Are California’s New Marijuana Lab-Testing Rules Too Onerous, Expensive?

While it may seem as if there’s a random art to determining the strength of various cannabis products, there’s not. Growers, dispensaries, and even individual patients can send their merchandise to testing labs, who can test everything from potency to pesticide presence and terpene levels.

But in a way, the process is kind of arbitrary. To date, California doesn’t monitor testing procedures, and while there are some standardized practices, the results really just depend on the lab.

The state’s Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation is hoping to reign in these differing models by proposing a set of regulations on the testing industry, which it announced last month.

According to the guidelines, labs will need to be certified by the International Organization for Standardization.

The rules also moderate technician training, storage techniques, and what factors will need to be tested — twice, every time.

In a statement provided to the Express, Dr. Robert W. Martin, co-founder and CEO of Oakland’s CW Analytical lab, applauds the state’s efforts, but finds them to be onerous and expensive. And he says they lack the proper barriers for proper quality assurance.

“Many levels of detection recommended by the state are at such low levels [that] many analytical processes will have difficulty providing accurate results,” he explained. “Overall, the regulations, as proposed, will chase many lab operators out of the business as well as growers back to black market pursuits.”

The rules aren’t final yet, and the state is waiting on public input before making firm decisions; the public comment period lasts through June 20.

Martin is hopeful that organizations like the Association of Commercial Cannabis Laboratories and NORML will have their opinions on the matter heard and reflected in any changes.

“These regulations alienate and discourage our emerging industry rather than offering a portal to legality that is rational and simple,” he argued.

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