Most California Cannabis Can’t Meet Oregon Standards

Freedom Fighter Farms cannabis buds.
Freedom Fighter Farms cannabis buds.

There is a lot of debate around who grows the best cannabis. If you get marijuana growers together, they can debate for days about various strains, growing mediums and techniques. If you get cannabis consumers from different locations, there can easily be an ongoing debate about the cannabis in their favorite state and even city or region. And don’t even get some folks started on whether they prefer indoor vs. outdoor or sativa versus indica.

It is very common for members of the cannabis community to come down to Oregon and California as #1 and #2, with the spots flip-flopping depending on personal preference. While there are plenty of subjective criteria, science has come forward to declare that a vast majority of the California cannabis currently on the market cannot meet Oregon’s strict testing standards. reported:

Steep Hill found that 83 percent of California’s cannabis products would not meet the testing standards required by labs certified by the Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ORELAP), which gives Oregon the distinction of incorporating the strictest standards of all states with legal marijuana programs.

California’s cannabis products fail largely due to the use of the pesticide myclobutanil, which can turn into toxic hydrogen cyanide during combustion.

“Growers will significantly need to adapt their cultivation operations to address the high prevalence of pesticides, both to meet the state’s new regulations, and to address the growing concerns among consumers about the quality of cannabis they are ingesting,” reads a New Frontier Data press release.

The fact that Oregon cannabis in the legal, regulated system is “safer than food” is great, but it does have some serious drawbacks. These stringent testing standards have increased costs and created a bottleneck in the supply chain that has hurt some patients, consumers and small businesses.

Leafly covered the costs and hurdles facing Oregon’s craft cannabis companies and some of the bureacratic hurdles hindering a quick fix:

“The cost to test per sample can be anywhere from $200 to $400, and you’re testing 30 samples in three lots,” said Ashley Preece Sackett, co-founder of Cascadia Labs. ”The cost for a company can come close to $30,000 just to verify that their products are consistent. And licensees have to continue regular batch package testing after verifying conformity.”

That’s extremely time-consuming for lab employees, added Preece Sackett. “It’s cost-prohibitive for most craft-scale cannabis processors, as many of these business are still in startup mode.”


Mark Pettinger of the OLCC said the agency is “always listening, learning and modifying based upon industry feedback,” so while “some rules may change, other rule changes cannot occur until the legislature meets again in early 2017.” He was unable to say exactly which rules could change and which could not, as some fall under the purview of the Oregon Health Authority.

While the debate around which state that grows the best cannabis will be around until the end of time, it certainly appears that Oregon can stake the claim that its cannabis is the cleanest cannabis on the market. However, the purity of Oregon’s cannabis has a real cost and the state needs to roll back some of these cost-prohibitive, unnecessary testing standards.I can attest that advocates, regulators and state officials are continually working on adapting the Oregon cannabis market to the needs of consumers and businesses. While fixing the over-regulation problem is too slow, I’m personally confident that Oregon will eventually find the sweet spot on regulations, protecting consumers, but also ensuring that the regulatory system isn’t too restrictive for patients, consumers and small businesses.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 105 Articles
Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon's laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony's blogs on are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at as well as


  1. No, Oregon’s testing requirements are spot on. Testing is not unnecessary, it is crucial to promoting health of users. Pesticides are a real issue for users, particularly patients. It is disingenuous to call Cannabis a health or wellness product but then strip away testing to prove its safety. As we move toward a national standard for safety testing, we should be looking toward Oregon as a model. Further, given the profits that Cannabis businesses accrue, whining about spending $30,000 on testing is just criminal. If you’re going to compete with Pharma on the usefulness and safety of Cannabis, you have to step up and at least prove that it’s safe.

    • No, Oregon’s requirements are overly strict, bordering on ridiculous, particularly when you can state “safer than food” as a description..

      When so much marijuana is made into tinctures, heated edibles (which creates and then boils off any of the mentioned cyanids), or processed into extractions, the separation of a carefully controlled medical product and it;s testing needs to be separated from “food use” and recreatioal marijuana

  2. You have more faith in “the powers that be” than I do brother…but I’m in the Bible Belt…the last issue we saw movement on was wether farmer Clyde was responsible for his cow deuceing the watering hole. (FYI Clyde was found guilty…Bessie dueced it good) lol…all jokes aside…it sucks to see the rest of the nation make strides while we haven’t took a real step…

