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ProVerde’s Maine Cannbis Lab Shut Down For Unlicensed Testing

Jan 15, 2021

ProVerde’s Maine Cannbis Lab Shut Down For Unlicensed Testing

Leo Bear-McGuinness
Science Writer & Editor

A medical cannabis testing lab in Maine has been shut down for operating without a permit or a license.

City regulators in Portland, Maine, said that the facility run by ProVerde Laboratories made two violations: operating a marijuana business without a license and operating without a more general permit, certificate of occupancy, or business license.

Responding to Analytical Cannabis, ProVerde’s president and chief scientific officer, Chris Hudalla, explained that the Maine lab was “in operation before there were any requirements or mechanisms for licensing of marijuana testing laboratories in Maine.”


A matter of timing

As reported by the Portland Press Herald, Portland’s Permitting and Inspection department notified ProVerde of its violations on December 14. According to the notice, the company applied for a building permit to change the facility from a warehouse to a lab. But that permit is still in review.

“When the Maine regulators created a pathway for licensure, we started the process for the application of that license,” Hudalla told Analytical Cannabis.

“In April, we were given a 6-month temporary license. However, application processes for any type of marijuana license are complex and time consuming, worsened by the impact of Covid, when we had less staff resources available to work on the application,” he added.

“We had not completed our application when the temporary license expired. Based on that, we were asked to halt our laboratory operation, which we complied with immediately.”

Hudalla intends to acquire another license from the Portland authorities. But, given the lengthy application process, it may be a while before the Maine operation is running again.

In the meantime, until the code violations are addressed, ProVerde is prohibited from conducting business in Portland and has been instructed to move all marijuana material out of its Maine facility. Hudalla’s team is also currently banned from testing Maine-grown cannabis in ProVerde’s Massachusetts-based lab. The company is still, however, allowed to test Maine-grown hemp and CBD.


Marijuana in Maine

Maine’s medical cannabis program first began back in 1999, before receiving significant expansions in 2009 and 2018. But despite this long history, the state’s medical cannabis infrastructure still lacks many requirements present in other state programs, such as mandatory pesticide testing.

Further regulations could be imminent, though. Earlier this month, the Maine Office of Marijuana Policy released a new set of draft rules that, among other changes, would require the medical program to implement a track-and-trace system.

Following voter approval in 2016, recreational cannabis also became legal in Maine last October. In the first month of sales, it’s estimated that retailers grossed around $1.4 million from 21,194 transactions.

 

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