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'''License for content''': [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International]
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'''Publication date''': December 2018
'''Publication date''': May 2019
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Revision as of 22:38, 13 June 2019

This last section of the guide provides closing thoughts to tie together what was previously discussed. It also provides a directory of cannabis testing, standards, etc. resources for readers wanting to learn more.

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6. Final thoughts

This guide has attempted to provide insight into various aspects of the current status of laboratory testing of cannabis in the U.S. By extension, it has required a closer look at many non-testing or tangentially related aspects of cannabis, including history, regulations, standards, methods, equipment, and software. The guide has also attempted to look at the potential future of testing, a more difficult feat that has required inspection of—and speculation on—a mix of statistics and politics, as well as government and social policy and how they may all affect the future of cannabis testing. We learned that many point fingers at the U.S. federal government for being responsible for several cannabis-related issues, including lack of clear government support for cannabis research, lack of standardization of testing and analysis methods for said research, and wavering policy that remains inconsistent at best. At root is the fact that the federal government maintains cannabis (and its constituents) as a Schedule I drug, by extension declaring that it has no respectable medical use. This and related decisions have slowed down the academic study of cannabis (in the U.S.), including its analysis, quality testing, and research and use as a medical treatment. The development, implementation, and reassessment of cultivation and testing standards and methods have largely been piecemeal; additionally, those efforts have been enacted in an environment where, despite the legal status in a state, fear that the federal government will inevitably intervene slows progress even further.

Despite these barriers, the speed at which U.S. states have adopted some form of legalization of cannabis has pushed scientists and researchers to collaborate and improve standards and methods. Necessity continues to be the mother of invention, driving those in the industry to adapt or perish in a difficult, inconsistent market. State officials are teaming up at industry conferences and sharing ideas. Non-profit organizations are joining forces with major standards agencies to expand and improve good laboratory practices. Researchers—whether on their own or with the help of others internationally—are learning more about the various cannabinoids and their interaction with terpenes, driving new insight into potential therapeutic remedies. Overall public perception about marijuana consumption and use is gradually shifting towards a positive light, even when so little is still understood about the long-term ramifications of its use. Commercial interests are taking notice, and so are international treaty makers. All of this adds up to forward momentum in the cannabis industry, with warts and all.

Many factors will affect the future of cannabis regulation, testing, and research; in the process, we're certain to see both ups and downs as political and social climates continue to change. However, as marijuana consumption and hemp-based manufacturing methods continue to see expanded support, consumers and manufacturers, as well as all those involved in between, will always clamor for a safer product that is "as advertised." Laboratory analysis will play an important role in that effort, whether it's in the medical research lab, the quality control lab, or the manufacturer's lab. It will be imperative for all interested parties to further work together to ensure methods are sound and standardized in a realistic and beneficial way to ensure that in the end consumers will get the best possible product available.

7. Resources

Key reading

Reference material

  • ElSohly, M.A.; Radwan, M.M.; Gul, W. et al. (2017). "Phytochemistry of Cannabis sativa L.". Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products 103: 1–36. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45541-9_1. PMID 28120229. 

Law and regulation

Standards and guidance


New York State Department of Health:

Accreditation and certification

Publications and blogs

Education and training

Scientific conferences and trade shows

Associations, organizations, and interest groups

Template:Associations, organizations, and interest groups

Consultancy and support services

The following entities are known to provide consulting and support services of various types to cannabis testing labs (as well as cultivators, dispensaries, etc.):

Licensed cultivators

Template:Licensed cultivators

Testing labs and pricing info


Flag of Canada.png
The following are licensed cannabis testing labs, as reported by Health Canada.[1] Note that some of these laboratories are not stand-alone laboratories accepting samples but rather in-house labs testing for R&D or manufacturing programs.


British Columbia


New Brunswick


Nova Scotia


Prince Edward Island




United States

Flag of the United States.png
The prevalence of testing laboratories in any given state depends on a few factors: legalization status, state laws regarding testing, and strictness of regulations. Labs typically appear as stand-alone, third-party entities. Though not common, some testing laboratories are located within dispensaries (e.g., Champlain Valley Dispensary in Vermont[2]) and treatment centers (e.g., Sanctuary ATC in New Hampshire.[3]).

