannabis product from the unregulated, illicit market, and the results sounds a bit scary. Steep Hill Hawaii, the first cannabis lab testing facility on the islands, has reported over 50% of the illicit market product tested contained mold, pesticides, yeasts and/or other contaminants.

A representative of the facility discussed the issue with Hawaii News Now:

“‘I personally was shocked to find out how much stuff was in black market cannabis that you would never expect. E. coli, which comes from fecal matter. Salmonella, which comes from raw egg and chicken. We found that on product we tested,’ said Michael Covington, of Steep Hill Hawaii.

“‘…the dispensaries weren’t open so we had to go to the black market to try to find cannabis that was clean. In doing that, a lot of times we ran across contamination in people’s samples,’ Covington said.”

“Even if a homegrower does everything right, Covington says there are still many factors that can cause contamination, like Hawaii’s humid weather.”

As we continue to bring cannabis out of the shadows and into the light, we are bound to see some things that we couldn’t see before when our policies were in the dark. Even though the transition to regulatory oversight is a challenge to many growers, it is clear that public health and safety rely on accurate information and shared knowledge.

I guess in that sense….the more you know, the more you grow?

If YOU want to know more about Hawaii’s emerging cannabis program, there is no better place than the International Cannabis Business Conference. ICBC’s Financial Investor Summit is coming to Kauai, Hawaii on December 1-3, 2017, and will feature global experts on all aspects of the cannabis industry, including Steep Hill Hawaii’s Michael Covington, along with internationally-recognized entertainers including comedian Doug Benson and grammy award winners Morgan Heritage. Get your Early Bird tickets today before prices go up on Friday!