EDIT: 11/9/17 This post has been corrected thanks to edits from Marygold Laboratories. They do a full suite of tests using both LC and GC and set up the lab with $1.1 billion as opposed to $11 billion.
The state of Arkansas continues to move forward with legalizing medical cannabis. There are currently 300 applications to fill the 32 spaces reserved for dispensaries and 5 reserved for cultivation facilities. Before any cannabis can actually be sold in these stores it has to be analyzed for potency, bacteria, and more in AR licensed testing labs.
Marygold Labs has been quality testing beer in Arkansas for some time, and now they’ve opened up their expertise for cannabis analysis as they vie for one of the licenses that will be granted to testing labs. With Marygold entering the space that makes three testing labs planning to open their doors to the brand new cannabis industry.
As quoted by Little Rock News Source KATV COO Daniel Sanders stated, “In the realm of safety, some of the things we’re testing for is pesticides, testing for microbial contamination, mycotoxins – these are things that are not safe for you to ingest, especially in a medical market that’s huge. When you’re working with HIV patients that are immunocompromised, you don’t want mycotoxins in their system.”
At the end of 2017, Marygold will be prepared to test for potency, mycotoxins, bacteria, pesticides, heavy metals, residual solvents, water activity, and moisture. Like many other successful testing labs, Marygold is currently building their methods for cannabis analysis.
The Arkansas analytic laboratory is taking other state’s successful lab testing, discussing with the Arkansas Department of Health, and addressing expectations from the scientific community as they structure their testing methods. For potency, they will be using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). For edible cannabis products, Marygold will run solvent and homogeneity tests alongside many other tests that use LC and GC.
Marygold Laboratories is also currently pursuing ISO 17025 certification but until the first cannabis plant hits the soil they will be unable to do so. The 3500 square foot laboratory will eventually house $1.1 million in quality machinery including the HPLC mentioned above as well as GCMS, LCMS, and Inductively Coupled Plasma Atomic Emission Spectroscopy. The complete buildout of this facility is expected to be complete at the beginning of 2018.
As the third in a trio of testing labs in the state, it seems that Arkansas is going to be prepared to launch their medical cannabis program by 2018.