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Pot lab rules: Who is testing the testers?

Labs testing medical marijuana have little oversight

Who is testing the tester?

BEND, Ore. - The list of rules for medical cannabis dispensaries in Oregon is long.

"A thousand feet from a school, 1,000 feet from another dispensary," Charles Hood, owner of Garden Kings in Bend, said Wednesday.

Even the scales are state-licensed.

Garden Kings in Bend is one of five dispensaries in Central Oregon that made it through the process and are now licensed by the state.

"It's a huge relief to me and my family that we can do this legally, give money back to the community and do it right," Hood said.

With the license comes a lot of oversight.

Every ounce of medical cannabis has to be tested by a lab before the dispensaries can sell it, but who is testing the lab?

"Currently, the certification is voluntary for any  laboratory engaging in quality control services for the cannabis industry," said Jeremy Sackett, chief science officer at Cascadia Labs LLC.

Cascadia Labs in Bend is currently the only lab testing medical cannabis in Central Oregon.

With the growing number of dispensaries on the High Desert, Cascadia Labs officials hope that a state license soon will be required.

"I believe additional regulation, from cultivation, processing, laboratory quality control, is absolutely critical to the success of the regulated cannabis industry," said Sackett.

Although labs are not licensed by the state, they still have strict guidelines.

"This goes through ethics, quality,customer complaints, how testing is done in a quality manner," said Sackett.

A total of 58 dispensaries in the state have been licensed so far. Meanwhile, a total of 13 Oregon counties and more than 100 cities have passed one-year moratoriums, including Redmond, Sisters, Madras (whose city council approved the moratorium Tuesday night) and La Pine (whose council did the same Wednesday evening.)

Sackett said he invites everyone in the community to come check out the lab facilities and learn more about legal testing.

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