Does New Mexico Require Testing for Marijuana and Marijuana Products?
Yes. House Bill 2 (Cannabis Regulation Act) requires that cannabis and cannabis products be tested for potency and contaminants. The Cannabis Regulation Act was approved by Governor Lujan Grisham on March 19, 2021. According to the bill, cannabis testing laboratories are entities authorized to collect and test cannabis and cannabis-containing products.
All cannabis and cannabis-containing product samples in New Mexico must be tested before distribution to retail facilities or sale by licensed marijuana establishments. However, cannabis produced for research purposes is not subject to mandatory testing.
House Bill 2 created the Cannabis Control Division (CDC) under the Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD). The RLD administers the Cannabis Regulation Act and oversees the licensing of cannabis testing laboratories and other marijuana businesses in the state. Section 3 of House Bill 2 stipulates that the CCD is to establish standards for the testing and quality control of marijuana no later than January 1, 2022. The Division must consult with the New Mexico Environment Department and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture when creating the standards.
House Bill 2 stipulates that the standards for testing recreational cannabis must be consistent with the medical cannabis testing requirements. The required tests for recreational cannabis and cannabis-infused products in New Mexico and the compounds they check for include:
- Potency: Potency tests ascertain the level of cannabinoids in cannabis and cannabis-infused products. The cannabinoid compounds they test for include:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
- Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A)
- Cannabidiol (CBD)
- Cannabidiolic acid (CBD-A)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Terpenes: Marijuana products are tested for the following terpenes:
- Microbial contamination: Cannabis and cannabis-infused products are tested for contamination from microorganisms such as:
- Bacteria such as Escherichia coli, enterobacter, and aerobic bacteria
- Fungi such as yeast, mildew, and molds
- Mycotoxins: New Mexico requires that recreational marijuana be tested for the following mycotoxins:
- Pesticides: Cannabis and cannabis-infused products must be tested for the following pesticides:
- Chemical contamination
- Heavy metals: Recreational cannabis samples must be tested for contamination from the following heavy metals:
- Residual solvents: Marijuana and marijuana-infused products must be tested to determine the level of solvents retained in them after processing. Some of the solvents tested for are:
- Butane and iso-butane
- Hexane and cyclohexane
- Benzene and ethylbenzene
- Methyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol
- Methylene chloride
Does New Mexico License Independent Marijuana Testing Facilities?
Yes. The provisions of the Cannabis Regulation Act authorize independent facilities to obtain cannabis laboratory testing licenses in New Mexico. The state does not operate a state-owned cannabis testing laboratory.
What Accreditations Do Marijuana Testing Facilities Need in New Mexico?
Title 7 §22.214.171.124(I)(3) of the New Mexico Administrative Code stipulates that cannabis testing laboratories can acquire commercial reference standardization for testing cannabis and cannabis products. One of such standards is the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation standard. It is an accreditation standard for laboratories based on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) guidelines. ISO/IEC 17025:2017 is its most recent version of this standard. New Mexico cannabis testing laboratories must meet certain requirements to get accredited under ISO/IEC 17025. These include general, structural, resource, management systems, and process requirements.
General requirements refer to the testing laboratory's ability to maintain the confidentiality of test results, while structural requirements pertain to their personnel and organizational structure. Under the resource requirements, laboratories must have the requisite equipment and facilities to conduct accurate marijuana testing. To fulfill process requirements, laboratories must establish guidelines for sampling, equipment handling, test method validation, result reporting, data control, and information management. There are two options under the management system requirements for ISO/IEC 17025:2017, namely Option A and Option B. Under option A, the management body of a laboratory is expected to engage in corrective actions, internal audits, improvement, record control, and management reviews. For option B, the management system must comply with ISO 9001:2015 and clauses 4 to 7 of ISO 17025:2017. An accreditation body must audit a recreational cannabis testing laboratory for the facility to attain ISO 17025:2017 accreditation.
