Stricter marijuana testing caused industry slowdown, but now mov - KPTV - FOX 12

Stricter marijuana testing caused industry slowdown, but now moving in the right direction

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The marijuana industry faced a slowdown after the state first imposed stricter product testing standards about a year and a half ago. But now, people in the field say a lot of the kinks have been worked out and the industry is finally starting to feel normal again. 

At Evio Labs in Bend, Ellen Parkin helps make sure marijuana products are ready and safe before hitting a store near you. 

"So we're a team of analytical testing labs and we are testing to state regulations," Parkin said. "So for Oregon, that means we're looking at potency, pesticides, and residual solvents that could be in the products that we're consuming." 

Starting about a year and a half ago, only labs certified by the state were able to test marijuana products. 

Those labs, like Evio, were given very detailed guidelines to determine whether a products passes or fails. 

"We're here so that anything that's going into the industry and into dispensaries is safe for consumers. That's out biggest thing," Parkin said. 

But if you ask Jackson McCormack, owner of the dispensary Natural Wonders PDX in Portland, he said the new stricter testing standards also meant an industry-wide supply shortage. Something he said made it tough for his business and others. 

"I think there was a huge shift, you know, you definitely started to see the same names repeated across shelves and it was kind of just a waiting game," McCormack said. 

Fast-forward to now and McCormack said things are starting to feel back to normal. He said growers who vanished are finally getting their products back into dispensaries. 

"The surrounding discussions are really positive and turn around time's down, you know, labs are competing with each other over cost," he said. "I think we're seeing a lot more of a mature market in terms of at least the lab aspect."

But he said the industry can still grow when it comes to testing. 

"I think as long as we can continue to build that standard so that the lab results are really consistent lab to lab, I think that's really the final piece of the puzzle," McCormack said. 

Parkin agrees. 

"Right now, we may have a different method than the lab down the street, than the lab in Portland, kind of a thing," she said. 

She too hopes the current testing requirements standardize even more. Not just across Oregon, but across the United States. 

"I think we'll get to that point eventually," she said. "I think it's definitely a couple years away. There's a lot to work on because there's so many different, there's different methods and as we go from state to state there's different regulations about how strict they are, things like that." 

But both Parkin and McCormack said this is still a budding industry that's only moving in the right direction. 

"I think it's just beneficial really," Parkin said. "This industry is going to be really great." 

"Overall, I think we've had really positive gains," McCormack said. 

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