Michigan’s laboratories lead the way to better marijuana

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Legalizing medical marijuana in the state included a provision to require testing labs

When medical marijuana use became regulated in Michigan, it was done so only with the proviso that the state would launch testing facilities for safety compliance. Several laboratories have already received licenses to operate and are helping to drive cleaner marijuana that is free of a number of contaminants that are proven to be harmful and provide an indication of the potency of marijuana-derived products. Ultimately, this information will be included on package labels.

Michigan’s labs test for how much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) are found in the products. They also ensure that the products don’t contain mold, fungus, bacteria such as salmonella or other contaminants. After September 15, all marijuana-based products in the state have to be tested prior to distribution.

One of the first labs to receive a license in the state is PSI Labs. According to the company’s executive director, Kris Krane, “The goal is so consumers know what they’re buying.”

Testing isn’t just limited to inside the lab, either. Random field tests of harvests will also be conducted. “We can test at multiple points, but the vast majority of testing we’re going to do is after the harvest, after it is dried and cured,” explains PSI’s Ben Rosman.

Back in the lab, the staff members examine marijuana buds through a microscope in order to search for mites, mildew and fungus, which are commonly found on marijuana plants. If any indications are found that a plant has been infected or infested, the entire harvest will be prohibited from the market. The exception is with the flowers, which could still be used for other testing purposes, such as checking for heavy metals or pesticides.

Medical marijuana has been legal in the state for the past ten years; however, it has not been regulated until this year. Businesses must now request a license to grow, test, process or sell marijuana.