A Portland, Maine medical cannabis testing lab has been shut down due to operating without proper city permits and licenses. According to the Portland Press Herald, ProVerde Laboratories was operating without a certificate of occupancy or business license and was open absent a cannabis license from the city.
After citations were issued by the city’s licensing and permitting and fire departments in December, Christopher Hudalla — the Massachusetts-based testing lab’s founder and chief scientist — said he was unaware medical cannabis laboratories needed a license, only labs testing adult-use cannabis. Although he is correct, the state does not require medical cannabis testing and therefore does not register medical cannabis product testing labs, the city of Portland does, the Press Herald reports.
“No individual or entity may operate a marijuana business within the City without first obtaining a license from the City.” — City ordinance excerpt, via the report
Currently in the process of updating its building permit, ProVerde was granted a six-month temporary adult-use cannabis testing license in April but that has expired, Hudalla said. He said the company plans to apply for a new license and has not laid off its Portland staff, but the licensure process is complicated and continues to be hampered by COVID-19.
ProVerde must remove all THC-rich cannabis from the business and is not allowed to test THC-rich cannabis until a new permit is issued by the city. However, the lab can continue to test CBD and hemp products without a license. A new inspection is scheduled for February 2.
Hudalla insists his lab is necessary and says they have detected “substantial contamination” from pesticides in Maine medical cannabis samples. Despite outlawing “high-risk” pesticides for medical cannabis cultivation, Maine does not require pesticide tests for products destined for medical cannabis patients.
That may change this year, however, with the introduction of a new bill by Rep. Patricia Hymanson that requires more thorough testing for medical cannabis products similar to the state’s adult-use inventory.
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