Marijuana testing labs could be coming to Riverside

Marijuana testing labs could be coming to Riverside

Marijuana testing laboratories will be allowed in Riverside — the one exception to a temporary city ban that prohibits all other commercial marijuana land use and the outdoor cultivation of recreational marijuana.


The state is scheduled to issue cannabis-related licenses beginning Jan. 1, 2018, after the passage of Prop. 64. The state Bureau of Cannabis Control is in charge of ensuring that the cannabis is tested for THC, cannabinoids, contaminants and other compounds


Now some of that testing can happen in Riverside.


The Riverside City Council’s 6-1 vote drew praise Tuesday, Nov. 7, from Allison Mackenzie, chief executive of Babcock Laboratories in Riverside.


“I believe it seeks to safely address the city’s concerns regarding cannabis and the impending formal legalization statewide of cannabis for medical and adult use,” Mackenzie said. “This city ordinance will allow testing laboratories to serve the community by protecting the public health and ensuring the safety of products used by our citizens.”


Mayor Rusty Bailey thanked Mackenzie for bringing the issue to the council’s attention in summer.


“This is just a great example of community advocacy,” Bailey said.


Councilman Steve Adams voted no.


Adams said in an interview Tuesday that he considered marijuana harmful and didn’t want the city to encourage the use of cannabis.


“I think it’s the first step in bringing marijuana to the area,” Adams said. “I’m absolutely opposed to that.”


The City Council voted unanimously in September to issue a temporary ban on commercial marijuana and again in October to extend that moratorium until September 2018. Both votes, intended to allow the city to further study the issue, specifically excluded cannabis testing.


The ordinance allowing marijuana testing doesn’t limit the number of testing laboratories, but the money needed to open a testing laboratory and practical restrictions on where they can be located mean it’s unlikely there will be many in the city, said Ted White, deputy director of the city’s Community and Economic Development division.


If that changes, city officials will re-evaluate, White said.


A public workshop on the city’s marijuana policies is planned for Dec. 5.