Steep Hill Halent lab director Joseph Evans analyzes test results on products from Dr. J's, a Denver-based edible cannabis manufacturer on Thursday, March 6, 2014. (AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post)

Editorial: How much THC is in those brownies? Edibles industry in need of oversight

In the fledgling industry of retail marijuana, some glitches are expected, but that doesn’t mean they should be accepted.

A recent Denver Post investigation into potency claims of certain marijuana-infused products (MIPs) revealed blatant misstatements by the manufacturers.

Some edibles with labels saying they contained 100 milligrams of THC had less than 1 milligram when tested independently by The Post — a grossly fraudulent depiction.

Imagine if those levels were double what was on the label. And what about medical patients seeking the remedies that a particular potency is supposed to provide?

Read the original report: THC levels in edibles in Colorado’s legal marijuana industry

One manufacturer shrugged off the findings, saying laboratories often give varying results. In fact, this is a big deal. If people cannot believe in the product descriptions, it throws the entire industry into question.

Voters who approved Amendment 64 were often told by proponents that marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol. Just as bottles of booze should be trusted to identify the alcohol level, marijuana products should have the correct THC potency.

Buyers should beware until at least later this spring, when state rules go in effect. On May 1, retail marijuana manufacturers must test their infused products for accurate potency.

Later in the year, more testing rules go into effect, mandating testing on smokable, infused and concentrated marijuana products for potency and contaminants.

The testing facilities aren’t state-run. They are private operations certified by the state. Only three now exist, but another three are expected to be approved later this year.

Mandatory testing of all products will likely fill those labs with plenty of work, and industry officials fear a backlog. They also worry that the expenses of these controls could increase the price and send customers back to the black market. Yet, if Colorado is to have a credible marijuana retail industry, this is exactly the kind of oversight necessary.

See the actual tests: See every one of the 36 tests conducted by state-licensed Steep Hill Halent of Colorado on behalf of The Denver Post and The Cannabist

Read the story behind the story: How did the THC testing report come about?

Cannabis community reaction: Some stunned, angry, curious; plus exclusive comments from the veteran chemist who conducted the THC tests