The following are known active cannabis testing labs (those currently in the licensing process are not included):








District of Columbia:






Due to an absence of independent testing labs, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture is testing, as of October 2018[6] The Department of Agriculture is jointly working with the LSU AgCenter's Agricultural Chemistry Department to test for the state's fledgling medical marijuana program.[7]






Not clear; independent labs must be approved by Commissioner of Health.[8] Two labs—Aspen Research Corporation and Legend Technical Services, Inc.—were approved to do testing in 2015, but neither lists those services on their website.[9]


Medical marijuana passed in November 2018.[10] In late December 2019, Missouri announced a list of 10 labs that were approved for medical marijuana testing.[11]



New Hampshire:

The state mandates testing, but it's not clear which independent laboratories are approved to do so. Alternative treatment centers may be responsible for own testing. Nelson Analytical, LLC may be licensed to test cannabis in New Hampshire, but it's not clear.

New Jersey:

Cannabis testing is mostly performed by the Department of Health and Senior Services.[12] However, Cannalytics, LLC and Steep Hill, Inc. may also be licensed to test in New Jersey.

New Mexico:

New York:

"The Department's Wadsworth Center Laboratory will perform initial testing and analysis of final medical marijuana products until independent laboratories receive certification from the New York State Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP)."[13]

North Carolina:

North Dakota:

The state mandates that its compassion centers must test cannabis in-house or have it done by a contracted facility.[14] Currently Keystone State Testing, LLC DBA Dakota State Testing is the only option, selected by the state for testing in May 2018.[15]



The deadline for laboratory testing to be mandated got bumped to April 1, 2020.[16]



Rhode Island:

Rhode Island Department of Health began taking applications for testing labs in September 2018.[17] Currently approved is East Coast Labs, LLC. As of February 2020, it's still not clear what laboratories, if any, the state has approved for cannabis testing.


Medical marijuana passed in November 2018 and the state was still working on laboratory testing terms.[18] In November 2019, the application process for laboratories opened up.[19]


The Department of Public Safety "may require laboratory testing of cannabis produced by a registered dispensary. The Department may specify the testing methodology. The registered dispensary shall bear the costs of any testing required by the Department."[20]


West Virginia:

As of late 2018, West Virginia was still working on developing its medical cannabis program. Draft legislation says the Bureau for Public Health will be responsible for approving testing laboratories.[22] An update to its "Growers/Processors/Dispensaries/Laboratories" FAQ was made in February 2020[23], and the application period for such businesses was set to close on February 18, 2020.[23]



Flag of Mexico.png
Recreational cannabis was potentially going to be legalized in Mexico in 2019.[24][25] However, the push to legalize was stalled until April 30, 2020, and it may get pushed back further.[26] Even then, legalization maybe be limited to medical applications, according to statements by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.[27]



