Because of our expertise in laboratory accreditation, the Legislature is transferring cannabis lab accreditation to Ecology from the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board. We've also been charged with leading the state's new Cannabis Science Task Force, which we've formed and is now meeting regularly.
Forming the Cannabis Science Task Force
The sale of cannabis products is an emerging industry and our laws were formed in the early stages of its legalization. States primarily depend on federal laws and rules as a framework for their regulations. Cannabis has not been legalized at the federal level, so an overarching set of practices for cannabis labs does not exist.
House Bill 2052, the bill that transfers accreditation to us, requires a series of actions to bolster the existing program. One of those actions is the formation of the Cannabis Science Task Force.
The Task Force structure consists of a steering committee and workgroups with members from state agencies and cannabis labs. The workgroups are multi-disciplinary and include experts in chemistry, microbiology, and food and agricultural testing methods.
Workgroups that come together will use a phased approach to develop recommendations. There are currently two workgroups. They are working on proficiency testing and analytical quality standards for pesticides in plants which includes sampling and homogenization procedures for testing cannabis and cannabis products.
Members include a combination of state agency staff and cannabis lab industry experts. The first products these teams are creating are work plans that ensure we meet legislative deadlines.
Areas of focus
As identified in our report to the Legislature, cannabis laboratory standards don’t yet exist. The Task Force and its workgroups will develop those standards or adapt appropriate science-based analytical methods, method validation protocols, performance criteria, proficiency testing, and homogenization procedures for testing cannabis and cannabis products.