Grow, Gift, Repair

Lab issues in Colorado

Since the state mandated pesticide testing for cannabis, Denver-based Nordic Analytical Laboratories owner Kimia Mahmoodi has been working longer hours, bought new equipment and hired more staffers.

She’s tried to keep her promise to clients that they will get results back in two to three days.

To do that, she’s purchased another liquid chromatography mass spectrometry testing instrument that costs in the $300,000-$500,000 range.

She had one technician in her pesticide testing lab, but she’s hired three more.

“I know the cost is very high for the growers, and they’re not happy about that,” Mahmoodi said. “But it costs us a lot of money to do the testing as well.”

Her lab charges $120 per test for a 2-gram sample and offers a bulk discount of $100 per test for higher volumes.

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Mahmoodi said so far she hasn’t had to reject that much cannabis for unacceptable pesticide levels.

“People are following the rules and regulations,” she said. “We don’t have that many failures.

“The consumers are happy that they see the product they’re using is pesticide-free.”

Consumer confidence

Finding out what’s in the cannabis being grown is a large concern for at least one industry group.

A campaign dubbed #Whatsinmyweed – made up of business owners and industry groups, among others – contends that the state’s list of 13 banned pesticides is far too limited to adequately determine if there are chemicals in cannabis

“This is a really, really small step that does not even begin to adequately create a meaningful consumer health and safety protection,” said Ben Gelt, board chair of the Cannabis Certification Council.