Since the August 27 emergency rulemaking and formal announcement from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) around edibles, Trulieve has done what Trulieve does so well. We’ve pivoted, we’ve been nimble, and we were first to submit to the DOH, first to manufacture product, first to sell a TruGel in Tallahassee, and first to sell our TruChocolate, plus brownies and cookies from a partner brand, Love’s Oven, in Destin. We also believe we will be first to consistently supply dispensaries with a variety of products on our shelves – and yes, we mean in all 58 stores.
So, what’s been the hold up since these first sales? Testing is the simple answer – but let’s dive into the weeds and give you a look into what happens behind the scenes so you, our Trulievers, understand the delays.
Because edibles are considered a food product, of course there are safety protocols that were established. This includes what you would imagine with kitchen inspections, quality food products, and testing regulations.
Just before edibles, there was talk about lab testing bottlenecks. Not all companies were third party testing prior to the rules. Trulieve has third-party tested since we started. See more on our testing here. There are four accredited labs and 20+ companies, which means more demand than lab capacity. Labs were already stretched before Edibles exploded onto the market. Here’s where we are today:
Labs across the state are working hard to ramp-up and there are new labs coming online. Unfortunately, the new testing regulations have made it difficult to estimate exactly when shipments will be released to stores. Currently, we have nearly 500,000 products waiting for results. Yes, a half-million products.
The rules require the lab(s) to come to the company to select and collect samples from finished, fully-packaged products. Labs are scrambling daily to retrieve samples and take them back to the labs for testing.
Our batch sizes are relatively small today. Over time, we expect our batch sizes to increase. The smaller batches now, however, mean that in order to test a homogenous batch, as required by the DOH, we are required to send a sample from each and every batch. For example, for every 100 units produced in a batch, 2 units must be tested for homogeneity of potency. The more we produce, the units required to be tested by third-party testing labs multiplies.
Edibles specifically require over 10 tests -- and up to 44 tests per product. The testing for edibles is focused around potency per piece and per unit. The rules are strict in that a product will fail if a single piece tests more than 10mg with no upward variance allowed on potency. This means edible batches can take between 7-10 days for results depending on the type of product. Consistency in the product is key.
There is a light at the end of this tunnel. Labs are working to increase their equipment and personnel but right now are just short on both. We have changed some of our internal prioritization and have expanded labs we work with as well as working with the OMMU to make sure they understand how all of this is affecting supply. With the changes we’ve quickly made, we were able to increase throughput to our stores significantly over the last couple of weeks but there is still a bottleneck we are working through.
Ultimately, safe products are a requirement, and we embrace high standards for our patients’ health and well-being. We just need more testing capacity in Florida. Our main goal here at Trulieve is delivering access to safe, quality goods, in a variety of product types and flavors to our Trulievers . . . and that is coming soon.