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Christopher Altomare: Maine's Medical Cannabis Industry Has a Dangerous Testing Problem

The state's inadequate testing regulations, and what it will take to change the law.

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This week, Christopher Altomare, CEO of Nova Analytic Lab, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss Maine's inadequate testing regulations, and what it will take to change the law. 

Around 2018, Christopher Altomare was working for a national toxicology and infectious disease testing laboratory when the wave of cannabis legalization began. He had an opportunity to do some consulting work for a few cannabis labs on the West Coast, and he quickly realized that the industry suffered from a lack of professionals trained in analytical chemistry. He says that lab work is more than installing some equipment and printing money.

Altomare and a few partners decided to stop working for other people and set up a lab of their own. At the time, Maine was getting ready for the adult-use market and needed labs. 

Although the state has evolved, it still has shortcomings — particularly a lack of regulation in the medical cannabis market. Right now, immunocompromised people are using cannabis potentially contaminated with molds and pesticides. But what is it going to take for regulators to take action on this issue?

Update: Dangerous Pesticides Found in Maine's Legal Cannabis

In this episode, Altomare also discusses: 

  • The industry's transition to more professional testing labs. (2:47)
  • The testing industry's ongoing problems with bad science. (3:12)
  • How (and why) Nove Analytic Lab goes above and beyond state testing requirements. (4:52) 
  • Why Maine didn't require operators to test for pesticides right out of the gate. (7:24)
  • Why operators are still failing tests despite using good business practices. (9:36)
  • The lack of real testing requirements for medical cannabis in Maine. (11:13)
  • What it's going to take to change regulations in Maine's medical market. (13:36)
  • Why X-ray is his preferred method for cannabis remediation. (15:02)
  • Problems caused by over-regulation in testing. (19:28)
  • The state of the cannabis industry in Maine. (22:38)
  • Nova's entrance into the New York market. (27:40)
  • The in-house equipment that Altomare can't live without. (29:42)
  • When federal legalization will happen, and how it will change the business. (32:37)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

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