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Montana Cannabis Lab Closes Due to State-Software Concerns

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Oct 02, 2023   
A gloved hand holds a cannabis bud in front of a screen.

Image credit: iStock

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The owners of a cannabis testing lab in Montana have shut the business down out of concern that a software, required by the state’s regulators, may be inadvertently approving un-tested cannabis.

Ron and Kristine Brost, who own Stillwater Laboratories, told the Daily Montanan that the recent increase in sales statewide since the implementation of recreational cannabis should have resulted in an equally large increase in testing. But that expected bump wasn’t seen in the data, they say.

The METRC software, according to the Brosts, has a glitch that can spread the test results of a five-pound cannabis sample over 50 pounds, thereby leaving room for un-tested cannabis to go under the radar.

“METRC doesn’t care,” Ron Brost told the local paper. “It’s a multi-state program.”

The state’s cannabis regulator has said that action is being taken to close any state-specific loopholes.

“Harvest test lots identified in the report where tested lot quantities exceeded the five-pound lot requirement, and greater than five pounds of flower sourced from these test lots was sold at licensed dispensaries are being considered for further investigation and possible enforcement action,” Kristan Barbour, the director of the state’s cannabis program with the Department of Revenue, told the Daily Montanan.

Barbour said the department is working with the software company to fix any glitches and hiring more staff members to oversee Montana’s emerging recreational cannabis industry.

“We are working on updating testing and lab rules, creating and refining data analytics for better monitoring of testing results, and identifying areas where further investigation is warranted,” she said.


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