Maine Marijuana Testing License

Does Maine Require Testing for Marijuana and Marijuana Products?

Yes. Maine requires testing for marijuana and marijuana products intended to be sold to consumers and other marijuana business licensees pursuant to the Rule for the Certification of Marijuana Testing and Facilities. Any testing for marijuana in Maine is expected to show the levels of contaminants or impurities in the marijuana or marijuana product sample tested. The purpose of testing is to ensure that the amount of contaminant in a sample is not beyond the permitted level and is not considered injurious to health.

Statutory guidelines for testing adult-use marijuana and marijuana products in Maine are contained in Subchapter 6 of Title 28-B of the Maine Revised Statutes. The Maine Office of Marijuana Policy (OMP) considers marijuana testing of enormous importance, considering that cannabis plants typically soak up impurities from cultivation to harvesting.

Heavy metals, pesticides, and other toxins may be absorbed into the cannabis plant throughout its development, and the inherent moisture content of cannabis tissues can promote the proliferation of hazardous microbes. Contaminants constitute a concrete danger to users' health, and thorough testing is the only method to safeguard their health. Additionally, testing enables marijuana businesses to offer precise information about the strength and potency of their products, allowing for measurable doses and predictable effects on users.

The OMP requires that the following tests be conducted for all marijuana products before being sold or transferred to consumers or marijuana business licensees in Maine:

  • Filth and foreign material: Marijuana or marijuana products must be tested for any visible contaminant, including, without limitation, hair, insects, mold, feces, soil, sand, dirt, cinders, packaging contaminants, and manufacturing waste and by-products
  • Pesticides (Including fungicide, insecticide, acaricides, herbicide, plant growth regulators, and disinfectants): Under this test category, marijuana and marijuana products must be tested for cyfluthrin, bifenthrin, daminozide, imazalil, myclobutanil, etoxazole, trifloxystrobin, spiromesifen, and any other pesticides reported by the cultivation facility in its operating plan. Marijuana testing laboratories are required to disclose any pesticides detected during testing that are on the national restricted list of 195 pesticides for use on organic products
  • Other harmful chemicals: Harmful chemicals, such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, and mercury must be tested for in all marijuana and marijuana products in Maine
  • Dangerous molds and mildew: The OMP requires that all marijuana and marijuana products be tested for the presence of yeast and mold. Tests for mycotoxins such as ochratoxin A and aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1, and G2) must be conducted
  • Harmful microbes: Harmful microbes' tests include tests for total viable aerobic bacteria, total coliforms, Salmonella spp., and Enterobacteriaceae
  • THC potency, homogeneity, and cannabinoid profiles: All marijuana and marijuana products must be tested for THC levels and any other cannabinoid to be referenced in marketing or labeling materials
  • Water activity and moisture content: Water activity testing is required for solid and semisolid edible marijuana products, as well as dried and processed marijuana plant materials intended for sale or transfer. Moisture content testing is required for flower and trim, as well as any plant material that has been dried, cured, or otherwise prepared to minimize or remove moisture from the plant material
  • Residual solvents: Testing laboratories are required to test for residual solvents, toxins, and poisons, including acetone, heptane, hexane, ethyl ether, isopropyl alcohol, methanol, pentane, propane, toluene, acetonitrile, butanes, ethanol, propane, pentane, toluene, total xylenes, chloroform, ethylene oxide, methylene chloride, benzene, 1,2-dichloroethane, and trichloroethylene. Although Maine requires that all marijuana and marijuana products to be transferred from one marijuana business licensee to another be tested for residual solvents, the state does not mandate residual solvents testing for marijuana seedlings and immature marijuana plants sold to consumers. Residual solvent testing is also not required for marijuana flower, kief, trim, hashish, or marijuana products not manufactured using chemical solvents

Does Maine License Independent Marijuana Testing Facilities?

