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Former Prison Turned into Cannabis Testing Lab in New York

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A former medium-security prison in New York has been turned into Kachya Labs, a medical cannabis and hemp testing facility. The lab will serve the state’s growing cannabis belt, close to the Black Dirt region in southwestern Orange County.

When the prison closed down in 2011, the Town of Warwick acquired the land and turned it into the Warwick Valley Office and Technology Corporate Park. As hemp became a desired industry in the town, Warwick officials aim to attract other cannabis businesses to the area.

“We settled very quickly on a hemp development cluster in Warwick,” said Mike Sweeton, supervisor of the Town of Warwick.

Kachya Labs is a 9,000 square foot testing lab that offers a 48-hour turnaround time for tests to ensure the safety of hemp and cannabis products.  Marco Pedrone, co-founder of the lab, said the lab will test for potency in addition to pesticides, bio-toxins and heavy metals. Kachya Labs plans to expand the test options if given the proper approval.

“Warwick has always been known for its agricultural background and its interest in technology, both of those do combine together in this type of facility. Then you have Warwick’s proximity to New York City, which is going to be really 80 percent of the market in New York State,” Pedrone said.

While the lab offers hemp testing, New York officials don’t plan to submit a state plan for the 2021 hemp growing season unless certain requirements are changed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hemp growers can still apply for hemp cultivation licenses through the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services, but they would have to follow federal rules instead of state rules.

New York also has plans for a facility for studying cannabis in hopes it would help push legislation that would legalize cannabis after failing to do so last year. The facility would focus on studying health concerns regarding cannabis use.

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