Recreational Cannabis is Now Legal in New York: Is Your Testing Laboratory Ready?

Laboratory Software for New York’s CBD/THC Testing Laboratories

May 27, 2021

The New York Governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, recently signed the legislation that legalizes cannabis, after which New York became the 16th state to legalize cannabis for recreational use. The new law provides licenses to individuals, such as cannabis producers, distributors, and retailers in the cannabis supply chain and implements quality control and public health and safety measures. The law permits adults over 21 to possess and buy small amounts of cannabis, up to 3 ounces, outside of the home. The quantity could extend to 5 pounds if stored at a personal residence. The law also allows individuals to cultivate a maximum of 6 cannabis plants (3 mature and 3 immature plants), and they can only buy it from licensed growers.

This legislation has created a need for the establishment and development of cannabis testing laboratories and infrastructure which is likely to benefit the residents by opening new employment opportunities for them. The adult-use cannabis program is also expected to significantly increase the tax revenue, providing economic relief to the state and its people.

The law does not allow drivers to consume cannabis, keeping in mind the safety of the citizens and the violation of this rule could lead to heavy penalties. It also contributes to the medical side, as people are now allowed to cultivate cannabis at home for medical purposes. The existing medical marijuana program has also seen a modification under this law with the addition of medical conditions for which marijuana can be prescribed. Although the law has been in effect since 31st March 2021, the state may need significant time to enhance the legal cannabis industry.

What Does This Legislation Mean for Cannabis Testing Laboratories?

The passage of this bill enforces a new regulatory framework for the growth and distribution of adult-use cannabis products. Cannabis testing laboratories need to be well prepared to meet all the statutory requirements as per the new law. Cannabis products should be rigorously tested to prove safety and compliance with FDA’s food and drug safety regulations before they are sold to the public for consumption.

The onus of testing cannabis products lies with the cannabis testing laboratories. They should be able to determine potency, assure the quality and safety of a cannabis product which is important for public health by testing cannabinoid levels, pesticide levels, and contaminants, such as heavy metals and molds. Laboratories must ensure complete data review to identify and reduce errors. A cannabis testing laboratory needs to understand and comply with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and other state and local regulations. It must be equipped with all necessary testing equipment to generate precise and error-free test results. Properly trained and experienced staff is needed to efficiently manage laboratory operations, generate valid and reliable test results.

Considering the growing demand for cannabis testing, it seems challenging for laboratories to manually manage laboratory workflows as it could be more time-consuming and error-prone. Laboratories should opt for a reliable data and quality management system to win the confidence of producers, suppliers, and distributors in the cannabis industry. A LIMS can enable cannabis testing laboratories to not only meet data management and automation requirements but also regulatory and quality management requirements.

Role of CBD/THC Testing LIMS Software in Cannabis Testing Laboratories

By deploying a Cannabis LIMS (Laboratory Information Management System), a cannabis testing laboratory can gain benefits in several ways.

CBD/THC testing laboratory software can help in the following ways:

  1. Tracks samples and automate workflows from sample collection to report generation
  2. Helps meet regulatory compliance such as ISO 17025:2017, 21 CFR part 11, GLP, GMP, and state and local regulations
  3. Streamlines QA/QC processes
  4. Supports instrument and software integration and ensures timely calibration of all equipment
  5. Manages necessary documents such as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and enables staff to securely access them
  6. Manages the training of laboratory staff, generates training and competency reports
  7. Helps generate personalized Certificates of Analysis (CoA) which includes sample and test details
  8. Maintains a chain of custody for all the tests performed
  9. Maintains an audit trail for audits
  10. Maintains electronic records of all activities in the laboratory which are available for viewing and reporting

Conclusion

The legalization of cannabis for recreational use in New York will provide new opportunities to every individual associated with the cannabis industry. More employment also brings more responsibilities to take care of public health and safety. Cannabis testing laboratories are likely to see a surge in demand for testing cannabis products. They need to comply with the quality management and regulatory requirements such as ISO/IEC 17025:2017, 21 CFR part 11, GLP and reduce turnaround time. This could be achieved through automation. A configurable CBD/THC testing laboratory LIMS software can help cannabis testing laboratories to comply with regulatory requirements with ease. A LIMS also helps laboratories automate everything from sample collection, data storage, documentation, and sample tests to the generation of test reports.


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