How to Get a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License in New Mexico
As stipulated by House Bill 2, marijuana testing laboratory license applicants in New Mexico must:
- Provide proof from the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer that the proposed laboratory has legal access to a commercial water supply or an alternate water source.
- Not have prior felony convictions or convictions for selling controlled substances to underage persons
- Not hold other cannabis business licenses in New Mexico
- Consent to a fingerprint-based criminal background check by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. Also, every director, officer, partner, and board member of the proposed business entity must consent to the fingerprint-based criminality checks.
According to the New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 7 §126.96.36.199, marijuana testing laboratory license applicants must provide:
- Their names, phone numbers, and email addresses
- The proposed laboratory's standard operating procedures (SOPs), describing its procedures and guidelines for analyzing cannabis and cannabis products. It must also describe the facility's extraction techniques, reporting method, instrument calibration techniques, and sample disposal method.
- The laboratory's quality control criteria for tests
- A description of the tests to be conducted in the proposed laboratory
- The evaluation reports of proficiency tests validating the accuracy of all analysis to be conducted in the proposed laboratory
- The business's organizational documents, including business licensing registration documents and bylaws
- A description of how the licensee will monitor and document the movement of cannabis and cannabis product samples within their facility from one facility section to another
- Confirmation of good standing from the New Mexico Secretary of State (SOS)
- Confirmation of good standing from the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department
- A list of all entities and individuals with direct or indirect control over the applicant, the business management, and policies
- A list of all entities or persons with their percentage ownership of the proposed cannabis testing laboratory
- An outline of all equipment to be used in operating the facility
- Security policies describing the laboratory's minimum security, safety procedures, and security devices
- Confirmation that the applicant will prohibit the possession of firearms on the cannabis testing laboratory premises
- Employee training documents describing the safety and security training guidelines for each staff of the cannabis testing laboratory. Also, it must describe the staff's emergency response measures for accidents or robbery.
- Confirmation that the applicant can operate the facility in line with the provisions of New Mexico Administrative Code, Title 7 §7.34.4
- Confirmation that the cannabis testing laboratory is not situated within 300 feet of daycare centers, churches, or schools. Alternatively, the applicant must present proof that any daycare center, school, or church within 300 feet of their proposed location did not occupy that location before the applicant initially applied to operate a cannabis testing laboratory at the location.
- An Initial Demonstration of Capability (IDC) - The IDC should indicate:
- The laboratory's precision and accuracy method
- Calibration method
- Method detection limit
- Low system background
- Analyte identification
- Certificate of occupancy for the building in which the laboratory will operate
- Approval document confirming that the business location complies with local zoning laws
- Confirmation of fire marshal inspection
- The application fee
Persons or entities interested in getting New Mexico marijuana testing laboratory licenses can register their interests online with the Cannabis Control Division. The Division is not currently accepting recreational marijuana testing laboratory license applications. It will inform the public when they are set to accept applications.
How Much Does a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License Cost in New Mexico?
According to House Bill 2, the cost of obtaining and maintaining a cannabis testing laboratory license in New Mexico is $2,500 annually. An additional $1,000 annual fee applies for each separate premises a license holder operates. Applicants must pay their marijuana testing laboratory license application fees to the Cannabis Control Division.
Are there Local Regulations for Cannabis Testing Facilities in New Mexico?
Yes. According to House Bill 2, local jurisdictions are authorized to establish rules regarding cannabis business activities within their jurisdictions. However, these rules must not conflict with the Dee Johnson Clean Indoor Air Act or the Cannabis Regulation Act.
Cannabis testing laboratory license holders in New Mexico must adhere to local regulations of the municipalities where their facilities are situated. These rules include adherence to zoning, building codes, occupancy, odor control, chemical exposure, air quality, and ventilation standards. However, local authorities cannot prohibit the operation of cannabis testing laboratories within their jurisdictions.