A requirement for medical marijuana dispensaries and growers to have their products tested could be a boon for Durango testing facilities – if a local license is in place in time.
The state’s mandatory testing rule takes effect July 1, and Aurum Labs and Green Lab Solutions are asking city officials to create a license for the testing, owners said. The labs test for marijuana potency, mold and bacteria.
Their request is reasonable, said Councilor Dick White, who was approached by Aurum Labs representatives about creating a city license.
But city officials want to work on several changes to local marijuana regulations, including the new license, and pass them at the same time. White could not say how long that might take.
Mandatory testing requirements for medical marijuana was set by the Colorado General Assembly last year.
White does expect the council will eventually approve the new license.
“We were supportive of them starting their testing business. I don’t foresee that changing,” he said of Aurum.
Aurum Labs expects business could double or triple under the new requirements, said co-owner Luke Mason. To prepare for the demand, the business is slightly overstaffed, with eight employees, he said.
However, if Aurum cannot get a local testing license in time, medical cultivation facilities may go elsewhere, Mason said.
“Having them at the very onset of testing and developing that relationship is important,” he said.
Representatives from his business talked to the city about the need for this license for several weeks.
“We’re escalating our interactions with the city as the time line goes on,” he said.
Aurum Labs is one of 14 testing facilities statewide to handle the demand from 540 recreational cultivation facilities, according to the state’s Marijuana Enforcement Division.
About half of Aurum’s clients are Front Range growers, Mason said.
The mandatory testing rule will affect 780 medical marijuana facilities statewide, according to state statistics.
Accounting for some who may be voluntarily testing their medical marijuana, hundreds of grow facilities will likely be in need of testing services, said Steve Ottersberg, owner of Green Lab Solutions Co. Ottersberg has applied for a state licence to test medical marijuana so he can be ready when his business opens in late June or early July in Bodo Industrial Park.
Ottersberg, a career chemist, said testing across the state is becoming more standardized, and the process to become an accredited lab is stringent.
“The state of Colorado is going to great lengths to ensure that product safety is a high priority,” he said.
While labs do not test for pesticides or edible products yet, those regulations are in the works, he said.