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12 Oct 2022

What Are the Cannabis Lab Testing Regulations in Michigan?

In the years since Michigan voters legalized cannabis for medical use in 2008 (and creating the framework for businesses to operate in 2016), dozens of states have followed suit, with many expanding to allow recreational adult use also (as Michigan did in 2018). Each state sets its own rules for a regulated market, including cannabis product testing for consumer safety. And until the federal government moves to deschedule, reschedule or legalize cannabis use nationally, those cannabis lab testing regulations will continue to differ from state to state.


Cannabis Legality in Michigan


The Michigan Medical Marijuana Initiative, known colloquially as Proposal 1, passed in 2008 with 63% of voters in favor. Although it legalized medical cannabis use, the initiative did nothing to provide legal access; there was effectively no legal market to purchase medical cannabis, so while patients could enjoy the freedom to consume, they were unable to make legal purchases.


That changed eight years later in 2016 when lawmakers passed a package of bills known as the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, that provided a pathway for regulated medical cannabis dispensaries to operate in the state. Along with setting rules for cultivation, processing and testing, medical cannabis products were duly taxed, and non-smokable products like edibles were approved for use.


In 2018, the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA), passed with 56% of the vote. MRTMA effectively legalized recreational cannabis and made Michigan the 10th state in the country to approve adult use. Per the initiative, individuals over the age of 21 can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis in public and up to 10 ounces in the home. Home cultivation of up to 12 cannabis plants per household for personal use is also legal. On Dec. 1, 2019, the first dispensaries opened to the public.


Cannabis Testing in Michigan


The Cannabis Regulatory Agency is the state government’s department that oversees cannabis lab testing. The labs—also known as safety compliance facilities—receive licenses from the state that allow them to accept and collect samples from licensed growers, manufacturers, primary caregivers and other licensed cannabis entities. Like other states with regulated markets, the labs mainly test for potency and contaminant levels in cannabis samples. For most of the testing categories, cannabis compliance testing can be split into two directives:


  1. Determining concentrations of the compounds that are considered beneficial and / or desired in the final product.

  2. Ensuring that any unwanted compounds do not exceed state-established safety limits.


Currently, accredited labs in Michigan are required to test cannabis products for the following:


Potency

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆9-THC) level

  • Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol acid (THCA) level

  • Delta-8-tetrahydrocannabinol (∆8-THC) level

  • Cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabidiol acid (CBDA) levels

  • Cannabinol (CBN)


Safety

  • Foreign matter inspection

  • Microbial panel (total yeast and mold, Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, salmonella, total coliforms, aspergillus)

  • Chemical residue (pesticides, fungicides, insecticides)

  • Heavy metals screening

  • Residual solvents levels

  • Vitamin E acetate screening


If a safety compliance facility finds that a sample does not meet state standards for any of the potential contaminants listed above, the producer must either remediate and retest the product in question, or dispose of the entire batch and document the disposal with the Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting & Compliance (Metrc) system used by the state. The Metrc platform “combines advanced software, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology, a dedicated customer support team, and a secure database to track and trace cannabis from growth, harvest, and processing to testing, transport, and sale.”


PSI Labs is Michigan’s first safety compliance facility to hold both adult-use and medical licenses. To learn more about cannabis lab testing regulations in Michigan, preserving safe consumer access to cannabis or to get your own cannabis sample tested, contact PSI Labs today.

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