SACRAMENTO — A marijuana testing lab in Sacramento has been shut down after it was found to have been falsifying lab tests.
It was one of only four marijuana testing labs in Sacramento.
“They told us they saw an irregularity in the reports being submitted,” said Steven Dutra, the general manager of Sequoia Analytical Labs.
Last Tuesday, investigators from the Bureau of Cannabis Control found the lab’s director, Marc Foster, had been falsifying reports since July. Not a single batch of marijuana inspected there was tested at all for 22 specific pesticides they’re required to be checked for.
“We were told by our lab director that all these new pesticides had been set up and that all was going well with that,” Dutra said. “Of course, we found out last Tuesday that was not the case.”
Dutra said Foster was let go the next day.
“As ownership and management, we were blindsided by this,” Dutra told FOX40.
The damage has been done. He estimates about 700 batches of pot, up to 50 pounds each, have been shipped out without proper lab testing.
Tracking down all that cannabis won’t be easy.
“If we ever find that a product has not passed lab testing or has been contaminated we’ll pull it from the shelves right away,” said A Therapeutic Alternative’s Executive Director Kimberly Cargile.
A few years ago, many dispensary owners, like Cargile, dealt directly with Sequoia Analytical Labs and could easily track all the marijuana in her shop tested there.
On Monday, because of new state regulations, it’s now distributors that make sure all of her product is lab tested. Cargile has no idea which labs test which products.
Sequoia Analytical Labs ship out to between 30 and 40 different distributors, according to Dutra.
Essentially, now the state will treat the situation like a recall.
Cargile said she’s just thankful the Bureau of Cannabis Control caught the mistake.
Dutra said Sequoia Analytical Labs will fully cooperate with the state and hopes to get its operating license back by Jan. 1, this time with a new lab director.
“The lab director is our top guy,” Dutra said. “I think if there’s a lesson learned is that that top guy should not be operating any particular tests but should be overseeing them only.”
The Bureau of Cannabis Control would not issue a comment when asked about the situation. FOX40 tried to call and reach out via social media to Foster but did not receive a response.
Less than 3 percent of pot tested on average has any pesticide contamination, according to Dutra, so there’s a possibility little to no marijuana has any negative effect.