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New Jersey Cannabis Testing Regulations (Updated Monthly)

ByTrichome Team

September 10, 2021

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The road to adult-use legalization in New Jersey—with last November’s voter-supported constitutional amendment finally signed into law by Governor Murphy in February 2021, after months of delay—has been a bit tumultuous, to say the least. 

And as it happens, formalizing the actual law was one thing—developing effective regulatory frameworks around it was quite another. Among these regulatory frameworks were regulations for cannabis testing, which were released after much debate and effort in late August 2021. 

Because things change so rapidly in the cannabis industry in general, and in the brand-new adult-use market of New Jersey specifically, we’ve compiled current cannabis testing regulations for use by cultivators, processors and manufacturers in the high-THC cannabis space in the state of New Jersey. We’ll update this post as regulations change. 

Key Players and Decision-Makers

First up, some terminology and an overview of key players in the industry. The regulatory body behind these testing rules (and others) in New Jersey is the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC). The CRC guides the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of recreational cannabis in the Garden State. 

The CRC engages with a variety of stakeholders as they craft regulations. And as part of their recent publication of the initial rules, they seek to “prioritize applications from minority-, women- and disabled-veteran-owned businesses.” Economically disadvantaged applicants and those from designated Impact Zones will also be prioritized. 

Dispensaries in New Jersey are known as Alternative Treatment Centers, or ATCs, at least in the context of medical cannabis. There are 20 ATCs in the state. And, as of now, there are no operational stores selling recreational cannabis, but that will soon change. 

Cannabis Testing Regulations in New Jersey

Overall, New Jersey’s adult-use cannabis testing regulations are pretty straightforward and much in line with what we at Trichome Analytical expected. Primarily, 0.5% of every batch or lot of cannabis has to be tested by a licensed testing laboratory. There are not yet any batch size limits established for smokable cannabis, but that may change as additional testing guidance is released. Establishing limits on batch sizes for smokable cannabis is important for a representative subsample to be taken and analyzed by a third party laboratory. Typically we see 10-15lb batch limits in other state regulations, which means that every 10-15lbs of flower has a representative 20-35g portion tested. Given the inherent inhomogeneity of cannabis, batch size limits are highly recommended.

On the other hand, the adult-use testing regulations did establish a 35,000 unit maximum batch size for manufactured products. These batch size limits are typically larger than smokable cannabis, as manufactured products are controlled through the product formulation process to be homogeneous and evenly dosed throughout. When labs sample manufactured products, samples are taken from various points within the batch to confirm the homogeneity and dosing throughout the production run. Although the adult-use regulations do not go into detail on the homogeneity testing requirements, we believe this will be clarified in the Cannabis Regulatory Commission’s Testing Guidance, once released.

While we’re still waiting for full, complete sample testing guidance, the following tests (among others) will likely be included: 

  • Cannabinoid content
  • The presence of pests and foreign materials
  • Microbial analysis for mold and mildew
  • Mycotoxins
  • Heavy metals
  • Pesticides
  • Labeling accuracy of 95%-105%
    • Note: we do hope they change this regulation, as this tight variance may be difficult to meet—we usually see labeling accuracy in the 80%-120% range for cannabis products. 
  • Terpene testing will be required for some product types: 
    • Definitely flower, potentially all inhalable products
  • No analytes or limits were announced

Cannabis testing regulations also included mandatory stability testing at six and 12 months to ensure product potency and purity as well as to support or debunk the expiration date. To this end, a cannabis business will retain samples from each batch and store them in normal storage conditions (or as noted on the label), and submit those samples at six- and 12-month intervals. 

Stability testing will include (at a minimum): 

  • Microbial contamination analysis
  • Water activity
  • Heavy metal testing (for vaporized formulations only)

Regarding expiration dates, all water-containing formulations can only exceed a 14 day expiration date if stability testing is completed. All other products are restricted to a six month expiration date, unless the stability testing proves otherwise. Once a product reaches the expiration date, the product must be destroyed and rendered unusable. 

It’s important to note that, as it stands in September 2021, we’re still operating off interim guidelines for testing: 

What Do the Regulations Mean for Trichome Analytical? 

Due to our numerous accreditations and certifications (like ISO/IEC 17025:2017 accreditation), we already meet or exceed all established protocols for testing, and that’s intentional. We looked ahead and adopted the most rigorous standards possible to ensure alignment with the CRC’s regulations, as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) once federal legalization becomes a reality. 

We are well-equipped to test high-THC cannabis from businesses within the state of New Jersey as well as low-THC hemp from businesses and operations nationwide. We also bring a unique set of competencies to help organizations adopt Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMP) and ironclad Quality Management Systems (QMS). 

Check back next month for any updates to testing regulations.