’Back in good graces’: Sparks marijuana testing lab, fined for inflating results, resumes THC testing – Reno Gazette Journal

A Sparks marijuana testing lab was temporarily closed in November because it inflated THC testing results by as much as 10 percent, according to new documents released late last week by the Nevada Department of Taxation.

Taxation officials last year additionally chastised Certified Ag Labs for neglect of its security and surveillance systems, as well as the disappearance of marijuana samples that were supposed to be saved for at least a month, according to a settlement agreement that came before the Nevada Tax Commission on Thursday. 

The tax commission approved a settlement in which the lab, which did not accept guilt or liability in the matter, will pay the state $70,000. The lab previously faced fines of up to $107,500 and revocation of its license. 

Certified Ag released a statement Monday defending its practices. 

„(Our business) stands behind its science, its operations, its methods and

its numbers,” the statement said. 

The business attributed the violations to a video server crash, accidental disposal of two samples before their required 30-day hold time and not thoroughly mixing the waste cannabis with enough shredded paper to ensure unsuitability, according to the statement. 

The lab reopened a month after the violations were made public in November and has more recently resumed THC testing, according to managing member Randy Gardner. THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. 

„We’re back in good graces with the state, and we’re going to do our best to stay in good graces,” said Gardner in a phone call with the Reno Gazette Journal. 

Previous coverage: Sparks marijuana lab reported false THC data, fined $70K

The lab was previously closed in December 2017 and reopened in January 2018. Gardner previously told the RGJ that the first suspension was due to the lab’s misunderstanding of new regulations at the time. 

Lax security cited 

The state listed 11 violations related to the November 2019 suspension, including the failure to maintain a 24-hour security system and constant security camera coverage. Security systems and surveillance cameras are required by law not only to prevent facilities from being targets of criminal activity, but additionally to prevent staff from engaging in any bad faith, potentially criminal, behavior. 

Another violation was the failure to maintain waste logs and record seed-to-sale tracking of cannabis plants, also aimed at preventing black market use or sale. 

State officials suspended the license of Certified Ag Labs for 30 days and thereafter allowed the business to resume testing, except for THC. Certified Ag Labs since presented the state with a remediation plan in order to resume THC testing.

Gatekeepers of ganja: Inside Nevada’s broken marijuana lab testing industry

„It hasn’t really affected us much, to be honest; the state has re-examined everything, they did an on-site audit, and everything looked good,” Gardner said. 

Second facility fined 

The commission approved a second settlement with Lone Mountain Partners on Thursday for the maximum fines, $17,500. State officials alleged that the North Las Vegas cultivator had failed to track and record products and waste. 

Lone Mountain also did not accept guilt or liability.

Nevada Tax Commission Chairman Jim DeVolld said he had faith in the Department of Taxation’s management of the state’s cannabis industry, though he was looking forward to seeing the Cannabis Control Board go into effect in July. 

The Board will regulate the industry, similarly to how the Nevada Gaming Control Board has overseen the Nevada’s gaming industry. 

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„They’re going to be better equipped to handle these cases,” said DeVolld. „You need to have a specialized group of people to manage these cases.” 

Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here. 

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