In Part I and Part II of our “How Cannabis Testing Labs Get Certified” series, we discussed the international standards for testing labs and the process for getting certified.

The ISO/IEC 17025 represents the international standard for quality testing labs around the world, including cannabis testing labs. But these standards are voluntary. Additionally, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is not a regulatory body.

In the third and final part of this series, we’ll discuss the regulations put in place by the state of California to manage cannabis testing labs.

BCC Regulations for Cannabis Testing Labs

In California, the Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the main regulatory body for the legal cannabis industry. The BCC is responsible for setting standards and issuing licenses for cannabis retailers, distributors, testing laboratories, and events operating in the state of California.

When it comes to cannabis testing, the BCC requires all licensed testing labs to receive and maintain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation. This sets a high standard for cannabis testing labs in California.

Let’s take a closer look at what exactly is required by the BCC.

The Specifics

According to the BCC, licensed cannabis testing labs must maintain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for the following testing methods:

  • Cannabinoids
  • Heavy metals
  • Microbial impurities
  • Mycotoxins
  • Residual pesticides
  • Residual solvents and processing chemicals
  • Terpenoids, if applicable

In addition to ISO certification, the BCC license application must also include:

  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for individual testing methods
  • SOPs for the sampling of cannabis goods
  • Method validation reports

Interim Testing Laboratory License

Once cannabis was legalized in California, the state experienced an immediate rise in demand for cannabis testing services. However, ISO/IEC 17025 certification is a time-intensive process for testing labs to complete.

To solve this problem, the BCC issues interim cannabis testing licenses to labs that are working to receive their ISO/IEC 17025 certification.

Lab Audits

One aspect of both ISO/IEC 17025 certification and BCC licensing involves internal auditing. Labs must perform an internal audit at least once a year according to their ISO/IEC 17025 accrediting body’s requirements. This ensures that the ISO standards are still being faithfully followed even after the lab’s initial certification audit.

Closing Thoughts

Cannabis testing labs help protect consumer safety and ensure consistent product quality. But the labs themselves also need regulatory oversight.

In California, the BCC requires licensed cannabis testing labs to maintain ISO/IEC 17025 certification. This certification represents an internationally recognized set of industry standards. Moreover, the certification process is rigorous and thorough, setting a high bar for cannabis testing labs operating in the state of California.

Encore Labs is an ISO/IEC 17025 certified cannabis testing lab. We offer comprehensive cannabis testing to help keep you compliant. Contact us today for a consultation.