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Massachusetts has a Testing Backlog Problem That is Crippling the Legal Market

Greg Silverstein | March 03, 2021 | 4 2
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Massachusetts is currently one of the few legal cannabis states east of the Rockies and the only one on the East Coast, excluding the recent entry New Jersey. One of the reasons Mass companies have struggled to develop a more robust cannabis market is a lack of licensed testing facilities. A lack of testing might seem ridiculous to many operators who have access to multiple labs in their area. In the Bay state, there are currently two licensed labs, with a third recently announced. The Massachusetts cannabis industry currently has a two-month backlog in testing turnaround. Now, if you’re a rational person, you might read that again and say WTF out loud like I did when I learned this Information. How can a massive state like Massachusetts only have two licensed labs in the state? 

I spoke with multiple shops in the Northampton Amherst area, which I consider one of the best cannabis regions on the east coast. Dispensary owners and employees are all frustrated with the state body. Many of these companies produce hundreds of pounds of product per week, and testing delays can negatively impact profit margins and customer satisfaction. The state of Massachusetts has three licensed testing facilities for the legal cannabis industry as of February 2021. Aries Laboratory doing business as Indo Laboratories was recently issued an Adult Use market testing license, allowing it to operate in the Adult Use market. The lab was only licensed in the state in June of 2020 and only allowed to operate in the AU market as recently as early January when new rules were implemented. Check out a detailed list from the Cannabis Control Commission.

The two labs that were previously the only two licensed labs for the Massachusetts legal Adult Use market are CDX Analytics and MCR Labs. Overworked and overrun with products to test for compliance and safety. Massachusetts has seen an expansion in cultivation licenses and an increased number of open dispensaries, resulting in a larger number of products. We see six-to-eight-week backlogs on testing for cannabis products in the state. I have spoken with dozens of dispensary employees and the one common comment was that they wish they had the capital to open a testing facility in Massachusetts. These industry workers believe this because there is a general assumption that the state needs far more testing and opening a good lab would be lucrative. MA is a significant market, especially during the summer and access to fresh and high-quality products is essential to the state program if they hope to compete with the traditional market. 

The state has a pretty good program, it could be better but they do look out for the consumer, its just taking far longer than it should to turn around a product. Eight weeks of wait time for the testing turnaround is unacceptable and the Cannabis Control Commission should have licensed more than one facility to mitigate this issue. Another example of a significant infrastructure issue in a state cannabis program and the solution is not enough. I hope to see three to five new testing facilities receive full licenses for medical and adult-use cannabis in 2021 to sufficiently test the market without significant delays.    


CDX Analytics 


MCR Labs


Indo AKA Aries Laboratories


Cannabis Control Commission Approves Final Adult Use, Medical Use of Marijuana Regulations and Rescinds Collocated Regulations 


Aries Laboratory – Licensing 


CDX Analytics – Licensing 


MCR Labs – Licensing 



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