A recent announcement by a company eager to offer testing services to Ohio’s emerging medical cannabis market claims it has found a state-approved public college to host the lab, as per the requirements of the state’s MMJ law. At present, the identity of the college and any details about the arrangement are still a mystery.
[dropcap]C[/dropcap]CV Research, a company looking to provide testing services to Ohio’s medical cannabis market, announced it has received a letter of intent from an Ohio public institution of higher education ready to partner with the company in operating a medical cannabis testing lab.
The announcement said the governor’s office has confirmed that the (as-of-yet unidentified) academic partner is qualified under state law to host the lab.
Dr. Jonathan Cachat, CEO of CCV Research said the search was an arduous one.
“We had a difficult time even identifying qualified colleges willing to engage in the conversation” he said. “However, we found a unique, entrepreneurial team that recognized the opportunity to provide education with hands on lab experience, create local jobs and support a functioning medical cannabis system in Ohio.”
According to Cachat, everyone from activists to lawmakers had concerns over Ohio’s medical marijuana requirement for association with “public institutes of higher education.”
Public universities tend to take a lot of funds from the federal government. Rather than put that money at risk by taking part in the state’s budding program, most schools decided to opt out entirely.
While a surprise inclusion for some, public universities taking part in state cannabis programs made perfect sense to long time UC Berkeley cannabis researcher Dr. Amanda Reiman, who currently serves on the board of the International Cannabis Growers Association.
“I think that the involvement of universities in the testing of cannabis for state programs makes total sense,” Reiman said. “Universities and colleges are often on the forefront of research and public discourse. Federal funding used to be a huge barrier for these institutions wanting to get involved in this way. But, more and more, state medical cannabis laws are including these institutions as a vital part of their program. I think this is a move in the right direction.”
Chris Lindsey, of leading cannabis advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, had his doubts on the original plan to get Ohio’s college and university program involved in the medical marijuana program.
“We originally did not think that any schools would participate,” Lindsay said. “The rules were written in such a way that private companies could jump in if schools did not. It’s not unheard of for schools to want to be involved in the analytics process. But so far we haven’t seen any schools that have been able to actually participate despite early interest. It will be interesting to see if the unnamed school will be able to do so.”
Lindsey added that the only real concern is that there would be enough options and facilities available in the state to meet the needs of patients and the companies that serve them.
As for the rest of Ohio’s new pot plan, there is plenty to cover: The state received 185 applications for 24 permits to grow and lawmakers increased the number of dispensaries by 50 percent, now putting the total number at 60. Anyone suffering from one of 21 qualifying medical conditions will be able to use a dispensary to purchase up to a 90 day supply of cannabis, or six to eight ounces as the state sees it.
In the past, when one thought of higher learning and cannabis the only thing that came to mind was the University of Mississippi’s National Institute on Drug Abuse-backed farm. The UMiss School of Pharmacy grows and supplies what they consider high-quality marijuana to provide the NIDA Drug Supply Program, which distributes it to researchers studying pot — not that the DEA is actually approving anyone to do said research.
Ohio’s mystery school will not have to deal with the scrutiny faced by UMiss. Since they’re not growing any cannabis themselves it will be impossible for them to grow anything as ugly as the nugs UMiss chops up. The farm also still provides cannabis for the remaining patients on the federal medical marijuana program. Despite the current national policy wave of cannabis reform, the last large scale outdoor crop at UMiss was in 2014 but their indoor cultivation efforts are ongoing.
TELL US, do you think a third party (like a university) should be required for cannabis testing labs?