Understanding Compliance When it Comes to Testing

Written by Jenny Germano

All products are tested prior to sale, is that enough to keep you and your customers safe? 

It doesn't matter what type of license you have, understanding the role of the testing lab and how the collection of samples, the transport of samples, and the testing of samples is related to your compliance processes is important. 

Testing labs are subject to the same rules as all other licenses but additionally need to follow a set of laboratory regulations that are not part of the state cannabis system. Internal compliance in the lab helps them fulfill their obligation to provide accurate results in a timely manner. Labs can also fall victim to some of the same pressures that force other types of license out of compliance. Pressure to inflate potency numbers is the most common, but failure to complete all microbial tests, or lack of data security can cause loss of integrity and failures that lead to recalls and major marketplace disruptions.  Thing to look for include:

  • Labs certified by ISO 17025 (the industry standard of lab operations)
  • Integration that has results automatically transmitted to clients and state authorities.  
  • Required samples are collected in a professional manner from your facility. 
  • On time performance for turnaround of results. 

Besides the full panel tests that are required to allow the sale of products to consumers, Growers and Manufacturers will need to do potency and terpene tests at various stages of the product development to verify their processes. Working closely with the testing lab on these additional types of tests will allow the organization to accelerate new product deployment in the marketplace. Dispensaries should also regularly spot test products on their shelves to verify testing details that appear on the label. This is especially important with new suppliers and new testing labs.  

However the testing lab integrates with your operations, make sure that there are specific SOPs that detail the interactions, the more you document your involvements with the testing lab the chances of disruptions from recalls and other actions from the state can be minimized. If you understand the types of tests that the lab is doing and why and how the results appear on the label or in the seed-to-sale software, you can be proactive. 

Regulations for testing change regularly and there is no standard across licensed markets but generally the required tests include, Pesticides, Heavy Metals, Residual Solvents, Microbial Analysis, and Cannabinoid Profile. Optional additional tests that may be requested from the testing lab include, Terpenes, and Expanded Cannabinoid Profiles including CBG, THCV, and others. The testing lab has normally invested close to one million dollars to obtain the equipment required to perform the testing listed above and is usually committed to quality service. Partner with the testing labs that provide the services you need, to develop a relationship that will benefit both your companies and the marketplace.