Yes. Washington DC requires testing for marijuana and marijuana products sold by licensed dispensaries in the district pursuant to Section 7–1671.05 of the Code of the District of Columbia. D.C. testing laboratories are required to test harvested medical cannabis samples and to present licensed cultivation centers with the levels of THC and cannabidiol in the tested materials. Testing results must also show whether the tested materials are organic or non-organic, the presence and concentration of fertilizers and other nutrients, as well as any other information required by the ABRA (Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration).
Marijuana testing is important in safeguarding the health of consumers because the marijuana plant exhibits a sponge-like behavior during cultivation by absorbing nutrients and components from the soil, including fungicides, herbicides, heavy metals, and other plant growth regulators. The residual compounds from these chemicals pose serious health risks to marijuana users. Also, testing allows marijuana dispensaries to provide precise information about their products' strength and potency, allowing for quantifiable dosages and predictable user effects.
According to Section 6409.3 of the District of Columbia Municipal Code Regulations, marijuana testing laboratories must test and analyze a representative sample from each available batch of medical marijuana or marijuana products for:
Yes. Washington DC licenses independent testing facilities to conduct testing on marijuana and marijuana products. Unlike other types of marijuana business licenses in the District, application for the testing facility license is not subject to open application period. This means that interested laboratories can submit their applications for a license at any time starting from April 3, 2023.
Pursuant to Section 6404.1 of the District of Columbia Municipal Regulations, a marijuana testing laboratory must be accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025 of the International Organization for Standardization by an impartial, nonprofit organization operating in compliance with ISO/IEC 17011. The nonprofit organization is required to be a signatory of the Mutual Recognition Arrangement of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).
Per Section 6404.2 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations, a testing laboratory must obtain the ISO/IEC 17025 certification within six months after obtaining a marijuana testing facility license or registering with the Department of Health. Any marijuana testing laboratory that fails to obtain this accreditation within the stipulated period may have its license suspended or revoked.
ISO/IEC 17025 is an internationally recognized standard for testing and calibration laboratories. It certifies technical competence in laboratory testing and calibration services and is applicable to organizations and laboratories that provide testing and calibration. ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratories perform tests in line with international standards (ISO 17025), and the results are admissible by many governmental and regulatory agencies.
To obtain an ISO/IEC 17025 certification, a third party will evaluate the laboratory's quality management system and technical capability. Even after obtaining accreditation, the accrediting authority will perform periodic audits to ensure that required standards are kept in order to maintain accreditation. ISO 17025 certifications are only given by certified accrediting bodies.
In 2017, the ISO expanded the accreditation requirements for ISO/IEC 17025 to cover five standard criteria. Before a testing laboratory may be granted ISO/IEC 17025 certification, an accrediting authority will evaluate the laboratory against the following criteria:
To be eligible to apply for a marijuana testing laboratory license in DC, the applicant:
Before submitting a formal application for a marijuana testing facility license in D.C., the applicant must first submit a Letter of Intent to the Director of the Department of Health or a designee under Section 5401 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations. The Letter of Intent must include:
After submitting a Letter of Intent, the applicant must wait to receive an acceptance letter from the Department of Health. Note that only applicants who submit their Letters of Intent promptly may receive acceptance letters. Without an acceptance letter, a prospective applicant for a marijuana testing laboratory license may not proceed to submit an application. Completed Letters of Intent may be submitted to:
D.C. Medical Marijuana Program
899 North Capitol St NE, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Upon receiving an acceptance letter, the applicant may complete the application form on the forms and application page of the ABRA website. Applicants having issues accessing the application may contact email@example.com. In the electronic mail, include "MCP Facility Application Question" in the subject line. In-person and phone inquiries are not accepted. Responses to questions asked via electronic mail will be published on the ABRA's website and not responded to on an individual basis.
On the application, the following information will be required:
Note that the application fee must be included in the submission made to ABRA. The application fee of $3,500 may be paid with a check, money order, or cashier's check made payable to the "D.C. Treasurer." For an in-person submission, the applicant may pay the application fee by presenting a credit card to the ABRA contact representative during submission. A completed application may be submitted in person or by mail to:
Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration
2000 14th Street N.W.
Suite 400 South
Washington, DC 20009
Upon submitting an application, the applicant's security plan will be forwarded to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) or its designee for an assessment. The designee or the MPD itself will assess the plan within 21 days of receipt from the Department of Health. A testing laboratory facility license will not be issued until the MPD or its designee finishes its assessment of the security plan and submits the review in writing to the DOH. Upon submitting the evaluation, the entire application package will be forwarded to the license application scoring panel.
If the applicant fails to address all the required criteria, an application will be considered non-responsive and not accepted for review by the scoring panel. The scoring panel set up by ABRA scores each application based on the criteria outlined in the initial selection criteria and application instructions for the medical cannabis testing laboratory license.
The fee for a marijuana testing laboratory license in Washington DC is $3,500. Social Equity Applicants qualify for a reduced fee of $875. The fee for filing a renewal application for the license is $7,500 ($1,875 for Social Equity Applicants in the first 3 years of operation). The testing laboratory license must be renewed annually.
Per Section 5401.9 of the D.C. Municipal Regulations, a testing laboratory licensee may not hold a cannabis cultivation center, retailer, internet retailer, manufacturer, or courier license.