State developing standards for lab testing pot

by: Graham Johnson Updated:

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SEATTLE, Wash. —

Washington state has released new standards for how legal marijuana will be tested in labs.

The state Liquor Control Board has issued draft guidelines for which tests will be required before pot can go on sale in licensed stores next year.

In Seattle, Analytical 360 is a lab that provided input to state regulators.  Scientists now test for contaminants like foodborne pathogens, mold and pesticides for medical marijuana dispensaries and patients.

"They need to be able to have a reliable dose and find that medicine over and over again," said Chief Scientist Randy Oliver.

In the lab, marijuana is weighed, crushed and analyzed to figure out precisely what's in it.

Tests determine the level of psychoactive THC and other compounds.

The state protocols will also require labs to check for pesticides.

"It's critical because it's about public safety," Oliver said.

Marijuana that doesn't meet state standards will be rejected.

Oliver sees plenty of suspect marijuana now.

"Between 10 and 30 percent of the marijuana out there has a substantial amount of contamination," he said.

Oliver thinks that will improve when pot grows are closely regulated.

The state will require the content of cannabis products to be accurately labeled  so buyers know what they're getting.