Four labs apply to become medical marijuana testers

Sample packaging
A sample of packaging created by Minnesota Medical Solutions.
Courtesy of Minnesota Medical Solutions

State health officials could select laboratories to test medical cannabis products as early as next month.

Minnesota Department of Health Assistant Commissioner Manny Munson-Regala said the department received four applications by the March 11 deadline.

The labs, all in Minnesota, applied to test medical cannabis products to make sure they are free of contaminants, pesticides and mold.

"We just want to make sure that the medications patients get is as clean as possible and is properly labeled," Munson-Regala said. "You don't want to take medication designed for someone with seizure disorders if you have MS and vice versa."

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The state will select labs that meet the certification requirements, he said, which means all four could be selected.

Minnesota Medical Solutions and LeafLine Labs will manufacture medical cannabis products under the new 2014 law. Medical marijuana will be sold in pill, oil or liquid form starting July 1.

Law enforcement officials Wednesday warned about the danger of marijuana wax, which has high levels of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and can cause hallucinations and psychotic episodes.

Two men face felony charges in the death of a woman after a fire in a manufacturing operation late last year.

Munson-Regala said the news about marijuana wax confirms that making extractions at home "is a remarkably dangerous thing."

That is why "doing it in an industrial grade facility like our two manufacturers minimizes the risk to other people," he said.

But he said manufacturers have not indicated an interest in making high-level THC products.

"Those don't appear to be the kind of things that you would target for medication," Munson-Regala said.