One of the goals of Michigan’s new medical marijuana laws was to increase product safety, and so, one of the five available commercial licenses are for compliance labs. The law is not totally specific as to what the compliance labs will do, nor are they entirely specific as to what types of testing will be required. Consequently, LARA is charged with the role and responsibility of “filling in the gaps” and this is done through the promulgation of administrative rules. The full set of administrative rules are due out in December 2017.
In the meanwhile, LARA has released an advisory that assists compliance lab licensees in understanding what type of testing will be required and allows other license holders to know when testing is optional or required. According to this advisor, LARA has indicated that testing must occur in the supply chain at the following points:
After harvest: Harvested marihuana must pass required tests before it is transferred from a grower to a processor or a provisioning center. The nature of these tests, tolerances, what constitutes a pass/fail, etc. is not set forth in this advisory.
After processing: Marihuana and marihuana-infused products in their final state must pass required tests before they are transferred from a processor to a provisioning center.
Facilities may choose to test their products at additional points in the supply chain. As with after harvesting, the types of tests required, the definition of acceptable tolerances, exactly what constitutes a pass/fail, etc., are not set forth in this advisory.
As is indicated, all testing is mandatory, and product labels must indicate compliance. This means that licensed provisioning centers can only sell or transfer marihuana to a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver after it has been tested and bears the label required for retail sale.
Additionally, the new laws provide for and require a great deal of tracking, including seed to sale tracking, and all information is kept on a computer database. Likewise, the results of the required tests will be recorded in the statewide monitoring system by the licensed
safety compliance facility. Having a good compliance record will inevitably give a licensee a competitive advantage. In part, this is because the grower or processor that provided the test sample will be able to view the testing results in the statewide monitoring system once they have been recorded.
Although not mandatory, caregivers can opt into testing, meaning they have the option of choosing to have their product tested by a licensed safety compliance facility. However, this does not provide the same competitive advantage because these tests will not be recorded or tracked in the statewide monitoring system. This makes sense because caregivers are not supposed to be “in it for the money.”
Due to the complexity of the commercial medical marijuana licensing paradigm, all potential licensees are encouraged to seek legal counsel to ensure their licensure applications and operations comply with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and associated administrative rules.