Harrington-based AgroLab Organics will operate a medical marijuana testing and compliance center for medical marijuana dispensaries statewide.
The Delaware Division of Public Health announced Nov. 7 the completion of contract negotiations with AgroLab Organics.
Andrea Wojcik, Division of Public Health spokeswoman, said AgroLab is expected to begin testing products in early 2017. She said testing the marijuana ensures safety and quality of the product.
Janie Maedler, mother of Rehoboth Elementary student and user of medical marijuana oils Rylie Maedler, said she’s glad the state is finally moving forward with the contract.
“This is a very good thing,” she said. “It will give families some assurance they’re getting a good, clean product.”
AgroLab Organics is a partnership between Bill Rohrer, owner of AgroLab Inc., and Dan Woodall, a chemist and compliance officer for the Department of Agriculture’s compliance laboratory.
In an interview Nov. 10, Rohrer said AgroLab Organics will be testing for THC levels, solvents, molds, microorganisms and pesticides. The lab is going to ensure the medicine is a uniform mixture and the product is what it says it is, he said.
Rohrer said the lab will not be testing all the marijuana, but will instead test a representative sample of all the different strains.
“The lab will confirm the marijuana is consistent and safe,” he said.
State law requires compassion centers to pay the state a $40,000 permit fee every two years. There is no fee associated with the compliance center contract, which receives an exclusivity deal to provide the service.
Emily Knearl, Division of Public Health spokeswoman, said Nov. 10, the compassion centers will be invoiced by the lab for the testing services. The testing center, she said, will operate under the supervision and authority of the Division of Public Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana.
The state released the request for this service in June, with a Sept. 15 response deadline. Two companies submitted a bid. The losing bid was Fraunhofer USA Inc, a multinational research institute with a branch in Newark.
Knearl said First State Compassion Center, the state’s first and only medical marijuana distributor, has been testing the products using an Ultra High Performance Liquid Chromatography system. The system was a requirement and met all regulatory needs, she said.
The announcement marks the third contract in three months signed by the state with a vendor to provide a service related to distribution of the plant and its tinctures throughout the state.
In September, New York-based Columbia Care, which has dispensaries in California, Arizona, Illinois, New York, Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts, was announced as the winning bid to open Kent County's first medical marijuana dispensary.
Then in October, the state announced First State as the winner of the contract for opening dispensary in Sussex County. First State opened its Wilmington-based dispensary and growing operation in June 2015.
Medical marijuana was legalized in Delaware with the passage of Senate Bill 17 in 2011, during the 146th General Assembly, and went into effect July 1, 2012.