Northeast Ohio company CCV Research announced Friday it will partner with an unnamed state community college, university or technical center to test medical marijuana. In this October 2016 photo, marijuana samples await testing in Alaska
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Northeast Ohio-based company announced Friday it will partner with a state school to test medical marijuana, the first indication any institution might participate in the program.
CCV Research CEO Jonathan Cachat said his company reached an agreement with a qualifying public institution of higher education to construct a lab facility on its campus.
Cachat declined in an interview to name the institution, give details of the arrangement or provide another source confirming the agreement.
A news release from CCV says the school has 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.”
Ohio law limits testing lab licenses to public institutions of higher education for one year. Thus far, none have publicly said they plan to apply for a license and several have said they do not plan to because marijuana remains an illegal substance federally and possessing it could jeopardize federal funding.
All medical marijuana and cannabis products must be tested for safety and potency before sale. That has many patients and marijuana business owners worried the program will be delayed beyond its expected September 2018 start date.
Cachat said he wanted to announce the agreement, without identifying the school, to relieve concerns about a delay.
“The widely felt concern there wouldn’t be any institutions stepping up is no longer a worry,” Cachat said.
Alan Mooney, who was an investor in Ohio’s failed 2015 recreational marijuana measure, is backing the proposal. Mooney, a Columbus-area financial advisor, said the facility would cost an estimated $3 million to set-up, more if they’re able to establish satellite labs across the state.
Mooney said the partnership involves training students to be lab experts.
“This is a plant and Ohio, as a top agriculture state, should be the No. 1 in the country benefiting from that,” Mooney said.
CCV Research was incorporated in Ohio to a Sheffield Village address in March, according to state records. Cachat said the company does not run labs in other states, but he has experience in the field.
Cachat ran a college campus lab that dealt with controlled substances while in graduate school and later worked with California testing labs while developing a marijuana-growing technique.
The Department of Commerce, which will license and regulate testing labs, will begin collecting applications from colleges, universities and technical centers on Sept. 11.
State regulators aren’t concerned about delays, even if schools don’t sign up. They interpret the law’s one-year limitation to begin from the first date any marijuana business applications are due, which would expire June 5, 2018.