First marijuana testing lab opens in Anchorage

  • By Dan Joling
  • Monday, October 24, 2016 10:49pm
  • News

ANCHORAGE — Alaska’s first marijuana testing laboratory opened for business Monday, offering cannabis analysis for retail outlets and commercial or private growers.

CannTest LLC, operating in an industrial area in Anchorage, cleared regulatory requirements Friday, said Mark Malagodi, the chief executive officer.

The lab will test 4-gram samples for purity and potency.

“Customers definitely want to know what they’re getting,” Malagodi said. “They have to know, themselves, the kind of experience they want, what it is they’re going to be using.”

Alaska voters approved recreational use of marijuana for those 21 and older in November 2014.

Passage of the ballot measure made it legal under state law to possess up to an ounce of marijuana outside of a home.

Growers, retail outlets and testing labs have been waiting for regulatory processes to be put in place. Retail outlets could open as early as this week.

The state on June 9 granted CannTest a license while delegating oversight to the municipality of Anchorage. Regulatory requirements met by the company included passing an inspection by an outside reviewer.

The company will test cannabis flowers, concentrates and edibles.

For flowers, the state Marijuana Control Board requires concentration testing of five cannabinoids, the active ingredients of marijuana.

On the safety side, the lab will be testing for E. coli bacteria and aspergillus, a mold that can cause serious health problems for people with respiratory disease.

Mold can develop if cannabis is not properly dried, Malagodi said.

“It’s pretty dangerous for anyone who has a weakened respiratory system,” he said.

With the industry in its infancy, CannTest does not have a big backlog of product waiting to be tested, he said.

Only a handful of growers have harvested cannabis, including one who grew a crop outdoors.

CannTest was required by the state and city to put in place the same security systems required by growers and retail establishments.

That includes an alarm system and video surveillance in all restricted areas. Only people 21 and older are allowed on the premises.

CannTest expects to complete tests with 72 hours.

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