On April 23, 2023, the Delaware legislature adopted House Bill #2 related to the creation of the Delaware Marijuana Control Act (the “DMCA”) to become the 22nd state in the Union legalize recreational marijuana. As part of this new legislation, a framework to obtain a Delaware marijuana testing facility license was outlined. If you are interested in starting a cannabis analytical laboratory in Delaware, you will need to obtain a license from the new Office of the Marijuana Commissioner.
Below, our cannabis testing consultants provide you with an overview of the requirements and the steps you need to take to obtain a Delaware marijuana testing laboratory license. If you would like to discuss in more detail, please schedule a call for a free consultation!
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The Delaware Office of the Marijuana Commissioner anticipates that marijuana testing license application packets will be available by May 2024. Only five licenses are expected to be granted in September 2024. The next round of license applications will not begin until April 2026. So, if you want to be one of the first marijuana testing license holders and have the enormous benefit of only a few early competitors, you’ll need to move fast or you’ll have to wait two additional years.
Delaware is a highly competitive state since it is only granting five (5) marijuana testing facility licenses until mid-2026. Three of these will be an “Open” license and a “Social Equity” license (discussed below). This means that anyone who wants to win one of the first laboratory testing licenses needs to understand the requirements of each license type and prepare a complete application well before the submission window opens. Our cannabis laboratory consultants cannot overstate the importance of starting to plan as early as possible. Winning a license will be a high-speed race!
Applicant Eligibility Requirements
Delaware cannabis testing facility licenses may be denied for any of the reasons:
1) Applicant “Financial Irresponsibility”.
2) Making false statements to the Office of the Marijuana Commissioner.
3) A wide variety of felony convictions.
Application Requirements for a Delaware Marijuana Testing Facility License
All Delaware marijuana testing facility licenses applications are currently required to include:
A business plan with detailed financials.
Statements about owner experience, training, and expertise.
Marijuana diversion prevention plan.
Social responsibility plan.
Labor peace agreement.
A criminal, civil, or regulatory history of other applicant business entities.
Suitability of the proposed marijuana testing facility location.
Other items that the Commissioner may request.
We believe that because of delayed timing for ISO 17025 accreditation for cannabis testing labs (see Additional Requirements to Consider below), additional items will be requested before a laboratory will be allowed to offer commercial testing. These are likely to include any documentation that relates to the testing competency including at a standard operating procedures (SOP’s), validation plans, validation reports, & validation data.
The cost to apply for the initial application will be determined by the Office of the Marijuana Commissioner but is not known yet. However, based on our extensive experience we predict a non-refundable fee between $5,000-$10000. If you win a Delaware marijuana testing license, you will need to renew it every two years and the cost is $10,000.
Guide on How to Start a Cannabis Testing Facility in Delaware
In this section, we provide you with a 12-step guide on how to start a Delaware marijuana testing laboratory.
Step 1: Read the Laws and Regulations. You must understand the rules that govern Delaware cannabis testing facilities. By doing so, you will understand the minimum requirements.
Step 2: Engage an experienced cannabis testing laboratory consultant.
Step 3: Develop a cannabis testing laboratory business plan with a realistic proforma.
Step 4: Raise Capital.
Step 5: Begin preparing the documents to apply for a Delaware cannabis testing facility license. We invite you to watch an E4 Bioscience educational video about Cannabis Business License Preparation.
Step 6: Identify a suitable laboratory location. We invite you to watch an E4 Bioscience educational video about Using Business Intelligence to Place a Cannabis Testing Laboratory.
Step 7 Submit the application early in the submission window.
Step 7: Develop cannabis testing standard operating procedures.
Step 8: Receive provisional license.
Step 10: Purchase equipment and validate testing procedures. We invite you to watch an educational E4 Bioscience video about Cannabis Laboratory Instrumentation.
Step 11: Prepare for your cannabis lab inspection by Department of Health.
Step 12: Obtain ISO 17025 accreditation.
Additional Requirements for Delaware Marijuana Testing Facilities
Delaware Open vs. Social Equity License Types
Open licenses are available to anyone who meets eligibility requirements describe above. A social equity applicant must meet all Open license eligibility requirements AND one of a variety of criteria that generally includes:
living in a disproportionately impacted area within a specific time frame or
was convicted of or adjudicated delinquent for any marijuana-related offence (with exceptions).
Delaware Laboratory Testing Requirements
The Delaware Office of the Marijuana Commissioner has not issued specific testing requirements for analytes or action levels yet. However, the legislative rules outline the need to test for residual solvents, poisons, or toxins; harmful chemicals; dangerous molds or mildew; filth; harmful microbials such as E. Coli or salmonella; and pesticides. We believe that additional harmful microbials including several Aspergillus spp. and possibly Listeria monocytogenes will also be included.
Delaware ISO 17025 Accreditation Requirements
Delaware Marijuana Testing Facilities will be required to obtain ISO 17025 accreditation, but surprisingly, it is not required to submit a complete application. However, the legislative rules state that your cannabis testing lab must obtain ISO 17025 accreditation from an International Laboratory Accreditation Corporation (ILAC) recognized accreditation body within the first applicable licensing period.
We highly recommend reading the chapter “Preparing Cannabis Laboratory Business License Applications” in the general reference textbook written by our Managing Partner, Shaun R. Opie, “Cannabis Laboratory Fundamentals”.
Check out a 2023 cannabis laboratory business license case study.
Conclusions on Delaware Cannabis Testing Licenses
Since Delaware will issue a limited number of marijuana testing facility licenses, you can expect intense competition. We suggest you begin working on your application today if you plan on being one of the five cannabis testing labs in Delaware. Schedule a call today to learn how our cannabis testing consultants can help you win a lab and start a profitable testing facility.