  1. "Laboratories licensed to conduct activities with cannabis". Health Canada. Government of Canada. 31 January 2020. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/list-licensed-dealers.html. Retrieved 14 February 2020. 
  2. "Our Quality Commitment". Champlain Valley Dispensary, Inc. http://www.cvdvt.org/products/quality-commitment/. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  3. "New Hampshire Therapeutic Cannabis Laboratory Analysis — Therapeutic Uses". Sanctuary ATC. http://www.sanctuaryatc.org/laboratory-analysis-nh.php. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  4. Flood, C. (15 November 2016). "State contracts medical marijuana tester". Cape Gazette. http://www.capegazette.com/article/state-contracts-medical-marijuana-tester/120159. Retrieved 02 March 2017. 
  5. Cape Gazette (17 April 2019). "Statewide testing keeps medical marijuana safe for users". DelBook.com. https://www.delbook.com/statewide-testing-keeps-medical-marijuana-safe-for-users/. Retrieved 07 May 2019. 
  6. Karlin, S. (23 October 2018). "Louisiana medical marijuana delayed after state forced to do product testing, company says". The Advocate. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_b05f7ca4-d6fe-11e8-b997-8ff7036b6c47.html. Retrieved 27 November 2018. 
  7. Boone, T. (17 April 2019). "Louisiana ag commissioner hopes to get medical marijuana products on approved pharmacy shelves in May". The Advocate. https://www.theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/news/business/article_14dcfe5c-6158-11e9-8480-5b6d2335b4c0.html. Retrieved 07 May 2019. 
  8. Klarqvist, E. (August 2016). "Minnesota’s Medical Cannabis Therapeutic Research Act" (PDF). Minnesota House of Representatives. http://www.house.leg.state.mn.us/hrd/pubs/MCTRA.pdf. Retrieved 02 March 2017. 
  9. "Public Health Laboratory Annual Report: Fiscal Year 2015" (PDF). Minnesota Department of Health Public Health Laboratory. 2016. https://www.leg.state.mn.us/docs/2016/other/160894.pdf. Retrieved 14 March 2017. 
  10. Marso, A. (16 November 2018). "Medical marijuana in Missouri: When—and if—you can get it". The Kansas City Star. https://www.kansascity.com/living/health-fitness/article221302705.html. Retrieved 27 November 2018. 
  11. Holman, G.J. (19 December 2019). "Medical marijuana: Missouri notifies winners of testing lab licenses". USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2019/12/19/medical-marijuana-missouri-notifies-winners-10-testing-lab-licenses/2698035001/. Retrieved 15 February 2020. 
  12. "Medicinal Marijuana Program Rules" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services. 23 November 2011. http://www.state.nj.us/health/medicalmarijuana/documents/final_rules.pdf. Retrieved 02 March 2017. 
  13. "Frequently Asked Questions". New York State Medical Marijuana Program. New York State Department of Health. March 2016. https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/faq.htm. Retrieved 24 February 2017. 
  14. "Initiated Constitutional Amendment No. 5" (PDF). North Dakota Secretary of State. 2016. https://vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/Measures%20Info/2016%20General/Measure%205.pdf. Retrieved 02 March 2017. 
  15. "North Dakota chooses medical marijuana laboratory company". The Associated Press. 21 May 2018. https://www.apnews.com/397eab5555e84454af2833c2763ba481. Retrieved 27 November 2018. 
  16. Office of Communications (14 February 2020). "Laboratory Deadline Set". Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority. http://omma.ok.gov/laboratory-deadline-set. Retrieved 15 February 2020. 
  17. Bentley, J. (17 September 2018). "RI Department of Health Seeking Medical Marijuana Testing Labs". Patch - Newport. https://patch.com/rhode-island/newport/ri-department-health-seeking-medical-marijuana-testing-labs. Retrieved 29 November 2018. 
  18. Utah State Legislature (14 November 2018). "Utah Medical Cannabis Act Overview" (PDF). State of Utah. https://le.utah.gov/interim/2018/pdf/00004612.pdf. Retrieved 29 November 2018. 
  19. "Laboratory & Testing". State of Utah. November 2019. https://medicalcannabis.utah.gov/production/labs/. Retrieved 14 February 2020. 
  20. "Rules Regulating Cannabis for Symptom Relief" (PDF). Vermont Department of Public Safety. 30 November 2015. http://vcic.vermont.gov/sites/vcic/files/files/marijuana-registry/MR-Rules-Regulating-Cannabis-for-Symptom-Relief.pdf. Retrieved 02 March 2017. 
  21. Baird, J.B. (12 June 2018). "Test the potency of your VT homegrown marijuana". Burlington Free Press. https://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/2018/06/12/vermonters-can-legally-test-cannabis-potency/659507002/. Retrieved 27 November 2018. 
  22. Bureau for Public Health (14 December 2017). "Title 64, Legislative Rule, Bureau for Public Health, Series 111, Medical Cannabis Program - Laboratories" (PDF). State of West Virginia. http://dhhr.wv.gov/bph/Documents/MedicalCannabis/Proposed%20Rules/Medical%20Cannabis%20Program%20-%20Laboratories%20-%2064%20CSR%20111%20v1.pdf. Retrieved 29 November 2018. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 "Office of Medical Cannabis". Bureau for Public Health. State of West Virginia. https://dhhr.wv.gov/bph/Pages/Medical-Cannabis-Program.aspx. Retrieved 14 February 2020. 
  24. Hasse, J. (12 February 2019). "This Former President Thinks Mexico Could Soon Be Exporting Cannabis To The U.S., Legally". Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/javierhasse/2019/02/12/this-former-president-thinks-mexico-could-soon-be-exporting-cannabis-to-the-us-legally/. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 
  25. Jaeger, K. (08 February 2019). "Mexican Senate Report Lays Out Marijuana Legalization Considerations". Marijuana Moment. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/mexican-senate-report-lays-out-marijuana-legalization-considerations/. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 
  26. Williams, S. (16 November 2019). "News Flash: Recreational Marijuana in Mexico Is Going to Have to Wait". The Motley Fool. https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/11/16/news-flash-recreational-marijuana-in-mexico-is-goi.aspx. Retrieved 14 February 2020. 
  27. Jaeger, K. (26 February 2020). "Mexican President Wants Focus On Medical Marijuana As Senators Consider Broader Legalization". Marijuana Moment. https://www.marijuanamoment.net/mexican-president-wants-focus-on-medical-marijuana-as-senators-consider-broader-legalization/. Retrieved 28 February 2020. 

Citation information for this chapter

Chapters: 6. Final thoughts and 7. Resources

Title: Past, Present, and Future of Cannabis Laboratory Testing and Regulation in the United States

Edition: Second edition

Author for citation: Shawn E. Douglas

License for content: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Publication date: May 2019