Testing Part Of Pot Equation In Washington State

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The Washington state marijuana picture is just about complete. We gradually are adding growers, processors and retailers to the list of businesses that want to be involved in the state's fledgling pot industry. But there's one more category: the testers. And that's where Integrity Labs LLC of Olympia comes in, a business that set up shop about a year ago to offer its services to medical marijuana providers, who have the option of getting their product tested.

But following the passage of Initiative 502, which set the recreational pot business in motion, Integrity Labs gained a batch of potential new customers because pot tests became required for producers and processors serving the recreational market. Integrity is one of nine labs approved for testing statewide, with two more pending, according to state Liquor Contol Board data. In February, Integrity Labs opened in a 1,000-square-foot space on Pacific Avenue — not far from the state Liquor Control Board and the pot retailer Green Lady — and has room to expand upstairs.

The business is led by scientific director and co-owner Marilyn Olson, a career chemist who also has experience managing chemistry labs; lead chemist Peter Pessiki, who received his doctorate in chemistry from Princeton University; and operations manager Mark Hubbard, who brings business management skills to the team. Lee Fromson, a former senior vice president of merchandising at REI – according to his LinkedIn profile – also is a co-owner, Olson said.

"I love chemistry," she said, adding that she also loves lab science and is excited by learning more about marijuana. "It's a brand new study in lab work," Olson said. The key service, for $125, tests pot for its potency and checks for the presence of yeast, mold, e-coli, salmonella or some other bacteria through a microbiological rapid growth system, which produces results within 48 hours, she said.

"Our results provide growers and processors the needed data to comply with all Washington state I-502 specifications," the business announced in a letter that accompanies one of its brochures. State Liquor Control Board spokesman Brian Smith said the state agency doesn't license the pot analyzing businesses, but established the means and certification process for them. Pot also is tested for moisture content, solvent residue and pesticides, in which soil is checked at the source, he said.

The pesticide test currently is not offered by Integrity, but the business plans to offer it, Olson said. Only a sample of up to seven grams of marijuana from a "lot" – five pounds of pot flower or 15 pounds of trim – is tested. If the sample fails the test, it is returned to the owner – if it's still in a returnable form – and is either destroyed or typically converted into a concentrate, such as an oil, Smith said. Test results are entered into the state's traceability system, Smith added.

There also are no limits on the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the active ingredient in pot, because those amounts are spelled out on all retail pot products for consumer education and awareness, Smith said. Business has so far been slow for Integrity – the entire recreational pot industry is waiting for more pot to come to market – but once more product is grown, Integrity Labs aims to upgrade its business with auto samplers and run marijuana analyses all night so that results would be ready in the morning. "Whatever the market bears, we will step up," she said.



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Source: Theolympian.com
Author: Rolf Boone
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Website: Testing part of pot equation in Washington state | Business | The Olympian