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Same labs different products? Not really

A commission spokeswoman was asked why the DPH-approved labs that test medical marijuana cannot also be used to test recreational marijuana now.

“State law requires all marijuana products to be tested by a lab to be licensed directly by the Cannabis Control Commission. As you know, the commission has not approved any lab licenses yet,” the spokeswoman said.

“The Cannabis Control Commission and the Department of Public Health are continuing to collaborate on the process for transferring existing medical marijuana plants to adult use,” the spokeswoman said.

“Adult use” is a synonym among state and industry officials for recreational marijuana, which is now legal for anyone 21 or older to possess in limited quantities.

The testing requirement was part of the recreational marijuana law that Gov. Charlie Baker signed July 28, 2017. The initial target date for recreational marijuana retailers to open was July 1 of this year.

The commission started taking applications from testing labs April 17, the spokeswoman said.

“The commission cannot force any applicant to pursue an adult-use license, but engaged with labs to make sure they had the information they needed to apply. Additionally, the commission agreed to review completed independent testing lab applications submitted on or before Aug. 1 out of order – before all other categories of license applicants – in order to ensure a complete supply chain,” the spokeswoman said.

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ProVerde and MCR Labs have applied to the commission for certification to add testing of recreational marijuana to their existing medical pot repertoire. Representatives of CDX Analytics didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Despite already operating as a lab that tests medical marijuana, such labs face additional fees and requirements in order to be certified by the commission to test recreational marijuana. It costs $300 to apply and $5,000 a year for the license, Hudalla said.

Labs seeking permission to test recreational marijuana in Massachusetts also must negotiate host community agreements with the city or town in which they’re located.

Fees in host community agreements “shall be reasonably related to the costs imposed upon the municipality by the operation of the establishment and shall, in no event, amount to more than 3 percent of the gross sales of the establishment or be effective for longer than 5 years,” according to the law.

Such agreements are required of medical and recreational marijuana companies. But the costs imposed on companies in such agreements in some cases have gone beyond the annual revenue payments to include “grants” negotiated for community groups and other services.

Holyoke, Mass. city councilors Nelson Roman and Rebecca Lisi clash over marijuana host community agreement funds.

Host community agreements are not required of labs certified to test medical marijuana.