Medical Marijuana Testing Labs


Recent reforms to California’s medical marijuana laws can be incredibly complicated to comprehend. For anyone interested in starting a medical marijuana business, it is important to speak with an experienced cannabis attorney to learn how to navigate California’s complex set of rules.

Contact Jessica McElfresh today at (858) 756-7107 to learn more about your options for opening a medical marijuana business.

Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.

The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is made up of three bills (AB 243, AB 266, & SB 643) and is intended to govern all commercial medical marijuana activities, including laboratory testing. Under MMRSA, all medical marijuana must be tested before it is made available to the public.

Under MMRSA, the California Department of Public Health is responsible for developing testing standards for medical marijuana labs. The agency will also oversee the licensing and registration of testing labs.

Legal Requirements Under MMRSA for Medical Marijuana Testing Labs

MMRSA requires any person engaging in commercial medical marijuana activity to possess both a state license and a local permit or authorization. Under AB 266, a “testing laboratory” means, a facility, entity, or site that offers or performs tests of medical marijuana or medical marijuana products and is:

  • Accredited by an accrediting body that is independent of all other persons involved in the medical cannabis industry in the state.
  • Registered with the State Department of Public Health.

To achieve accreditation under MMRSA, testing labs must meet the competency requirements established by the International Organization for Standardization, specifically ISO/IEC 17020 and ISO/IEC 17025.

Testing Requirements Under MMRSA

While most of the details for testing requirements will be developed by CDPH, AB 266 does contain some general specifications including:

  • Medical cannabis from dried flower shall, at a minimum, be tested for concentration, pesticides, mold, and other contaminants.
  • Medical cannabis extracts shall, at a minimum, be tested for concentration and purity of the product.

MMRSA also contains requirements for how samples must be analyzed, including the reporting requirements regarding both the quality and safety of the product.

Who is Eligible for a Testing License?

The license applicable to testing labs, is Type 8. To be eligible for a state license, the applicant must hold a local permit or authorization. Testing laboratories must be independent of others involved in the medical marijuana industry, meaning that a person who holds a testing license cannot own or have an ownership interest in a facility licensed under MMRSA. Testing lab owners cannot be licensees in any other category.

Controversial Aspects of MMRSA

According to the requirements under MMRSA, licensed medical marijuana cultivators and manufacturers must deliver their products to a distributor who will inspect the product to ensure its identity and quantity. The distributor is then responsible for making sure that a Type 8 licensed laboratory tests a random sample of the product before it goes to a dispensary.

If the sample meets the safety standards established by the CDPH, the lab will issue a certificate of analysis and return the product to the distributor. One of the most controversial aspects of MMRSA is that licensed cultivators must cover the costs of testing and that distributors are entitled to charge for such expenses.

How a San Diego Medical Marijuana Lawyer Can Help

If you’re considering opening a medical marijuana testing lab, the legal requirements of MMRSA can seem overwhelming. The experienced San Diego medical marijuana attorneys at McElfresh Law understand the nuances of the licensing process and can explain the steps you need to take to be in compliance with state and local laws. We have extensive experience helping entrepreneurs get approval to operate their medical marijuana business.

Contact us today at (858) 756-7107 to learn about how we can help.

This website is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship. Free consultation for criminal defense cases only. Cannabis business consultation requires a fee.