California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) has revealed that a random sampling of products seized during a three-day enforcement operation against unlicensed cannabis retailers in Los Angeles in December of 2019 was found to contain undisclosed additives as well as incorrectly-listed THC levels.
During the operation, the BCC seized more than 10,000 vape pens, 11 illegal firearms, and more than two tons of cannabis products valued at over $10 million.
The BCC coordinated with other state agencies and the City of Los Angeles for the operation which also resulted in 125 arrests.
According to the BCC, a random sampling of cannabis products seized from unlicensed cannabis retailers during the operation were tested and found to contain potentially-dangerous additives that were undisclosed on the label and significantly lower THC levels than indicated on the packaging.
“The prevalence of dirty and dangerous vape pens at unlicensed cannabis stores demonstrate how important it is for consumers to purchase cannabis goods from licensed retailers, which are required to sell products that meet state testing and labeling standards,” says BCC Chief Lori Ajax. “We urge consumers to scan the QR code to confirm that a business is licensed.”
The California Department of Public Health tested a portion of the cartridges and found that 75 percent contained undisclosed additives and cutting agents such as Vitamin E, Vitamin E Acetate, Propylene Glycol, Polyethylene Glycol, and Medium Chain Triglycerides.
Some of the tested vape cartridge samples contained more than 30 percent cutting agents.
The BCC says that nearly all of the samples were incorrectly labeled with regards to THC content.
One cartridge’s THC content was listed at 80-85 percent but actually contained just 33 percent.
Another cartridge label claimed that the product inside was 90.66 percent THC, but only contained 40 percent.
Some of the tested cartridges contained no more than 18 percent THC.
In December, the BCC unveiled a voluntary program that encouraged cannabis retailers to display their unique QR Codes in their shop windows where customers would be able to scan them and verify the store’s licensed status.
The BCC recently announced that it was working to make the QR Code program mandatory for cannabis businesses.