July 02, 2018Updated Jul 02, 2018 5:52 PM

A lack of independent testing laboratories is being blamed in part for the slow roll-out of adult-use, or recreational, marijuana in Massachusetts.

But the founder of one of the labs that has been providing testing for the state’s medical marijuana market pushed back Monday against the criticism.

“We have been given no guidance as far as what is different between medical marijuana testing and recreational marijuana testing,” said Christopher Hudalla, who’s also chief scientific officer of ProVerde Laboratories in Milford. “I’m surprised when we’re given very poor guidance that all of a sudden that they’re saying it’s the laboratories who are the holdup on this.”

Pro Verde has been providing testing for medical marijuana dispensaries for five years. Hudalla says the company has not yet decided whether it’ll apply for a recreational testing license from the Cannabis Control Commission, in part due to uncertainty over a community host agreement (CHA), which is required by law and must be reached with the municipality in which the lab operates before a license is awarded.

Several cannabis-related businesses have accused towns and cities of using the CHAs to squeeze additional funds and perks for the communities.

“Analytical testing is not a high margin activity,” Hudalla said. “I know in the past some community host agreements have been fairly costly to an organization.”

Hudalla questioned why analytical laboratories that test other materials — but not cannabis — are free to operate without needing to obtain a CHA. The commission has taken a hands-off approach to CHAs, leaving it up to the applicants and the municipalities to work out the details, and requiring only confirmation that a CHA has been reached be submitted as part of the license application.

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