State's first pot-testing lab to open Monday

Staff writerMay 29, 2014 

Washington has its first state-certified lab to test marijuana.

The Yakima laboratory received state authorization late Wednesday. It's run by testing company Analytical 360, which says it plans to open the 22,000-square-foot lab on Monday.

Several other companies are on the cusp of certification, the state Liquor Control Board says.

The board is setting up a highly regulated market requiring independent labs to test marijuana for potency and contaminants and submit their findings to a state system that is tracking the drug from seed to sale.

"It's going to make sure the consumers have a safe product," said Ed Stremlow, chief operating officer of Analytical 360.

Labels will tell customers the potency of the pot and pot-infused food they are buying. The products won't make it to the shelves at all if testing deems them unsafe because of mold or other microbes, pesticides used in growing, or solvents used in processing.

More than 40 applicants have received state licenses to grow or process weed. Some of them are Analytical 360 customers that should be ready for their first products to be tested as soon as two weeks from now, Stremlow said.

The company founded by Stremlow and four partners has been testing medical marijuana since 2011 in Seattle and now has 13 other employees. It opened a new lab in Seattle on May 1 and plans to seek certification for that facility, too.

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