Lab Testing Regulations for Cannabis State-by-State (A-C)

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Written by Cara Wietstock

Understanding cannabis law is a complicated business right now, but being familiar with lab testing regulations doesn’t have to be.

The cornerstone of recreational & medical cannabis legislations regarding all products is laboratory testing & analysis. This is why each state scrambles once they legalize to put rules in place regarding what residuals and potencies labs must test for that will protect the public’s health. There is currently a total of 24 states operating medical or recreational marijuana programs so there are 24 different variances of regulations put on mandatory state lab testing. Since this complication can make a mess of understanding legal cannabis we wanted to break down the medical cannabis testing regulations for each state, this post represents laws from Alaska to Connecticut alphabetically.


Each harvest batch of cannabis grown in Alaska must be submitted for testing according to 3 AAC 306.455. The flower must be separated by strain and then a random sample of each taken, one individual should be in charge of collecting each sample. This individual should be prepared to sign a statement showing each sample that has been selected for the cannabis testing facility and maintain a copy for their own business records. While this sample is being tested the origin batch may not be sold or distributed. It is to be stored in a cool, secure, and dry location to maintain flower efficacy. The origin batch may only be touched once a written lab result has been received from the testing facility. If it is impossible for a sample to be transported to a facility an applicant may propose other means of meeting these requirements.


Though Arizona runs a tight medical cannabis program when it comes to their facility monitoring and labeling laws, they currently have no state-mandated testing for cannabis products.


Legislators in California refer to each batch as a lot, and according to Section 19344 of Bill 266 dictates that a laboratory must report on various factors of the lot with supporting data. The chemical profile of the lot must report on the chemical makeup regarding Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA), Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), the terpenes described in the most current version of the cannabis inflorescence monograph published by the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and any other compounds required by the State Department of Public Health. The lab analysis should also include whether any processing chemicals, residual solvents, foreign material (hair, insects, etc.), Microbiological impurity, including total aerobic microbial count, total yeast mold count, P. aeruginosa, aspergillus spp., s. aureus, aflatoxin B1, B2, G1, or G2, or ochratoxin A at levels that are lesser of either the most current version of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia monograph or the State Department of Public Health. The laboratory must also check that the batch is within specification for odor and appearance.


With their newest regulations effective July 2016 the Division Authority may require that a test batch be submitted to a specified Medical Marijuana Facility to perform investigations, compile data, verify compliance, or address any public health or safety concerns. The sample sizes must be specified both for marijuana concentrates and cannabis flowers. If the sample size is smaller than the Medical Marijuana Facility has specified they can reject that batch. Similarly, a laboratory cannot accept a sample that is not submitted in compliance with Division sampling procedures and/or not collected by Division personnel.

If for any reason flower, concentrates, or edibles fail a contaminant test the facility must immediately notify the business that submitted the sample and report the failure in accordance with all Inventory Tracking System procedures. If contaminant levels exceed those that have been established will be considered a fail, the Division has the right to determine whether or not a batch harms public health and safety. For the levels of contaminants determined too high refer to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

For all cannabinoid testing the cannabis testing lab must only perform tests as dictated by the Division’s Medical Marijuana Testing Facility Certification Policy Statement. In reporting these results all cannabinoids should list one percentage that represents an average of the results from all of the samples. For samples of Medical Marijuana infused products results should be reported by listing a total of milligrams contained within the unit that is for sale. These results should affirm that THC is homogenous and the amount of each cannabinoid present. All ready to sale medical marijuana flower must also be tested for potency, variances can be no higher than 15%. If THC tested is not homogenous throughout the samples the sample will be considered a fail. Non-homogenous samples are set if 10% of the sample portion contains more than 20% of the total THC levels.


In Connecticut all cannabis is harvested into homogenized batches according to Sec. 21a-408-58 in the laboratories section of Regulations for State Agencies. A laboratory employee then selects samples from each batch at the production facility to test for microbiological contaminants, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticide chemical residue. These homogenized batches must be stored in a cool, dry, and sterile place until laboratory results come back showing compliance. Laboratories are meant to immediately destroy all samples after testing or research according to 21a-408-64 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. If a sample fails any microbial test based on the testing regulations set forth by the state of Connecticut the producer must dispose of the entire batch with out any sales or production. Failed tests will be recorded by laboratories in accordance to section 21a-408-70 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. If the sample passes all of this testing then the entire batch will be released for sale, production, and manufacturing purposes. Producers will always supply lab results when selling product and these results should be on display the entire time that the product is on sale in the establishment.

Stay tuned, next Monday we will be starting with the laws in Delaware and travel all the way to Maine to understand the various laboratory regulations in legal cannabis states.

About the author

Cara Wietstock

Cara began working in the retail cannabis industry of San Francisco, CA in 2011 and continued in that sector for years. In 2015 she dedicated herself to writing full-time. Her passion for the written word and deep respect for the healing properties of the plant have brought her to Terpenes and Testing magazine. She now helps keep us on the cutting edge of scientific cannabis discovery as the Editor-in-Chief of the print publication.

1 Comment

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