The state's Cannabis Control Commission has granted final licenses to a pair of independent testing laboratories. The move is seen as the clearing of one of the final hurdles standing in the way of the state's first marijuana retail sales.
The commission voted Thursday to award final licenses to MCR Labs of Framingham, and CDX Analytics of Salem. Both laboratories, which have been open for some time, have been testing cannabis for dispensaries licensed under the state's medical marijuana program.
State law requires all marijuana products sold on the adult-use market be tested by a licensed independent lab. Earlier this month, the commission issued final retail licenses to two other dispensaries — one in Leicester, the other in Northampton.
"This is just one more piece of the puzzle coming together," said Steven Hoffman, who chairs the commission, said after the licenses were awarded.
Still, Hoffman was hesitant to predict when the first legal sale will be made.
"I don't think there's any merit in me saying two weeks, three weeks, four weeks," said Hoffman. "We're getting close, but I'm not going to give you a specific date."
Still to be worked out are details over how cannabis grown for the medical market can be transferred to the new adult-use retail market. Dispensaries licensed to serve both markets must apply for a waiver from the Department of Public Health to transfer product grown for medical marijuana patients to the recreational marijuana market.
The DPH has overseen the state's medical marijuana market since the first dispensary opened in 2015. The Cannabis Control Commission is in the process of drafting regulations for the medical program, as it takes over control of the medical program on Jan. 1, 2019. Public hearings on those regulations will be held in Springfield and Boston on Monday, Oct. 29.