As the California cannabis industry prepared for a rigorous, state-mandated testing regime that took effect on July 1, the laboratory director at Sequoia Analytical Labs in Sacramento allegedly went rogue.
According to officials with Sequoia and California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC), Sequoia’s lab director—unbeknownst to anyone else at the company—began falsifying reports for hundreds of batches of cannabis that went out to retailers. He said the batches passed tests for 22 pesticides, even though the tests allegedly were not done.
The fraud continued and wasn’t detected until Nov. 27, when the Bureau of Cannabis Control, made suspicious by the odd format of submitted test reports, mounted a surprise inspection of Sequoia. The lab director, Marc Foster, immediately owned up: “He flat-out told them, ‘I faked it,’” according to Steven Dutra, Sequoia’s general manager.
Dutra fired Foster the next day. Dutra said he has no idea why Foster faked the reports. The testing equipment wasn’t working, and Foster told the company, “I just kept thinking I was going to figure it out the next day,” according to Dutra.