OMMA discusses marijuana potency

LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) – With recreational marijuana going up for a vote in March, people are concerned with the potency of marijuana.

Lee Rhoades is the Chief Science officer for OMMA, he’s in charge of the lab department responsible for monitoring lab testing and compliance. He said the agency’s testing process is the same for all products in Oklahoma.

Any product being sold in the state must receive a certificate of analysis. This is done by testing a sample from every batch being created.

Rhoades said he’s had conversations with colleagues in other states, and they all agree marijuana potency has increased in the past years.

“Edibles, creams—you have always gotten a wide spectrum of THC potency in those, but the flower themselves does seem to be moving up,” said Rhoades.

OMMA was created after medicinal marijuana was legalized in 2018, so the agency is still new. They started with a new data collection system in May of last year and the closer monitoring has helped with their research.

“We have a much more comprehensive set of data to look at,” he said.

He said in 2021 marijuana samples contained an average of about 18.6 percent of THC percentage but samples in December 2022 had increased around 3.3 percent overall.

Rhoades said industry reports state the effects of marijuana vary from person to person.

“What constitutes high levels is what your body is used to,” he said.

Rhoades said the state question doesn’t specify whether or not the potency for marijuana would have a cap if it was legalized.

“I can tell you that across the country there’s really only a couple of states that do put a cap on THC content in their adult use recreational programs,” said Rhoades.

The agency released a statement saying they can’t make comments specific to state question 820 due to state laws that prevent state employees from influencing elections but said, “… if voters approve the measure. We will be ready to comply with state law if that happens. Oklahomans can rest assured that the dedicated public servants on our staff will rise to the occasion.”

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