    • The Bible Belt needs more David Simpson type legislators,
      [a former Texas State House rep who authored and introduced HB 2165,
      “legalize it like tomatoes”, marijuana de-illegalization bill in 2015,
      under the Christian basis that…
      “God didn’t make a mistake when he made marijuana that government needs to fix.”],
      or better yet…
      Christian legislators who, (using a biblical basis), to point out how it is
      “against God’s will”, a following of a “Doctrine of demons” to keep
      God’s creation, cannabis, illegal / banned / forbidden.
      (1 Timothy 4:1-4 comes to mind…)

      • And even if Christians don’t personally approve of cannabis use, they should still support it’s legalization, seeing cannabis prohibition as clearly incompatible with the Golden Rule, Jesus’s hardcore rant against hypocrites, the sacred promise of liberty and justice for all, and seeing that it is enforced in a persistently racist manner, which is poisoning police-community relations, and seeing that it is a futile effort with no hope of success, especially taking into account the overwhelmingly pro-legalization views of young voters.

      • It is. My state is one of the ones that has a program that has actually helped nobody. A program that is by any definition useless…instead of a step forward, we took a step sideways and called it progress.

        • Like those USELESS non-psychoactive CBD oil bills
          that just legalizes possession of this,
          (no THC or plant matter),
          BUT still requires residents to travel to a more legal state,
          (such as Colorado), breaking federal interstate commerce
          laws in the process, to actually obtain it…

          • Useless cynical scum laws. It makes my blood boil to think of how they are treating suffering as a game. Bad enough that they treat ‘liberty and justice for all’ as a game and persecute Americans for choosing a far safer alternative to America’s favorite drug (unless you count food or electronic media or religion as drugs).
            Treating medicine as a political and cultural football? They are going to hate themselves in the morning, if they ever wake up and realize all the damage they’ve done that can’t be undone.

          • “They are going to hate themselves in the morning, if they ever wake up…”

            Unfortunately, the politicians writing and / or approving of
            these non-psychoactive CBD oil bills believe that they
            are “doing good”, (by making the “perceived” better choice of
            only approving non-THC forms that do not cause a “high”),
            [because THC’s just too “dangerous”, “addictive”],
            for a very limited number of conditions,
            out of a personal lack of full, complete,
            internationally-vetted scientific knowledge about cannabis.

            And even when they do approve an in-state means of
            producing, providing said “non-psychoactive” cannabis to
            eligible patients, (one state was to have a university’s
            state agricultural department grow it, produce CBD extracts),
            they acquiesce to Uncle Sam, saying,
            “We can’t, it’s against federal law…”,
            (even though they’re vociferous for “states’ rights” on OTHER issues…).

          • Incredibly hypocritical on states’ rights and incredibly hypocritical on freedom, and incredibly disrespectful to the views of the fellow citizens they are kicking in the face.
            And pathetic in their justifications for the electoral college, which they adamantly refuse to acknowledge benefits the same people who already have a huge advantage in the Senate, far more important than the House. They just keep ignoring the way the Senate is heavily rigged in their favor, they just take it for granted that they deserve such heavy special privileges, just like the alcohol gang does.

          • The Senate and the electoral college were INTENDED to get smaller States to join the Union. The smaller States still like it for that reason.

            It is not going away.

            So what to do? You know the rules. (Didn’t Hillary?) Work with them.

            BTW Bill Clinton was a minority President. He got a lower % of the popular vote than Trump.

            If you want to understand politics this is required reading:

            A Thermodynamic Explanation Of Politics

          • Other than the profiteers you need to consider most supporters of prohibition as sincere people. They do actually think that ending Prohibition will bring ruin to the country. They are wrong. But they are not inherently evil.

            If you approach them like that you can make some progress.

          • My comment was entirely about medicinal marijuana. I’m almost happy to debate and discuss with serious people, but at this point the few diehard opponents of MMJ seem to be either hopelessly bigoted against cannabis or hopelessly ignorant or grotesquely greedy. They are obviously trampling on basic American and basic Christian values.
            When’s the last time you came across a reasonable person who was against medical marijuana, or an opponent who was willing to have an honest discussion? Can you really reason with an Andrew Cuomo (who only allowed MMJ in NY because he had no choice), or Wasserman-Schultz, or Krispie Kreme (speaking of lock ’em up)?

          • Yes. But don’t minimize the effect of breaking the psychological barrier and destroying the “no medical use” Schedule.

            The Prohibitionists are giving way. Something they vowed never to do. That is a BIG win. Even if the effect on the ground so far is minimal.

            You destroy an opposing army by holding them at most points and being very strong at the decisive points. Florida was decisive. About 71% for med pot in a State that went for Trump. By simple math at least 41% of those who voted for Trump voted for medical cannabis. It could have been more.

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