Montana marijuana lab closes over compliance-software concern

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Owners of a marijuana testing lab in Montana said they’ve shut down out of concern that regulators are more focused on tax revenue and less on a concern that the state’s compliance software could lead to untested cannabis.

Ron and Kristine Brost of Stillwater Labs in Olney said large batches of cannabis aren’t being tested because of an issue with Metrc, the state’s cannabis compliance tracking software, according to the Daily Montanan.

Kristan Barbour, division administrator of the state’s Cannabis Control Division, told the newspaper that the agency is focused on public health and that taxes are administrated by the Business and Income Taxes Division.

As for Metrc and lab-testing standards, Barbour acknowledged that the software could allow for larger batches to be approved without being properly tested.

Barbour said the division is hiring more staff to investigate issues with retail operators and working with Metrc to solve the issue.

“Harvest test lots identified in the report where tested lot quantities exceeded the 5-pound lot requirement, and greater than 5 pounds of flower sourced from these test lots was sold at licensed dispensaries are being considered for further investigation and possible enforcement action,” Barbour told the Daily Montanan.

Montana launched adult-use cannabis sales in 2022.

Retailers in the state sold more than $303 million in medical and recreational marijuana products to consumers.