Zoning Board of Appeals signs off on cannabis testing at Smithers Lab

Jun 23, 2021

On June 23, the Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a special permit to allow the Smithers Lab at 790 Main Street to add cannabis testing to its laboratory services.

Town Meeting voted to allow the lab to test cannabis despite its close proximity to the John W. Decas Elementary School on June 12. 

However, it’s unlikely any cannabis testing will take place while the Decas School is in use, as the new Wareham Elementary School is scheduled to open on October 12 — about a month before Smithers anticipates beginning cannabis testing.

Smithers still needs to be licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission before testing can start.

The lab will not make any changes to its physical facility, in use since 1969, to add the new testing service. Cannabis testing will take place in a currently empty lab. Additional security measures will be added to comply with state laws.

Cannabis testing is required by the Cannabis Control Commission on each batch of product manufactured in Massachusetts — including flower, edibles, concentrates or vaporizer fluid. Each sample would have a volume of roughly a teaspoon, most of which would be destroyed during the testing process as Smithers employees measure the potency; ensure no pesticides are on the product; measure the amount of heavy metals, bacterial and fungal contamination; and look for the presence of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. Any remaining material must be made unusable.

The testing process is largely the same as that for food crops.

Smithers would likely test about eight to ten cannabis samples each day.

Because the customers for the testing business would be cannabis growers and manufacturers, there would be no “walk-in” clients. All samples would be delivered by people in vehicles licensed by the Cannabis Control Commission, and samples would be stored in a locked cage in a locked room, accessible only to some staff members. All employees working with cannabis must pass a background check.

Smithers representatives said that cannabis testing would allow the company to make seven new hires over the next five years.