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Stephen Gerlach, Pure Canna Organics co-founder

"All I want is a lawful full-panel COA; is that too much to ask?”

After cannabis and hemp growers have harvested their flowers, they have to submit those to a lab for testing. Indeed, regulations demand that cannabis and hemp flower are free of heavy metals, chemical residues, mold, toxins, and so forth. With regards to hemp, this test serves to also understand if the flower is in line with the <0.3% THC rule. When it comes to smokable hemp, these elements are particularly important. After the test, the lab issues a certificate of analysis (COA) to the grower, which companies require before buying from them. However, apparently a number of hemp growers do not provide the COA when selling their flowers. This is the experience of Stephen Gerlach, co-founder of Pure Canna Organics. “We specialize in White Label and Wholesale of Full spectrum Hemp Extract (CBD) for many companies,” he explains. “All our hemp extraction is done in our lab and all products contain natural ingredients. That’s because the thing that I care about the most is to provide my customers with clean and safe products.”

“After all the issues with vape products arose, I decided that I could not put at risk my customers’ health. Therefore, I wanted to try to market smokable hemp. This is when my tragicomic story begun.”

And thus it started
“I have contacted and I have been contacted by a great number of hemp growers, and all of them assured that their product was tested, and the results were positive,” he recounts. “When I want to buy hemp flowers, I always ask for a full-panel COA, where not only the flower potency is reported, but also the alleged heavy metals, toxins, mold, and so on. So, this hemp grower sent me a COA which looked good, and I bought 150 lbs of that. However, when I had it tested in my own lab, I found out that that hemp was full of heavy metals and pesticides. Needless to say, I cannot sell that, and therefore all those 150 lbs went to waste.”

Thus, Stephen kept looking for growers from whom to buy smokable hemp flowers. However, the hassle was not over yet. “Countless, countless hemp growers contacted me,” he says. “And only an incredibly small number of them were able to provide me with a full-panel COA. On the other hand, a great number of them did not even have a COA, or they sent over a potency COA only, which is good, but it is not what I ask for: I want a full-panel COA where I can see not only the potency, but also the heavy metals and pesticides content.”

But the most tragicomic part of his story had yet to happen.

An apparent difficulty in sending the COA
“Another hemp grower sent over their COA, and it looked very good,” Stephen says. “So, I told them that I was going to call the lab that conducted the tests to double check. This is nothing unusual, I always do that. However, the grower immediately asked me not to call the lab, so I asked them why not. They told me that they were going to send me a different COA, then. It did not make any sense: I stopped the deal immediately and kept looking elsewhere for buying smokable hemp flowers.”

Stephen believes that this young industry is full of opportunists whose only goal is to make as much money as possible. “This is just so wrong,” he says. “You cannot put at stake people’s health for personal revenue. There are very good hemp growers out there, but it seems as if a great number of them is just trying to exploit grey areas of the law, not taking into consideration at all how their flower can be potentially dangerous to customers.”

Not always growers' fault
At the same time, Stephen does not blame hemp growers necessarily. “Some hemp growers, for instance, have their farms near Christmas tree farms,” he explains. “These farms carry out a lot of aerial crop dusting, and the wind could blow this to the organic hemp farm nearby. In other words, it’s not always the hemp grower’s fault; sometimes it is a combination of factors that inevitably taints their products.”

“I am not entirely sure if I will keep carrying on my smokable hemp project,” he says. “I am still waiting to find a hemp grower who submits a full-panel COA to me, but it seems almost impossible to find. The law states that smokable hemp flowers must have a specific percentage of THC, and that they should not contain any heavy metals, pesticides, and so on. All I want is a lawful full-panel COA; is that too much to ask?”

For more information:
Pure Canna Organics
Pure Canna Organics CBD
7129 E. Main St., Suite 1
Mesa, AZ 85207, United States
(480) 771-8470
purecannaorganics.com