The recent spate of new recreational legal cannabis markets has inspired mostly jubilant scenes: cannabis tourists gleefully entering dispensaries, state treasuries fattening up at astonishing rates, your parents asking if you can buy them some edibles.
But this rapid influx of legal cannabis has also brought with it a string of regulatory issues that have proved challenging for growers, distributors, and dispensary owners alike. High-ranking among these concerns is the problem of a bottleneck in the cannabis supply chain: when a state legalizes cannabis, the scores of suppliers who had previously sold cannabis with little to no regulatory influence, suddenly must be prepared to test their product for sale on the open legal market.
This is especially the case in California, where sellers on the United States' longest-running and most profitable “gray market” must be prepared to meet government standards by July of 2018. In anticipation of this situation, Evio Labs, which already has testing facilities in large markets like Colorado and Oregon, has done major hiring of personnel and setting up of large-scale facilities in the state.
“Prior to January 1st of this year, it was in the 5-10% of (cannabis) product that was actually being tested,” Evio Exec William Waldrop told Civilized recently.
In order to help meet the surge in demand for testing, Evio has set up an 8,000 square foot testing facility, and is currently hiring personnel — from samplers, to “chemists, microbiologists, toxicologists, sales reps, and couriers.”
The large-scale facility is, according to Waldrop, already equipped to handle testing of oils and flower for all of the bay area and central California. Evio will be ready for testing of edibles in about a month.
Evio works with clients of all sizes, but says it specializes in testing for smaller farmers and product manufacturers. The key to a smooth testing process for an operation of any size, says Waldrop, is communicating with your testing facility early on. “It’s all about communication to ensure that we can scale up to meet your needs.”
Included in the new personnel are a number of seasoned professionals who have recently come over to the cannabis sector after spending extensive time in fields like pharmaceuticals and medical testing.
“We’re bringing people in from, I don’t want to say ‘traditional,’ because I want to think of cannabis as traditional, but mainstream industries,” says Waldrop. “Perhaps three or four years ago, it wouldn’t have been their first choice of career path, but they’re really seeing the medical benefits of cannabis. People are coming over from pharmacy with open eyes, saying, ‘How do we make this a mainstay solution for many people?’”
photo credit: Evio Labs