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The Secret Bud Backlog: Laboratory Seal Requirement

Cannabis is finally legal in Massachusetts recreationally, a huge win for MA’s marijuana enthusiasts. However, despite its new legal status, there are no dispensaries popping up on street corners or in city centers. Cannabis in Massachusetts is just as prevalent as it was before the new legislature; and here’s why.

As many know, dispensaries are required to have a state-issued license before they can start selling marijuana. The CCC, or Cannabis Control Commission, is reviewing licensing applications for both retail and medical purposes, but the process is painfully slow. Since the new legislation, only 1 company in 2018 has been approved for their license, and that company distributes medical marijuana, not recreational.

Still, many believe that once the Commission catches up on their retail applications, the storefronts will start showing up, and marijuana will be available across the state. However, this is actually a major misconception.

There are currently a lot of other holdups in the cannabis industry. For starters, cultivators must also have a license, and they will need time to set up their newly legal grow operations. Additionally, dispensaries must purchase and outfit their stores in accordance to the CCC’s rules, as well as purchase insurance and hire security.

Most involved in the cannabis industry are aware of these issues, and are taking steps to prepare their business for the day their license is approved. But there is one issue that very few sellers are aware of: the independent laboratory seal requirement.

All cannabis companies in Massachusetts are required to send their product to a specialized testing facility for marijuana before they are allowed to make any sales. This facility must test for potency levels and ensure the product is free of contamination before they allow it to go to market. This is obviously extremely important for cannabis consumers, as it ensures they will be receiving a safe product. However, it’s a huge issue for the dispensaries, because these testing facilities need licenses just like all other cannabis businesses. And right now, none of these testing facilities can operate.

This is going to cause a sizable backlog within the cannabis industry, as all recreational cannabis is required to be tested by a facility that also holds a recreational license. Even if a recreational marijuana business receives approval, they still have to wait until one of the testing facilities is approved and set up to operate.

This creates yet another issue, one of volume. Once a testing facility has been approved, they will likely be inundated with requests to test the entire inventory of numerous dispensaries, which is a time consuming process. Take a look at this article by Genie Scientific, detailing the many steps to the process.

This means that, even when the entire infrastructure is finally in place, it could still take days before any cannabis actually hits the recreational market, assuming every business is set to operate the day they receive their license.

With all these mitigating factors, it may take months before the cannabis market is mainstream in Massachusetts. But with just a little more time, marijuana will soon ‘grow’ into a booming Massachusetts industry.

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