Yes. Maine issues marijuana testing laboratory certifications to independent marijuana testing facilities in the state. According to an annual report of the Maine State Legislature published in 2020, no testing facilities applied for a marijuana testing facility as of December 31, 2019. The state expected at least three, possibly four, marijuana testing facilities to be in operation at the end of 2020. As of April 2022, Maine has three active and two conditional marijuana testing facility licensees.

What Accreditations Do Marijuana Testing Facilities Need in Maine?

According to 18-691 C.M.R. Ch. 5., a marijuana testing facility must demonstrate ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation before the CDC may issue a full testing facility certification for the establishment to operate in the state. The testing facility may apply for full certification for only the testing fields accredited by ISO/IEC 17025:2017 or its most recent version.

ISO/IEC 17025 is a quality management framework and technical competence standard for laboratory testing and calibration services. It applies to establishments or facilities that generate test and calibration results. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a non-profit organization comprising over 160 national standards organizations. The ISO brings together professionals to share information and produce voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant international standards that stimulate innovation and address global challenges via the work of its members. According to ISO, over 100,000 laboratories worldwide rely on the ISO/IEC 17025 standard as their primary source of laboratory certification.

Accredited laboratories conduct tests in accordance with globally accepted standards (ISO/IEC 17025), and the results are validated by a broad range of government and regulatory agencies. The consensus between ISO/IEC 17025 accrediting organizations stipulates that accredited members' test results must adhere to the same basic quality requirements regardless of the accreditation body. Regular audits are required to ensure that the accredited testing facilities maintain their accreditations.

Following a 2017 amendment to the ISO/IEC, the certification process has been expanded to include five standard requirements. Accrediting bodies will assess laboratories for the following criteria before being granted ISO/IEC 17025 accreditations:

  • The laboratory staff's credentials, training, and experience
  • Quality assurance procedures
  • Sampling techniques
  • Testing procedures
  • Test validation methods
  • Traceability of measurements to national standards
  • Procedures for recording and reporting test results
  • Laboratory testing facilities

How to Get a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License in Maine

Before a testing facility may obtain a marijuana testing facility license in Maine, the applicant must first obtain certification from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The testing facility must receive from the CDC full or provisional certification for a minimum of one analyte and technology to test marijuana and marijuana products. Section 2 and Section 3 of the Maine Rules for the Certification of Marijuana Testing Facilities contain requirements for obtaining the required certification from the DHHS.

After fulfilling all the required conditions for obtaining a DHHS certification, an applicant may complete the Application form for a Maine Marijuana Testing Facility Certification available on the OMP website. Note that certifications will not be issued until all the relevant fees are paid. There is a base fee of $500 for full certification if the applicant holds an ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 accreditation and Maine provisional certification. The base fee is $1,000 for an applicant with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 certification without Maine provisional certification. A fee of $1,250 is applicable if the applicant currently only holds an approved application submitted for ISO/IEC 17025: 2017 accreditation.

In addition to the base fee, an applicant for DHHS certification will pay $50 per technology per analyte category. The required fee may be paid by check made payable to "Treasurer, State of Maine" and mailed to Diana McKenzie at Maine MTF Certification Program, 286 Water Street, 11 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333. Completed applications may be submitted to:

Maine MTF Certification Program

286 Water Street

11 SHS

Augusta, ME 04333-0011

Phone 1: (207) 287-4758

Phone 2: (207) 287-1929

Fax: (207) 287-4172

After obtaining the requisite certification and accreditation, a marijuana testing facility license applicant will be required to pass through a three-stage process to complete the application process for an active or full license.

Stage One: Conditional Licensure

Here, the applicant must undergo a criminal record check. Each director, manager, officer, and general partner of the marijuana testing establishment must submit to a criminal record check. A criminal record check may be initiated by scheduling an appointment with the state's approved third-party fingerprinting service provider - IdentoGO.

Subsequently, the applicant and any employee of the marijuana testing establishment must complete the information release form and apply for IICs (Individual Identification Cards) online via the Maine marijuana licensing system. Individual Identification Cards are necessary for all directors, managers, officials, and general partners of the testing facility.

