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Medical marijuana industry aiming to establish testing standards

Medical marijuana industry aiming to establish testing standards (WPEC)

Before pharmaceutical drugs hit the market, they go through rigorous testing.

The pills in your medicine cabinet right now had several hurdles to clear before you got them.

The medical marijuana industry is trying to establish similar standards, and a lab in South Florida is looking for anything in the pot that could make a patient sick.

In the first part of the process, the samples have to get to the lab— they come in simple white shipping boxes, the marijuana is in UV tubes.

The tubes get loaded into a compartment, which turns into the wall and then a chemist on the other side takes it in and the testing begins.

“Our turnaround time is 48 hours, but we can do less than that,” said Nicolas Mattingly, the lab’s Associate Director.

Mattingly is a pot tester.

If that sounds like the setup to a joke about getting high, it’s not.

Mattingly wears a white coat and spends his days analyzing cannabis. He’s looking for, among other things, mold and pesticides.

If a dose of medical marijuana has either, a user could have an allergic reaction or even die.

Mattingly can also gauge the potency of the marijuana, and categorize which types should go with certain medical conditions.

“We are trying to, by way of testing these doses, make sure the doses are consistent and make sure this plant reflects real medicine, to make sure it’s free of contaminants, and it’s like any advanced medical laboratory you see, and we want it to look like that,” Mattingly said.

But the lab, which is part of the Evio company, is in a building with no sign on the front.

For security and other reasons, Evio prefers to be hard to find, but in addition to this facility, there’s one in Gainesville.

Evio is the only testing service accredited by ISO-The International Organization for Standardization, that’s a fact the company is proud of and hopes will bring credibility to the scientific work happening here.

“I love it. It’s constantly something new and there’s really very few areas in production, modern agricultural innovation, and production science, in analytical science, that is seeing so much progress and so much interesting implications for humanity, in so many areas, medicine just being one of them," Mattingly said.

Treatment centers and growers use Evio to test their marijuana products.

Medical marijuana became legal in our state in 2016 when Florida passed Amendment 2.

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