Arizona Cannabis Testing Labs

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Does Arizona License Independent Cannabis Testing Labs?

Arizona certifies independent testing laboratories through the Arizona Department of Health Services to test cannabis and cannabis products. Independent testing laboratories must apply for a laboratory registration certificate via the ADHS licensing portal to receive the required certification to test cannabis and cannabis products legally.

Requirements for Marijuana Testing Labs in Arizona

In accordance with SB 1494, an independent testing laboratory applying to test cannabis in the state must be accredited by a national or international body certified by the Arizona Department of Health Services. While the national accreditations sought by independent testing laboratories include those issued by the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Conference (NELAC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the most common accreditation obtained by laboratories is the one issued by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) – ISO/IEC 17025. An ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation attests that a laboratory is considered technically capable of producing accurate test results.

Besides obtaining a national or international accreditation, independent testing laboratories in Arizona are also required to:

  • Meet other requirements established by the ADHS, including reporting and health safety requirements
  • Not have a direct or indirect financial or familial relationship with or interest in a nonprofit marijuana dispensary or related marijuana business entity or management company
  • Not have a direct or indirect financial or familial relationship with a caregiver for whom the laboratory is testing marijuana and marijuana products in the state
  • Have an acceptable records retention process to preserve records
  • Have a quality assurance program and standards
  • Have an acceptable chain of custody and sample requirement policies
  • Establish procedures for the disposal and reverse distribution of the samples collected by the laboratory

Arizona Required Tests for Cannabis Products

Before selling marijuana or marijuana products to buyers in Arizona, dispensaries are required to test them to determine unsafe levels of:

  • Microbial contamination: All marijuana products must be tested for Salmonella, while all final products must be tested for E.coli prior to sale. All inhalable products must be tested for Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus niger, and mycotoxins
  • Heavy metals: Marijuana products are required to be tested for lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators
  • Residual solvents: Arizona sets acceptable limits for solvents such as hexane, benzene, acetone, heptane, pentane, methanol, butane, isopropyl acetate, chloroform, ethanol, xylene, toluene, 2-propanol, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, ethyl ether, acetonitrile, and propane
  • Potency: Marijuana products must be tested for THC-A, THC, CBD, and CBD-A

How Do Arizona Marijuana Testing Labs Submit and Report Test Results?

While SB 1494 requires independent testing laboratories to report the results of laboratory testing to the ADHS and patients, there is no statewide reporting system as required in many other states. In an October 2022 publication, the ADHS medical marijuana testing advisory council recommends that laboratories report test results to the ADHS via a tracking system, such as METRC, or by email.

How Much Does It Cost to Test Cannabis in Arizona?

Cannabis testing costs in Arizona vary depending on the test type, laboratory, sample quantity, and other factors. Typically, the following cost ranges apply for cannabis tests in Arizona:

  • Potency test: $40-$120 per sample
  • Residual solvents: $60-$120 per sample
  • Pesticide test: $100-$180 per sample
  • Microbial test: $80-$150 per sample

What Happens to Cannabis Products That Fail Lab Tests in Arizona?

Arizona’s law allows for the remediation of cannabis products that fail laboratory tests in some instances. However, if a product does not qualify for remediation or fails re-testing, such a product and other products in that production batch must be destroyed.

List of Cannabis Testing Labs in Arizona

There are currently fewer than 20 cannabis testing laboratories approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services to test cannabis products in the state.

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