Clarifying marijuana product testing by revising provisions concerning marijuana testing laboratory accreditation and establishing a cannabis science task force.
Washington State House Bill (HB) 2052 is very important to the Laboratory Guild. The history with this bill started when the legislature included a proviso in the 18/19 budget that directed the Department of Ecology (ECY) to develop a report for the Washington State Legislature that provides recommendations for cannabis lab accreditation.
In the fall of 2018, we started educating the Legislature about the issues around the variability and lack of reproducibility between the state certified cannabis analysis laboratories. When we met with the Prime Sponsor of this bill, Rep. Derek Stanford, he was very receptive with our eagerness with working with the ECY to fix these issues.
The report from ECY was submitted to the Legislature in February of 2019 and Rep. Stanford immediately jumped into action and drafted HB 2052.
What does the bill do?
HB 2052 will:
- Transfer authority and responsibility for marijuana product testing laboratory accreditation requirements to ECY by July 1, 2024.
- Requires that the state marijuana product testing laboratory accreditation program initial development costs must be fully paid from the dedicated marijuana account.
- Establishes the Cannabis Science Task Force to collaborate on the development of appropriate laboratory quality standards and to establish a workgroup on proficiency testing and another workgroup on laboratory quality standards.
- Requires the Cannabis Science Task Force to submit a report to the Legislature by July 1, 2020, with findings and recommendations for laboratory quality standards for pesticides in plants.
- Requires the Cannabis Science Task Force to recommend regulatory changes each agency should make to implement the pesticide lab quality standards. The recommendations are included in the 7/1/20 report to the legislature.
- Allows the Liquor and Cannabis Board to initiate rulemaking to address the findings and recommendations in the Cannabis Science Task Force reports, as the Department of Ecology does not take over accreditation until 2024.
Over the last month HB 2052 was successfully worked through committees along with receiving a nearly unanimous vote on the House Floor. Now the bill is working its way through the Senate. The first committee the bill went to was the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, which had a public hearing on the bill on March 19th. The Laboratory Guild was there to represent their members as we advocated for a do pass from the committee. Also, there were representatives from ECY advocating for a longer timeline for the bill. The agency wanted to extend the timeline to 2024 to allow for rulemaking to happen. The Guild cautioned the committee members that if the timeline were to extend so would the fiscal note thereby increasing the cost to the labs, which would inevitably increase the cost of testing to the producers and processors. The committee chair heard our words of caution and inquired on any amendment language we might have. At this point, we further advocated to Chair Kaiser that the state should pay for the development of the program via the dedicated marijuana account.
We are pleased to report that the Senate Labor Committee has passed HB 2052 with a striker amendment that explicitly removes the burden from the labs to pay for the development of the program. The labs will pay a fee to ECY for the ongoing costs that the agency will incur for the program to continue. This is a big win for the members of the Laboratory Guild as well as for the entire industry. We can all work together to make sure that this bill gets through the rest of the committees and to the Senate floor. With the signature of the Governor, this bill will ensure that we will see the days of laboratory variability coming to an end by 2024.
In anticipation of this momentous development, we have built the Laboratory Guild to serve as a social welfare organization that is working in tandem with the various state agencies and the legislature to build the most scientifically rigorous cannabis analysis program. The Guild is an open membership nonprofit organization with multiple membership classes. Each membership class has specific requirements to pass in order for an application to have the merit to be presented to the Board of Directors for a final vote. This process may be tedious, however, through it we have been able to culture a professional analytical society. Learn more about our membership here.