Cannabis testing determines and quantifies the Phyto-cannabinoids and terpene content of cannabis products, as well as tests them for potentially dangerous chemicals and guarantees consumer safety. Not only does this information foster trust and transparency between cannabis product retailers and legal cannabis products' consumers and patients, but it is also mandated by New Jersey law.
Marijuana testing is a term that refers to the procedures used by authorized and competent third-party laboratories to evaluate and record data regarding the quality and safety of cannabis products. In New Jersey, approved third-party lab testing of cannabis products must contain a profile of key phyto-cannabinoids, including the concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), as well as terpene levels. Additionally, the state requires pesticides, microorganisms, mycotoxins, heavy metals, and residual solvents to be tested.
Apart from the legal necessity, cannabis test findings are critical for cannabis product research and development. For instance, if a manufacturer produces a marijuana-infused product (MIP) containing 100mg of THC, the producer may want to replicate the product from product to product and batch to batch. Additionally, as the market develops and consumer knowledge of cannabis goods grows, producers must integrate cannabinoids into increasingly sophisticated matrices such as sweets, beverages, and food additives. These complicated formulations require analytical assistance to verify that the components are compatible, and the products maintain their stability over time.
Yes. By definition, under New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Enforcement Assistance and Marketplace Modernization Act (CREAMMA), a cannabis testing facility" refers to an independent, third-party entity that complies with the Cannabis Regulatory Commission's accreditation requirements and is licensed to analyze and certify cannabis products and medical cannabis for compliance with applicable health, safety, and potency standards.
Currently, some cannabis testing laboratories in New Jersey perform testing exclusively on medicinal cannabis products. These facilities would be permitted to test medicinal and personal-use cannabis products under an existing license, provided they comply with the requirements of the new licensing process for personal-use cannabis from the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). According to N.J.A.C. 17:30-7.1 – 7.8, the number of labs licensed to provide testing services in the State of New Jersey has no maximum limit.
According to Subchapter 15 of the initial rules for the personal use of cannabis published by the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC), cannabis testing labs have to obtain ISO 17025 accreditation in order to be legally certified to operate in New Jersey.
ISO/IEC 17025 is a quality management system and technical competence standard for laboratory testing and calibration services. It applies to businesses that provide testing and calibration results.
ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation demonstrates that a laboratory has a solid quality management system in place and is capable of providing testing and calibration findings. Accredited laboratories conduct tests in accordance with globally accepted standards (ISO/IEC 17025), and the results are validated by a broad range of governmental and regulatory organizations.
To qualify for accreditation, laboratories must pass a lengthy set of tests covering a broad variety of laboratory activities. Clauses 4–7 of ISO 17025 detail the general, structural, resource, and process criteria that laboratories must fulfill in order to be certified. These include everything from the laboratory staff's organizational structure to the transportation and processing of materials.
Laboratories must adhere to each of these stringent criteria in order to get accreditation, and they must continue to do so in order to retain their credentials. According to Subchapter 17 of the CRC initial rules, the Commission is authorized to conduct inspections of cannabis testing laboratories, and issue notices of violations for regulatory violations. Standard fines will not exceed $50,000, while fines for infractions regarding issues of public welfare or safety and betrayal of public trust may go up to $500,000.
Per N.J.A.C. 1730, to apply for a testing laboratory license, an applicant must complete the application form from the CRC website (when it becomes available) and submit the following information and documentation along with the application:
An applicant for a cannabis testing laboratory license may include in the application, a sworn statement from each owner, principal, or employee of the laboratory, attesting that each individual has not been convicted of any disqualifying conviction stated in NJAC 17:30-7.12.
The CRC will verify the information contained in each application and the submitted documentation by:
The CRC will also consider social equity in issuing testing laboratory licenses to applicants. The social equity concept program is common in many states in the United States in the determination of qualified cannabis license applicants. In New Jersey, the initial rules of the CRC address social equity by increasing opportunities in the cannabis industry for persons from certain communities. Per the CRC rules, the following designated categories will receive priority review and approval in the application process:
The CRC may deem an application incomplete due to failure to address all applicable criteria and measures, to provide requested information, or to present truthful information in the application process. Such application may be disqualified prior to a substantive review of the submission, and such disqualification will be considered a final agency decision subject to judicial review pursuant to N.J.A.C. 17:30-17.9.
The CRC may grant an applicant the opportunity to correct the deficiencies in the application and then resubmit. The CRC will provide notice to a denied license applicant in writing stating:
Any administrative hearing to review a license application decision will be held at the Office of Administrative Law in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., and the Office of Administrative Law hearing procedures.
Conditional cannabis licenses are given to small businesses to assist them in entering the New Jersey market. A conditional license holder may operate lawfully in the same manner as a fully licensed cannabis entrepreneur, but only for a short time. By acquiring a conditional license, usually via a streamlined application procedure, an applicant may begin operations without obtaining a full license but risks losing it if certain final criteria are not met within a specified time frame.
No. Conditional licenses are not issued to marijuana testing laboratories in New Jersey. A New Jersey Conditional Cannabis License is a temporary license assigned as a Class 1 Cannabis Cultivator license, a Class 2 Cannabis Manufacturer license, a Class 3 Cannabis Wholesaler license, a Class 4 Cannabis Distributor license, a Class 5 Cannabis Retailer license, or a Class 6 Cannabis Delivery license that authorizes the holder to legitimately act as a cannabis cultivator, cannabis manufacturer, cannabis wholesaler, cannabis distributor, or cannabis retailer within a limited period.
Per the fee schedule for cannabis licenses published by the CRC and effective from August 2023, the application submission fee for a testing laboratory license is $400, while the approval fee is $1,600. Submission fees are due at the time applications are submitted, while an approval fee is due upon the CRC's approval for licensure to operate. Applicants who are denied approval for licensure are not required to pay approval fees.
Successful testing laboratory license applicants are required to pay a standard licensing fee of $4,000 annually. For the first year, license holders will pay $2,000 (the total after deducting applicant submission and approval fees). A testing laboratory licensee must apply for renewal of the license 90 days prior to the expiration of the license pursuant to N.J.A.C 17:30-15.2.
The CRC through its initial rules for the operation of the cannabis sector in New Jersey recognizes the significant role played by municipalities in regulating the developing cannabis industry in the state. The CRC grants municipalities the right to place restrictions on cannabis establishments, including testing laboratories.
While the CRC's rules provide the framework for the operations of the cannabis industry in New Jersey, municipalities have the power to determine how the operations occur in their communities. Cannabis testing laboratories will only obtain testing laboratory licenses from the CRC if they have been approved by their municipalities for compliance with zoning approvals and other local restrictions and requirements.
Pursuant to Subchapter 5 of the CRC initial rules, municipalities can: