Maui Lab Gets Green Light on Medical Marijuana Testing

October 17, 2017, 11:52 AM HST · Updated October 17, 11:52 AM
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Pharmlab Hawaii LLC, a private independent laboratory on Maui, has been given the green light to begin testing medical cannabis from Hawai‘i’s licensed medical cannabis dispensaries and registered patients and caregivers.

The Hawai‘i Department of Health granted Pharmlab Hawaii a provisional certification after the laboratory successfully passed its final onsite inspection and met requirements that demonstrate it has the capacity and proficiency to test cannabis and manufactured cannabis in compliance with state law.

Pharmlab Hawaii is the second laboratory to receive DOH approval for medical cannabis testing. The first laboratory, Steep Hill Hawaii, received its provisional certificate in July. DOH anticipates that a third company, O‘ahu-based Aeos Labs, which is operated by Clinical Labs of Hawaii, could be ready for an on-site inspection by January 2018.

Pharmlabs’ provisional certificate is expected to help meet the demand for safe and legal medical cannabis from dispensaries for registered patients on Maui.

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“With a certified laboratory now on Maui, dispensaries will no longer have to transport cannabis samples to O‘ahu for testing, which could potentially reduce costs and allow for faster approval time,” said Wanda Chang, DOH environmental health analytic services branch chief. “Dispensaries also now have a choice of laboratories for testing cannabis plant material.”

A laboratory is restricted from handling, testing, or analyzing cannabis or manufactured cannabis products until it is certified by the state. Under 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 Hawai‘i.

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 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); compounds 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 meet the accreditation standards of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawai‘i 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 Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island, Maui or O‘ahu may apply for state certification online.

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