An independent cannabis testing laboratory in Massachusetts said it saw a 38% increase in samples received in 2020 despite a shutdown of recreational dispensaries during the first surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MCR Labs is based in Framingham and tests both recreational and medical cannabis samples submitted for compliance by cultivators and product manufacturers licensed by the state Cannabis Control Commission.
“Looking at trends year over year, like the volume of samples we tested or what we’re testing more of, is a really unique way to explore changes beyond how many licenses were approved or how many units were sold,” said Michael Kahn, MCR Labs’ president and founder. “2020′s stats are especially interesting because of how COVID affected the industry’s progress.”
Though MCR Labs saw an overall 38% increase in samples from Jan. 1, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021, there was a 35.5% dip in volume from January to April, which includes the months adult-use cannabis sales were halted by Gov. Charlie Baker.
Recreational dispensaries had to shut their doors on March 24 and were allowed to reopen for curbside delivery on May 25.
From May to August, submissions of marijuana vaporizer devices or cartridges surged by 300%, according to MCR Labs, a larger surge than other product types once the adult-use shutdown was over.
Samples of edibles or other infused products increased 78% year-over-year, cannabis flower increased 28% and vaporizer devices increased 22%, according to the lab.
The combined overall pass rate of all safety screens run on cannabis products submitted to the laboratory in 2020 was 91.2%, which is slightly higher than in 2019 but consistent with the last 4 years, MCR Labs said.
“I think it’s really significant that in a year where more licenses were approved and more new producers entered the market than years prior, products are still passing the state’s strict testing requirements at about the same rate,” said Jonathan Wani, MCR Labs’ director of business development. “It shows that the groups getting into this industry know what they’re doing, which should make people feel good about where the industry is headed especially here in Massachusetts.”