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California Testing Facility Falsified Records Could Lead to Cannabis Recall

December 7, 2018

California marijuana retailers could be facing a massive cannabis recall after a well-known testing facility surrendered their license due to falsified records and faulty equipment. Sequoia Labs out of Sacramento voluntarily surrendered their cannabis business license after a compliance inspection by the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The BCC’s investigation led them to the lab director, Marc Foster, who is no longer with the company. Under his supervision, the testing facility fail to test and report several of the required pesticides commonly used in cannabis cultivation because the testing equipment wasn’t functioning. Excluding one third of the testing requirements is more than enough to have the business license revoked.

Faulty Testing Equipments and Falsified Records

Sequoia Labs addressed the situation on Instagram saying, “During a BCC inspection on Tuesday, November 27, it was discovered that pesticide testing here at Sequoia Analytical Labs was not in compliance with BCC regulations. 22 of the required 66 pesticides, primarily, Category 2 pesticides, were not being correctly tested due to a faulty instrument. It was further discovered that the Lab Director knew about this and was secretly falsifying the results in order to issue COAs from July 1 to November 27.”

Due to the extended period time that products were being insufficiently tested, the BCC is strongly considering issuing a recall of all products that were tested by Sequoia Labs during this time frame. They have not officially release a statement, a recall of this magnitude could cause some major waves for marijuana distributors and retailers as they would have to notify consumers and destroy any product that was tested by Sequoia Labs.

Cannabis Samples Lost

The general manager of Sequoia Labs, Steven Dutra, stated that, "As ownership and management, we were blindsided by this." While this may be true, it’s hard to know who knew what and when. The testing facility has already hired a new lab director and acknowledged that they are, “already hard at work making the needed changes to the instrument and revamping procedures.”

Unfortunately, distributors that submitted samples for testing just prior to the BCC investigation will not be allowed to retrieve them from the testing lab to be sent elsewhere. Sequoia Labs is one of the 43 state licensed cannabis testing facilities in California so this investigation should have sweeping effects throughout the industry.

Cannabis Product Recalls

Most distributors have already found new testing facilities where they can submit their samples but all licensed laboratories will likely conduct internal reviews to ensure all equipment and records are up to code. The BCC is diligently enforcing cannabis regulations to set a precedent as California’s recreational cannabis industry develops.

If a recall is issued for cannabis products tested by Sequoia Labs, marijuana dispensaries who use advanced dispensary software can notify customers and identify products affected in their inventory. IndicaOnline’s point-of-sale tracks every product and sale in case recalls ever occur so that consumers can notified.