The Nevada Tax Department took charge of the marijuana regulation on July 1. Since then, they have already suspended four of the nine testing labs in the State. However, the Tax Department has never laid a hand on any cultivator, producer, or weed dispensary.
According to Stephanie Klapstein, regulatory noncompliance of independent testing labs led to the suspension of their business operation. She stressed that these labs must adhere to the quality assurance the State is looking for before the marijuana products can be sold and reach the market. Thus, noncompliance with the law will result in a suspension.
Among these suspended testing labs is the DigiPath labs, which has recently been suspended due to problems with following the proper procedures. The Department put a stop on the lab’s operation on January 19, 2018 and said it cannot resume while its license is still in suspension.
In an effort to continue its operation, DigiPath and Chief Operating Officer Todd Denkin told the media that they are in the midst of preparing and submitting a “plan of correction” to the Tax Department.
The testing lab admitted to their mistakes and told the media how they are grateful to the Department of Tax for strictly regulating cannabis businesses. “We remain committed to the health and safety of the public and have always taken our role seriously as the gatekeeper between producers and consumers, to provide a valid certificate on analysis on all cannabis products coming through our lab prior to reaching the public,” Denkin told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Besides DigiPath, RSR Analytical Laboratories in Las Vegas and Certified Ag Lab in Sparks also got suspended in late December due to the same reason of not adhering to the correct procedures. Nevertheless, the two independent labs resumed operation on January 3rd and 4th respectively.
Randy Gardner, who is the managing member for Certified Ag, told the Review-Journal the reason why the lab has been suspended. He said that they performed follow-up tests on the samples that tested positive for mold. However, the auditors did not agree with how the procedure was conducted, thus putting a suspension on their operation.
Clearly, the state is doing the best that it can to make sure all laboratory centers are operating in a uniform manner and that all of them are doing the same correct and accurate procedures with the people’s health and safety in mind.
Gardner commented that Nevada’s regulators’ precautionary measures are something praiseworthy and noted how dedicated they are in ensuring the safety of the people. While it is admirable, he thinks that the new regulations are quite making it difficult for both the officials and the labs to navigate.
“You don’t see this in any other market because our Department of Taxation is going above and beyond to make sure everyone’s doing this on up and up,” said Jason Sturtsman, a cultivation license holder who also sits on the Nevada Independent Cannabis Laboratory Advisory Committee.
Last year in August, G3 Labs was the first one to be suspended by the state. The only thing that differs it from the other labs is that it has never been reinstated. Due to this reason, G3’s chief science officer and lab director, Dr. Chao-Hsiung Tung, gave up his position in the Clark County’s Green Ribbon Advisory Panel and was replaced as the president of the Nevada Independent Cannabis Laboratory Advisory Committee.
The Nevada Law strictly does its regulation by requiring cannabis companies to have their samples tested by licensed independent laboratories. These labs carefully screen the samples for any defect or harm that it can bring to the people before they reach the market and are made available for sale by a dispensary.
Only after passing through the standards and screenings of the laboratories, the companies can sell their products and promote them through cannabis business marketing. Otherwise, they will have to dispose of the entire batch of the product.