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First two Massachusetts labs for recreational marijuana begin operations, testing



BOSTON—The Cannabis Control Commission (Commission) has authorized two independent testing laboratories to start testing marijuana and marijuana products for the adult-use cannabis industry as Massachusetts prepares to open the first retail establishments on the East Coast.


On Wednesday, MCR Labs, LLC and CDX Analytics, LLC received notices to commence operations after they satisfied specified conditions, passed inspections, fingerprinted lab agents, and became established in Metrc, a mandatory seed-to-sale tracking system that records and verifies when production batches have been tested. The Commission’s authorization gives laboratories a minimum of three calendar days to coordinate opening day logistics with their host community, local law enforcement, marijuana establishment colleagues, and other essential stakeholders before adult-use operations begin.

“When Massachusetts voters legalized adult-use cannabis, they communicated a desire to purchase products that are safely regulated and properly tested,” Commission Executive Director Shawn Collins said. “The Commission has done scrupulous due diligence to make that vision a reality and ensure licensed independent testing labs maximize public health and public safety.”


MCR Labs and CDX Analytics already test Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD) inventory under the Medical Use of Marijuana Program managed by the Department of Public Health (DPH). Chapter 55 of the Acts of 2017 requires adult-use marijuana and marijuana products to be tested by Commission-licensed laboratories before they are sold in Massachusetts. RMDs that obtain a marijuana establishment license from the Commission may transfer existing medical inventory for adult-use sales if they can demonstrate it has been previously tested by either lab and the products comply with the Commission’s regulations.


Licensees must have products and environmental media tested according to DPH standards including the Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Finished Medical Marijuana Products and Marijuana-infused Products and the Protocol for Sampling and Analysis of Environmental Media for Massachusetts Registered Medical Marijuana Dispensaries. When testing reveals any product contamination that cannot be remediated, laboratories and establishments must notify the Commission within 72 hours and dispose of the batch.


The Commission requires independent testing laboratories to be accredited to the International Organization for Standardization 17025 (ISO/IEC 17025:2017). Laboratories also must be financially independent from any licensee for which they conduct a test and are not permitted to hold another type of license.


In total, the Commission has approved 64 provisional licenses of which 12 final licenses have been approved toward implementing the adult-use cannabis industry in Massachusetts. One of the final licenses has been granted to Northeast Alternatives in Fall River. Prior to final licensees obtaining a notice to commence operations for cultivation, product manufacturing, or retail, they may submit existing inventory to laboratories to begin testing.

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