Marijuana: How will testing of cannabis products and edibles work?

As we wrote yesterday, the state is still ironing out details in the new laws written for both the recreational and medical marijuana industries, including hash-making regulations. But that's not all.

Officials are also discussing edibles rules for both recreational and medical users, production caps for the recreational industry, and details of state lab testing of cannabis and cannabis products. Public comment will be taken on these proposed changes Novenber 18. Below, we highlight some of the things still up in the air.

Production management Regulators are trying to figure out just how much cannabis everyone will be able to legally grow once recreational sales come around. Another curve ball involves how much cannabis to allow transitioning medical marijuana centers to use.

As it stands now, the plant count medical stores are at now will probably dictate the one they'll use after they transition. The same goes for MIPs going through the same process. From the proposed rules:
For example, if 100 patients had designated a Medical Marijuana Center as his or her primary center at the time a Retail Marijuana Store license application was submitted, then no more than 600 plants be cultivated by that Retail Marijuana Store at its designated Retail Marijuana Cultivation Facility(-ies) at any one time, regardless of the total number of Retail Marijuana Cultivation licenses associated with that Retail Marijuana Store.
Edibles There's only one area of proposed change to existing medical and recreational edibles manufacturer rules: Whether or not to require all owners and licensees to take a food handling course before doing business for both medical and recreational manufacturers. The course has to be accredited by the National Restaurant Association.

Otherwise, the rules that went into effect October 15 would remain the same.

Testing In addition to the testing requirements specifically established for concentrates, which we discussed yesterday, the state is also testing every other type of cannabis product for sale. Most interesting are the additions to the section on state testing of cannabis that include defining "pesticides" as well as "residual solvents." The latter is used to describe materials left behind in the production of marijuana concentrates and includes butane, propane, heptane, ISO, Ethanol, Glycerin and CO2.

Testing would require companies to turn in a test batch to the state at random; the sample would then be put through a number of tests for pesticides and other contaminates. The proposed language additions would require samples to be tested for molds, mildew, other filth and potency. The cost of the testing will be borne by the retail shop from which the products were taken. If the batch fails contaminate testing, the store would have to destroy it. That includes plant material, flowers, edibles, concentrates, everything. Violating the rule won't land you in jail, but it will likely count as a strike against your public safety record as a company and isn't going to look good come renewal time.

Recreational cannabis grow facilities would have to identify all pesticides, herbicides, fertlizers and other chemicals not only on packaging, but in filings with the state, as well. If shops use the same process for all strains, they can submit one report. If different strains are treated differently (which they usually are), each will require its own report. The state MED would have to sign off on any plans.

Pot growers will also face random sample testing which, if failed, could result in the loss of the entire batch. We assume that would mean anything from just one plant failing due to some mold to rejecting an entire harvest because someone didn't flush out the chemicals well enough. The proposed rules would also require growers to have their product tested before selling it to a retail facility. They would have to have it tested for potency before sale, too. Strains would be tested a minimum of four times from four different harvests before totals can be released. After that, grow facilities would have to conduct potency testing on each of the strains once a year.

The process is essentially the same for both recreational and medical marijuana sales and production.

Continue to read three original documents outlining the proposed rules.

Retail Mandatory Testing and Random Sampling Draft Language

Retail Edible Product Production Draft Rule Language

Language for Interim Production Cap Working Group

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Inside proposed rules for hash and concentrates production."

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes