Cannabis Lab Loses License After Falsifying Results

By Bryan Le 12/10/18

The move has created something of a bottleneck as Sequoia Analytical Labs was one of only four cannabis testing labs in Sacramento.

scientist doing a test in cannabis lab

A Sacramento cannabis testing lab, Sequoia Analytical Labs, has lost its license after a surprise inspection by state regulators. The lab, it turns out, had been falsifying data, with 22 out of a required 66 pesticide tests having made-up data.

According to Sequoia Analytical Labs’ general manager, Steven Dutra, state regulators came in on a surprise inspection of the facility and found that some of the lab equipment was faulty. The lab’s director, Marc Foster, knew that the equipment was faulty and said as much to the inspectors when asked where the data had come from.

“When they asked the lab director where his data came from, he honestly told them, ‘I faked it,’” said Dutra.

Foster was fired and the lab lost is license. The impact of the faulty equipment goes back about five months, with around 700 samples passing through without actually being tested. Despite this, Dutra says that the risks these 700 samples pose to consumers is slim, considering only 3% of the product ever fail the pesticide tests. And if anything has happened, it probably would have already happened by now.

“Much of the product is just gone and probably already consumed,” Dutra concluded.

As of now, no recalls have been put out by any regulatory body as a result of the incident.

“Basically, everything is being taken care of by the state,” said Tommy Pawloski, dispensary manager at Sacramento’s All About Wellness. “If there is a problem, the state will let us know.”

While the lab’s shutdown was necessary, the move has created something of a bottleneck as Sequoia Analytical Labs was one of only four testing labs in Sacramento. There are only 44 such labs serving the entire state of California. With one less lab in play, the industry could be looking at a shortage of products on the shelves.

“The shortage of labs has really created a bottleneck in the supply chain across the state,” commented Joe Devlin, head of cannabis policy and enforcement in Sacramento.

Sequoia Analytical Labs has since hired a replacement for Foster and hopes to get its license back by January 1st.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter