The A2LA-accredited Demeter Laboratory was recently awarded a unique contract as part of Oklahoma’s comprehensive plan to ensure uniform quality in medical cannabis products. In 2019 Demeter was the first medical cannabis laboratory in the state of Oklahoma to be accredited to ISO/IEC 17025 by A2LA, distinguishing them as an industry leader in the state and affirming the capabilities and competency of their laboratory. Now, the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) has contracted Demeter Laboratory to evaluate all other cannabis labs in the state for their adherence to OMMA rules and regulations, and to conduct secondary testing on products submitted to other labs. As part of this contract, Demeter will no longer provide commercial testing of cannabis products, and will dedicate their facility and staff exclusively to OMMA’s quality assurance program.
Demeter is part of a family of businesses that started with a single pharmacy in 2004, and since expanded into a variety of healthcare-related fields. They have extensive experience with medical cannabis testing, informed by a broader background in microbiology, molecular biology, and chemistry. Before their contract with OMMA, they provided private testing services to manufacturers and growers of cannabis products, but their new role will have a much broader impact on the cannabis industry.
As states across the US have gradually legalized cannabis, each one has had to develop its own process for ensuring the safety and efficacy of cannabis products. OMMA was created to oversee the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Program, and their primary responsibility is to ensure that consumers have access to safe medical cannabis products. A key part of OMMA’s approach has been to select a trusted and capable laboratory to provide statewide oversight, which allows them to utilize the skills and expertise of scientific professionals who are already working in cannabis testing. Demeter was chosen for this responsibility primarily because of their extensive experience, credentials, and drive to improve the industry as a whole.
Ross Mash, Communications Director at Demeter Laboratory, is hopeful that OMMA’s approach to cannabis industry oversight will have a positive influence even outside the state of Oklahoma. “Medical cannabis regulations are relatively new across the nation, and states with legal systems tend to copy strong ideas from one another.” He explained. “The QA lab program set up by the state is a well thought out idea with the goal of protecting patients and improving the participation of all stakeholders, including labs. Other states that have had problems with testing and the safety of products will be watching the roll out of this process to see if we have success and how they might implement similar ideas to fit their needs.”
The focal point of this Oklahoma QA program, of course, is providing quality products to those who rely on them for medical applications. “The consumer is the most important piece of this whole process,” Mash went on to say. “Product purity is a must and needs to be monitored and tracked so the consumer will never feel betrayed. Our goal is to help OMMA create processes and procedures that make testing better and more reliable for the end user.” Although A2LA and Demeter Laboratory have different roles in the quality infrastructure, we share a responsibility to ensure both safety and peace of mind to the end user. We extend our congratulations to Demeter Laboratory and have confidence in their ability to continuously improve the cannabis industry.
Information on A2LA’s comprehensive cannabis laboratory accreditation program can be found here.