Medical Marijuana Testing on the Way to Becoming Law

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Starting this summer, medical marijuana products will be required to undergo testing by certified facilities, much the way that recreational products are currently tested. Last week the Colorado House passed House Bill 16-1064, which will enable facilities to get a medical marijuana testing license in anticipation of that testing, and the state Senate passed the proposal on March 8.

"This brings testing in line with the other three MJ business types — stores/centers, grows and marijuana-infused products — that have both medical- and retail-license types," says Daniel Rowland, communications adviser for Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses.

The House passed the bill the same day that Denver City Council met to discuss a proposed cap on the number of marijuana facilities in hopes of curbing oversaturation and encouraging medical licensees to switch over to recreational. 

Right now, only recreational marijuana is required to undergo certified testing in the state. The original legislation for medical marijuana, which sunset in the middle of last year, was followed by passage of  HB 15-1283  in June. That bill set up a state-operated reference library for testing methodologies and put in place the medical testing slated to begin this summer. 

"I think it's great that medical is finally being tested," says Jeannine Machon, owner/founder of CMT Laboratories LLC.  "Lab owner or not, it's about time. It should have always been tested...because the patient deserves to know exactly what they're getting dosed."

Testing facilities like Machon's will need to submit the appropriate paperwork to be certified for medical marijuana testing, and also pay an additional licensing fee. The amount of the fee has not yet been determined and will depend on the state's application and licensing process, according to Rowland. 

"This was kind of a clean-up bill," says J. Paul Brown, who represents the 59th District. La Plata County, one of the six counties in Brown's district, had requested that he sponsor the bill. This was Brown's first marijuana bill, and he says it was a safety issue: "We need to be able to test the product so the consumer knows exactly what they're getting." 

Because pot is still illegal at the federal level, retailers cannot mail products out of state for testing, Brown points out; therefore, in-state facilities must be available.

The bill now moves to Governor John Hickenlooper.

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