Marijuana: State-approved labs can't test private pot samples
State medical-marijuana testing labs licensed by the Marijuana Enforcement Division can no longer accept and test private samples dropped off by patients and caregivers. Legally, they're only allowed to test marijuana from state-licensed marijuana facilities.
Courtesy Steep Hill-Halent Facebook page
Officials say the move keeps the state out of the federal government's cross-hairs by maintaining a tight lock on marijuana inventory. But it also punishes home-growing patients who want to know what they are putting in their bodies and prevents objective, third-party tests from being conducted on products currently for sale.
According to the MED, the rule has been in effect since October 15, 2013. But it wasn't being followed -- at least not so strictly that the Denver Post wasn't able to get independent tests done on edibles as recently as March through Steep Hill-Halent, a MED-licensed lab. DOR officials haven't admitted that those tests, which showed an embarrassing lack of oversight on behalf of the MED, spurred the sudden enforcement of the rule and announcement of the change. But the timing is curious and brings up another point: Westword (and the Post, as well as any other media outlet) will no longer be able to do our own independent tests at state-verified marijuana labs.
Caregiver-grown Super Silver Haze.
The MED's justification? It says its marching orders come straight from the federal Department of Justice guidelines that outlined priorities for federal prosecutors when debating whether or not to prosecute otherwise state-legal cannabis operations. In particular, the MED points to the stipulation that says measures have to be in place to prevent diversion.
"In order to successfully implement and regulate the retail marijuana industry, the Department of Revenue must have a secure and reliable way to track all marijuana inventory that is sold to the consumer," notes Natriece Bryant, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Revenue, in an e-mail. "It would be a violation of regulation for the Retail Marijuana Testing Facility to accept test samples from those not licensed to sell marijuana.
"The department's primary concern is to ensure safe products are being sold to the consumer as well as allowing for the availability of data should the department ever have to discuss or disclose aggregate data to the media, public or health officials."
Continue for more about state-approved labs and marijuana testing, including additional photos.