The state Department of Health has certified the first cannabis testing facility in Hawaiʻi, paving the way for dispensaries to now begin testing their products to sell to qualified patients.
The Hawaiʻi Department of Health granted Steep Hill Hawaiʻi, a private independent laboratory on Oʻahu, a provisional certification on Monday after the laboratory passed and met requirements that demonstrate it has the capacity and proficiency to test cannabis and manufactured cannabis in compliance with state law.
The Steep Hill laboratory can now begin testing medical cannabis from Hawaiʻi’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and registered patients and caregivers.
Representatives with the Maui Grown Therapies dispensary on Maui say samples from its production center are on their way to Steep Hill for testing.
Assuming the Maui products pass all required tests, only one final retail inspection is required before Maui Grown Therapies is allowed to officially open their dispensary for sales. The facility at Maui Lani in Kahului plans to announce a soft opening date within the next several days.
“We realize that registered patients and caregivers and some of the licensed dispensaries have been waiting for a laboratory to become operational to test medical cannabis prior to consumption and sale. This is a major step forward as it allows the dispensaries to now begin testing their products to sell to qualified patients,” said Keith Ridley, Chief of DOH’s Office of Health Care Assurance, who oversees the medical cannabis dispensary program.
Currently, a laboratory is restricted from handling, testing, or analyzing cannabis or manufactured cannabis products until it is certified by the state. Under the interim administrative rules governing the medical cannabis dispensary program, certification allows a laboratory to conduct specific tests required to ensure the safety of products sold to registered patients in Hawaiʻi.
“Certification follows a rigorous scientific process that requires meticulous attention to detail and constant refining to ensure product and patient safety,” said Chris Whelen, chief of DOH’s State Laboratories Division. “Our State Laboratories Division team is currently working closely with two other private independent labs to help them obtain certification. They are continuing to submit or resubmit their validation studies for certification.”
Officials say that to receive certification, a laboratory must submit validation studies to demonstrate it is capable of conducting testing with consistent and accurate results for the following areas: cannabinoid profile (including THC), compound that are considered “active ingredients,” heavy metals such as arsenic, pesticides, solvents, moisture content, microbial contaminants, intestinal bacteria and pathogens, dangerous molds that can cause infection and disease, and toxins produced by molds. In addition, a laboratory must also meet the accreditation standards of the International Organization for Standardization.
Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaiʻi are required to have their products tested for safety by a state-certified independent laboratory prior to sale.
Laboratories interested in providing testing for medical cannabis on Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, or Oʻahu may apply for state certification here .