Michigan may establish state-run cannabis testing lab to aid industry oversight

Michigan may establish state-run cannabis testing lab to aid industry oversight

The state regulatory agency says it needs clearer authority for the move.

Michigan marijuana regulators want state lawmakers to approve a new bill that would give final authority to cannabis industry overseers to build and staff a state-run testing lab to help police the industry.

The lab has been in the works for nearly a year, with the most recent state budget allocating $2.8 million for the lab and another $1.6 million annually for its operation and staffing. But the state Cannabis Regulatory Agency maintains it needs more explicit authority, so lawmakers are running a bill to give it to them, The Detroit News reported.

Still, it’s unclear if the lab will become a reality, because the bill in question needs to garner three-fourths support of lawmakers in both the state Senate and House of Representatives because it would amend the 2018 voter-approved measure that legalized recreational marijuana.

The bill has yet to be voted on by the House Regulatory Reform Committee, The News reported.

The CRA maintains that the lab is necessary to ensure that the agency can effectively oversee cannabis companies.

“No unbiased, third-party testing lab currently exists in Michigan to provide objective standards for licensed safety compliance facilities to follow,” CRA spokesman David Harns told The Detroit News. “The reference lab will assist in industry standardization by optimizing and verifying standard methods and will improve oversight of the cannabis industry by enhancing audit and investigative capabilities.”

Thus far, the CRA has ordered some lab equipment, but has not yet begun construction on the lab. If the lab moves forward, it will be built in the state capital of Lansing – where the CRA is headquartered – and will be run by five staffers.

The proposal itself has divided the Michigan cannabis industry, with one high-profile private testing lab vocally opposing the move, while a prominent marijuana trade group has thrown its support to the suggested lab.

Greg Michaud, the CEO of testing lab Viridis, blasted the state-run lab idea and asserted the state cannot be “fair, impartial, and transparent,” but his company has been involved in litigation against the CRA over an immense product recall in 2021.

By contrast, a spokesperson for the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association – which represents 400 marijuana companies – said the trade group’s members are “adamant” that a state-run lab would improve enforcement and ensure a level playing field.

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