The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) requires potency and quality testing for all cannabis products sold legally in the state of California. As a result, the legal cannabis industry has experienced a surging demand for cannabis testing services. To meet this demand, new companies specializing in the sampling and testing of cannabis products are springing up across the state.

There’s no doubt that cannabis testing is an important checkpoint for the newly legal cannabis industry. But what standards are in place to make sure the testing labs are also being held accountable?

This article will be the first in a three-part series where we’ll explore the certification process for cannabis testing labs and the regulations governing cannabis testing in California.

Standards for Cannabis Testing Labs

The international industry standard for all labs involved in quality testing and calibration is the ISO/IEC 17025, also known as the General Requirements for the Competence of Testing and Calibration Laboratories.

These standards are not specific to cannabis testing. They’re also used in other industries where sampling and quality testing are required such as the pharmaceutical and food industries.

The ISO/IEC 17025 standards ensure that a lab is operating proficiently and generating reliable test results. Moreover, these standards are accepted internationally. That means the testing results from an ISO/IEC 17025 certified lab can be trusted by other labs and organizations across California, the United States, and the world.

The first edition of the ISO/IEC 17025 standards was released in 1999 with a second edition published in 2005. The standards were more recently updated in 2017. The latest version incorporates changing technologies and vocabulary while taking into account the newest version of ISO 9001, the industry standard for quality management systems.

Who Creates the Standards?

The ISO, or the International Organization for Standardization, is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. The ISO brings together experts from 164 national standards organizations to develop voluntary, consensus-driven international standards.

These standards help ensure quality, safety, and efficiency for a wide range of products, services, and systems while promoting international trade.


Cannabis testing labs help regulate the cannabis industry. However, testing labs also require independent oversight.

ISO/IEC 17025 certification offers an internationally recognized industry standard for quality testing labs. By following the ISO/IEC 17025 standards, cannabis testing labs demonstrate that their results are consistent and reliable.

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the rigorous process that testing labs must undergo to meet the ISO/IEC 17025 standards and receive certification.