Oregon has issued the first licenses to marijuana testing labs, a central part of the state’s regulated recreational market.
Regulators have been worried about the lack of licensed labs to meet a state requirement to test marijuana for pesticides and potency before it can be sold.
Without enough labs to test a large volume of samples, growers risk not getting their products onto the market.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission on Friday licensed Pixis Labs and Green Leaf Lab. Both can begin testing, said Mark Pettinger, a liquor commission spokesman. Both are in Portland.
Pettinger said the agency expects to license four more labs by Oct. 1, when the state plans to begin rolling out regulated recreational marijuana sales. Currently, marijuana must be tested before being sold in medical marijuana dispensaries but labs are not subject to oversight.
In all, 17 labs have submitted applications to the state, according to the latest data from the state. The labs must undergo a separate state accreditation process before they can get a license from the liquor commission.
Officials don’t know exactly how many samples will need to be processed weekly to keep stores stocked. Already the state has issued nearly 200 producer licenses, most of them to large-scale grow operations.
The liquor commission’s own analysis estimates that labs will test about 2,500 samples each month to meet demand, figures based on the experience in Colorado and Washington.