Growing Pains

“Are you in?”
“Sure. Deal me in. Wait. What are the rules?”
“We’ll figure it out as we go.”

Recreational legalization of cannabis in the United States began six years ago. Currently, nine states have passed legislation allowing for the recreational use of marijuana. Each of these states require laboratory testing and are working toward the same goal of implementing and administering a system of best laboratory practices, appropriate methodologies, and analytical controls that will provide accurate and defensible quality assurance testing on cannabis prior to product reaching the public. Although many have testing requirements that are similar, no states have established identical programs.

Many routes can lead to the achievement of the shared industry-wide goals; however, regulations and requirements need to be firmly established. Some states are working with incomplete or contradictory standards. Some newly established programs may be working from draft standards that can change on a daily basis. Inconsistencies can lead to difficulties for testing laboratories to maintain compliance with the regulations.

RJLG recently worked with a laboratory that had its certification suspended due to a lack of compliance to State regulations. In this instance, the regulations that governed the laboratory had not even been defined yet when the laboratory initially received its certification. Draft requirements were circulated after the laboratory received its suspension. Given the rate at how quickly the cannabis industry is growing, situations similar to this may become more and more common.

RJLG worked with this laboratory to establish and provide training on processes and procedures that meet basic requirements of any regulatory program, as well as meet the specific requirements mandated by State draft guidance. Within three months of working with our team of experts, the lab’s certification was reinstated and the doors reopened for business.

Requirements for testing cannabis vary from state to state, but the fundamentals of good laboratory practice remain static regardless of each state’s specific regulatory requirements. By establishing good laboratory practices, executing all operations under the controlled system, and monitoring your laboratory’s compliance to those policies, you will be holding all of the cards while operating in a complex, ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

Tammie Mussitsch

About Tammie Mussitsch

Tammie Mussitsch is the Corporate Quality Manager, providing leadership for both our Monroeville and Pasco locations. She has over 10 years’ experience in Quality Systems Management and development. She is currently responsible for ensuring compliance to numerous regulatory requirements including ISO/IEC 17025, FDA, NELAC, AIHA, DOECAP, NVLAP, & ASCLD. Tammie is also the Project Manager and Lead Auditor for the Washington State Laboratory certification program for cannabis testing laboratories. In this role, she provides assistance to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis board, as well as testing laboratories in interpreting and executing the requirements of quality assurance testing as dictated by WAC 314-55-102.