The cutting-edge marijuana lab: another step to making herb legit?

From California (where else) comes news that a new, state-of-the-art testing lab for marijuana is giving customers of legal grass stores the peace of mind they need when it comes to strength and safety of the bud.

From DrugReporter at Alternet:

At downtown Oakland's Harborside Health Center, the hairy green buds have numbers. The new nomenclature beckons viewers from within seven gleaming glass display cases. Antiseptic white placards boast authoritative black digits. Each stands erect next to a Petri dish of high-octane "White Rhino" or "Afgooey Super Melt." They read: 7 percent, 11 percent, 18 percent, or 21 percent. Even 80 percent.

"80 percent THC?" asks a potential customer. He's referring to delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol - the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

"That's a concentrate," reminds Stephen DeAngelo, proud owner of the three-year-old collective. DeAngelo's facility boasts 20,000 members and grossed more than $10 million last year. Even amid the recession, lines are a constant phenomenon and DeAngelo is looking to double his space. Hundreds of new customers sign up monthly, attracted partly by the immaculate facility: its savvy, well-paid "budtenders" and $40, eighth-ounce pot dosages. But part of the appeal is the new placards - the result of a disruptive new service by Harborside's partners at the Analytical Laboratory Project.

"For the first time in the 3,000-year history of human cannabis consumption, consumers will be provided a scientific assessment of the safety and potency of products prior to ingesting them," DeAngelo announced in December.

Among other nasties that are being tested for: the common mold, aspergillus, that is often found in high amounts in homegrown weed.

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