Upon completing the application for an Individual Identification Card, the applicant must complete the conditional license application for a marijuana testing facility. The following are required to be submitted at this stage of the application:

  • Preliminary operating plan. The OMP provides an operating plan template for conditional license applicants on its website
  • Principal attestations
  • Maine Revenue Services -Tax Disclosure (Principals)
  • A list of the fields of testing for which the applicant sought ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation and sufficient documentation to prove ISO accreditation or application for accreditation
  • A list of all testing fields for which the applicant applied or obtained provisional or full Maine CDC certification and sufficient documentation to prove certification status
  • A written policy that ensures personnel and management of the facility are free from undue internal and external influences that may adversely affect the quality of work or diminish confidence in its competence and integrity. This policy must include a signed disclosure by the facility owners stating that no financial conflict or interest in, landlord-tenant relationship with, or loan to, another licensed marijuana establishment exists
  • A description of the business and management structure
  • Business ownership documentation, such as bylaws, LLC agreements, stock ledgers, and partnership agreements
  • A management plan
  • Written policies and procedures ensuring the protection of clients' confidential information and proprietary rights
  • A written policy outlining the legal chain of custody protocols, including procedures for controlling access to certificates of analysis data and other testing data

Step Two: Local Authorization

In order to locate and operate a marijuana testing facility in a Maine municipality, the conditional licensee must get authorization from that municipality. In Maine, municipalities have 90 days to respond to such requests. In rare cases, municipalities may grant conditional licensees additional 90 days to get authorizations.

After receiving a request for local authorization, the municipality will assess whether a conditional licensee conforms with all relevant local regulations. If the municipality rules to grant authorization, a completed and notarized local certification form will be submitted by the municipality to the Office of Marijuana Policy. Subsequently, the applicant will be notified of this outcome and informed to proceed to apply for full licensure.

Step Three: Active Licensure

Here, the applicant must complete the Active License Application and submit supplemental information in order to be issued a full marijuana testing facility license. The following supplemental information will be required:

  • Updated operating plan
  • Security plan
  • Facility plan
  • Proof of registration with the State of Maine Tax Assessor
  • Evidence of ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation
  • Proof of provisional or full certification by the CDC
  • Evidence of compliance with all relevant electrical inspection and permitting requirements

Once the Office of Marijuana Policy finds that all requirements have been met and documents submitted, the Office will invoice the applicant with the relevant fee for a full and active marijuana testing facility license. Money orders or bank checks are the only acceptable forms of payment for the licensing fee. Payment may not be made using a personal check or cash. Upon paying the full license fee, the applicant will receive an active license from the OMP. The Maine marijuana testing facility license is valid for one year from the date of issuance. For more information on obtaining a marijuana testing facility license, visit the Applications and Forms page on the OMP website.

How Much Does a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License Cost in Maine?

Pursuant to Section 207 of the Maine Marijuana Legalization Act, a marijuana testing facility license costs $1,000. However, an application fee of $250 applies when completing the application for the license. The marijuana testing facility license is renewable annually for a fee of $1,000. However, for a renewal application submitted less than 30 days prior to the current license's expiration date, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services may request an additional $2,500 fee.

Are there Local Regulations for Cannabis Testing Facilities in Maine?

Maine permits each municipality in the state to decide its level of participation in the cannabis sector. Municipalities have the authority to restrict the establishment of certain marijuana businesses, practices and hours of operation as well as location in building zones and proximity to public places such as schools and religious institutions. Hence, before the state grants a full license to a marijuana business, the municipality must approve the establishment and operation of the marijuana business within its jurisdiction.

Maine municipal regulations for marijuana testing facilities vary from one locality to another. Hence, it is recommended that you research the specific rules in the municipality where you intend to establish a marijuana testing facility before applying for a marijuana testing facility license.

For instance, the City of Portland has enacted an ordinance containing strict requirements for mitigating odor and any adverse effects of marijuana waste disposal. Also, the City of South Portland does not require marijuana testing facilities to obtain local business licenses in order to operate within the city borders.

Maine Marijuana Testing License