This year dispensaries will be opening as patients receive the medicine they’ve been yearning to purchase legally. They’ll have an advantage, from the standpoint of health as they receive the cleanest and safest plants available on the market. However, from the entrepreneur’s perspective, there runs the risk of losing money either by having intolerable crops or paying outrageous fees concerning the needed testing.
Costs of Waiting
The few dispensaries that’ve already opened their doors to patients in Nevada underwent opening day postponements due to the state’s inability to keep the pace in setting down the law. While waiting on the state to create guidelines for pesticides used on cannabis, dispensary owners and patients alike suffered through the delay.
Patients had to delay buying safe and legal medication while dispensaries had to continue to pay employees and facility fees without any way of creating revenue. But they weren’t the only ones that suffered.
“It’s been incredibly frustrating,” chief science officer of DigiPath Labs, Cindy Orser, described the wait to Review Journal. “We were hoping to be operational at the end of January. Or February. Or March. Or April. And now it’s May.”
DigiPath Labs is one of the first cannabis testing facilities to open; embarking on a mission to ensure each batch of cannabis sold on the market is healthy enough for consumption. They will examine the types of pesticides used as well as saturation using liquid chromatography.
Rules regarding the types and amounts of pesticides allowed on medicinal cannabis were finalized in May. The state has approved 15 testing facilities to operate in Clark County and two in Sparks, giving Nevada 17 cannabis testing labs.
Costs of Testing
At DigiPath, testing one batch of cannabis will cost anywhere between $500 and $1,000 for the cultivator. It could also mean they may lose batches and the profits that come with them if any fail to pass. This will make testing an expensive endeavor, pushing up the prices of the plant for dispensaries and companies that produce edibles.
In turn, prices will increase at the sales counter, with patients paying the difference for the state to ensure the purity of their medication. Unfortunately, if prices end up being too high at the counter, some may look back towards purchasing from the black market.
Besides testing for pesticides, levels of THC and other cannabinoids will be measured. Residual solvents, heavy metals, cadmium, lead, arsenic, mercury, and terpenoids (that which gives cannabis its smell and taste), will also be measured. Once the data is made available and the batches pass all the tests, the information will be made available to the market. The grower may then print out labels with the testing information, and sell the product in dispensaries or to edible bakeries.
Such testing will ensure patients using the medicine will be receiving the cleanest and healthiest plants out there. Nevada has adopted the strictest guidelines for cannabis pesticides, meaning the state will surely have some of the finest quality available to patients. Other states lack thorough guidelines for the medical cannabis market, or haven’t developed them fully at all.