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Oregon Cannabis Labs Are Now Required to Test For Heavy Metals and Microbes

By Leo Bear-McGuinness

Published: Mar 01, 2023   
A cannabis bud in gloved hands.

Image credit: iStock

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Some new cannabis testing rules have just become mandatory in Oregon.

In addition to the tests they already carried out, all cannabis labs in the state must now test cannabis materials for heavy metals and microbiological contaminants if the material was harvested or manufactured on or after March 1.

So, in total, labs in Oregon are now required to test cannabis for pesticides, water activity, cannabinoids, delta-8 THC, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and microbes.

For some labs, the addition of the latter two tests will necessitate new equipment, protocols, and training. But for the labs that already incorporated heavy metals and microbes testing, March 1 is just another day.

“It’s business as usual,” a spokesperson from Columbia Laboratories – a Portland-based lab that also carries out food and environmental tests – told Analytical Cannabis in an email.

“We’ve been performing microbiological and metals analysis in food, water, and soil matrices for nearly 30 years. A few years back we added Hemp and Cannabis to our ISO 17025 accreditation and recently added them to our TNI [The NELAC Institute, a federal environmental lab] accreditation due to the recent rule change in OR [Oregon].”

Other labs have had to adapt a bit more recently.

“We’ve been scrambling to put an addition on our lab to accommodate the new instrumentation and then go through the validation, accreditation, and licensure process,” Josh Wurzer, chief compliance officer, told Analytical Cannabis in an email.

“We’re still waiting for our final accreditation from the state ahead of the deadline and we are busy pre-testing products for our customers to ensure they don’t have any surprises with the new tests come March 1.”

“SC Labs has been really excited to see Oregon catch up to the rest of the country in regards to quality control requirements for cannabis products. I was a member of the Rules Advisory Committee that helped provide feedback to the state in drafting the new testing rules so this has been a few years in the making for us.”

Under the updated rules in Oregon, certain processed cannabis products, such as concentrates, will not have to undergo some tests, such as those for water activity.

Further details are available in a bulletin published by the Oregon Health Authority.


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