Alaska Marijuana Testing License

Interested in starting a Cannabis business in Alaska?

Does Alaska Require Testing for Marijuana and Marijuana Products?

Alaska requires testing for marijuana and marijuana products in compliance with Ballot Measure 2. The state also requires any business intending to engage in marijuana and cannabis product testing to obtain a state-issued testing license. Per Section 306.605 of the 3 Alaska Administrative Code (AAC), a person or entity must not offer marijuana testing services or provide test results unless they have a marijuana testing license.

The primary purpose of testing marijuana and cannabis products is to analyze and certify their potency and safety before selling them to consumers. In Alaska, licensed marijuana testing facilities are required to conduct the following tests on marijuana and marijuana products:

  • Microbial Testing - This test checks marijuana, water-and-food-based concentrates, and marijuana products for the following compounds:

    • Salmonella species - bacteria
    • Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) - bacteria
    • Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger - fungi

    The acceptable number for each sample while conducting microbial testing for marijuana or marijuana products are values less than 1 colony-forming unit (CFU/g)

  • Potency Testing - The potency test examines the concentration of CBD, THC, CBDA, and THCA in marijuana, marijuana products, and marijuana concentrate. Licensed marijuana testing facilities must report the total CBD and THC levels and list a single percentage concentration based on the dry weight for each required cannabinoid. This percentage represents the average of all samples within a test batch

  • Residual Solvents and Metals Testing - This test checks solvent-based concentrates for the following compounds:

    • Benzene
    • Butanes
    • Toluene
    • Hexane
    • Heptanes
    • Total xylenes (para-xylenes, meta-xylenes, or ortho-xylenes)

The acceptable limits for benzene, toluene, and total xylenes are values less than 1 ppm (parts per million). For butanes and heptanes, the acceptable limits are less than 800 ppm and 500 ppm respectively and less than 10 ppm for hexane.

Does Alaska License Independent Marijuana Testing Facilities?

Yes, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board (MCB) licenses independent marijuana testing facilities. Licensed independent marijuana testing facilities in Alaska must use the following as references or guidelines for testing methodologies:

As of 2023, Alaska has three operating marijuana testing facilities with active licenses, and one facility with an active license but awaiting inspection. No state agency conducts marijuana or marijuana product testing in Alaska.

What Accreditations Do Marijuana Testing Facilities Need in Alaska?

Although 3 AAC does not explicitly state the type of accreditation required of licensed marijuana testing facilities in Alaska, most regulated states require cannabis testing laboratories to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 standards. The International Standard Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) are two independent organizations that ensure the maintenance and promotion of standards in the science and technology fields. ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation is needed to demonstrate the technical competence, reliability, and integrity to operate a world-class testing laboratory. It is a standard that defines the requirements for calibrations and testing in laboratories, including cannabis testing laboratories.

A marijuana testing facility must meet specific requirements before obtaining ISO/IEC 17025. These are:

  • General Requirements - These requirements include being impartial, maintaining a high level of confidentiality, and not compromising standards in the face of commercial or financial pressure. A marijuana testing laboratory that needs to obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation must desist from sharing its customers' data with third parties without their express consent
  • Structural Requirements - These include defining a management structure and identifying the individuals responsible for each activity in a marijuana testing facility. Additionally, the facility must empower its personnel with the required resources to identify and minimize any deviation from the standard laboratory procedures and execute, maintain, and enhance the laboratory management system
  • Process Requirements - A marijuana testing facility that intends to obtain ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation must establish a procedure for reviewing customers' requests and applying the proper laboratory procedure to satisfy the process' requirements. The system must include determining any variation between a customer's request and the contract and resolving them before testing marijuana or marijuana products
  • Resources Requirements - These requirements include having the essential resources such as competent personnel, facilities, enabling environment, and laboratory equipment. Laboratory personnel must adhere to the laboratory's management system and play their assigned roles. A marijuana testing facility must have relevant facilities and operate in an environment that will not affect test results validity. They must also provide the equipment needed to conduct laboratory operations and achieve accurate results
  • Management System Requirements - These include establishing, maintaining, executing, and documenting a management system capable of assuring consistent and quality test results

How to Get a Marijuana Testing Laboratory License in Alaska

Business entities or individuals seeking to obtain marijuana testing licenses in Alaska must first secure the approval of the Alaska Marijuana Control Board (MCB) by demonstrating competence to conduct each test for which they seek their licenses. The MCB is the agency responsible for issuing marijuana licenses and regulating the state cannabis industry. After the approval, applicants must determine if the proposed local jurisdictions of operations permits commercial marijuana activities, including marijuana testing facilities. The MCB maintains a spreadsheet containing information on communities in Alaska that restrict commercial marijuana activities.

In Alaska, any business entity or individual interested in obtaining a marijuana testing license must initiate their application online using the myAlaska portal, a state-dedicated portal for all cannabis license applications. However, new users on the portal must create their profiles before proceeding with license applications. While initiating the online application, all parties with direct interests in the license (prospective licensees) must be involved in the application process and are required to provide all required information on the portal. For instance, if the applicant is a business entity, all members, officers, partners, and shareholders of that entity must participate in the online application. If that entity is a subsidiary of another entity, all the shareholders, members, partners, and officers of the parent entity must also be involved in the online application process.

After submitting the online application, marijuana testing license applicants in Alaska must complete certain supplemental forms and provide some documents to the MCB via email. These forms and documents include:

Typically, after submitting the initial online application on the myAlaska portal, the system will automatically generate a cover sheet, public notice, and advertising notice. It will also issue the applicant a license number. Applicants must fill out the cover sheet and submit it with all the required supplemental forms (completed) and documents to the MCB via email. The MCB advises that each form and document be attached separately in the email and not as one long document. It also recommends using the license number generated from the initial online application as the email's subject.

Applicants must pay all required fees in a way recommended by the MCB to obtain marijuana testing licenses in Alaska, without which the Board will not consider or process their requests. The time it takes the MCB to conclude a license application process usually depends on the completeness of the application and the number of requests they have at the time of applying.

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

The cost of a new marijuana testing license application in Alaska is $1,000. Applicants also pay a $1,000 fee for marijuana testing licenses. Each prospective licensee involved in a marijuana testing license application must pay $48.25 as the cost of obtaining fingerprints. A marijuana testing license must be renewed annually for the licensee to continue to engage in legal cannabis testing in Alaska. The renewal cost is $5,000.

The acceptable methods of marijuana testing license fee payments by the Marijuana Control Board (MCB) include cashier's checks, checks, money orders, and cash. The Board has a procedure for receiving cash payments. Applicants/licensees can only make cash payments using a drop box at the MCB's office at Linny Pacillo Garage, 655 F Street, Anchorage, AK 99501. The lobby opensMondays through Fridays between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., and security guards are usually available to assist applicants/licensees while depositing cash. Interested persons can also contact the MCB's office at (907) 269-6620 for instructions on using a drop box for cash payments.

Are there Local Regulations for Cannabis Testing Facilities in Alaska?

Yes. In Alaska, marijuana testing facilities must first determine that the proposed counties or cities of operations permit commercial cannabis activities. They must also comply with specific regulations such as fire safety, public health, and tax code and ordinance of the municipality where they intend to operate. Generally, a licensed marijuana testing facility cannot hold a marijuana establishment license other than a marijuana testing license in the state.

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Alaska Marijuana Testing License