PHOENIX — State lawmakers are moving to ensure medical marijuana patients know what they are getting — and getting what they paid for.
On a 7-1 vote the House Committee on Military, Veterans and Regulatory Affairs approved legislation Monday to require the Department of Agriculture to test what is being sold at state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries. What the agency is looking for includes mold, disease-causing bacteria and "other harmful adulterants.''
SB 1420 also would require testing for other chemicals used in the growing of the plants or in the processing, whether into a product to be smoked or as a liquid, edible, vapor or tincture. In that case, however, the drug could still be sold as long as consumers are made aware.
And the legislation would require that whatever is sold be properly labeled, a requirement that would include the amount of both THC, the psychoactive element in the drug, as well as other beneficial chemicals like CBD oil.
Separately Monday, the full House voted 52-5 to make it illegal to sell medical marijuana or products that are in packages that are "attractive to minors.'' That includes the use of a cartoon, images of minors, or symbols or celebrities that are commonly marketed to minors.
That vote on HB 2064 came over the objections of Rep. Pamela Powers Hannley, D-Tucson, who said the language is "way too vague'' and would put a burden on small businesses that produce edibles and other marijuana products. And she said there are other solutions to the problem.
"If you don't want a child to get a THC-infused gummy bear, you keep it locked up,'' she said. That bill now goes to the Senate.
In testifying on the testing bill, Sen. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, told colleagues that the state is long overdue in coming up with some safeguards.
Voters approved a measure in 2010 to allow those with certain medical conditions to obtain up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from a dispensary. But Borrelli pointed out that no one is protecting consumers.
"It's pretty much the Wild West out there,'' he said. "To do nothing is not the answer.''
The legislation now goes to the full House.