TAMPA, Fla. — Safety and testing are an absolute must according to the Florida Department of Health when it comes to selling Cannabis products.
Method Testing labs is the fifth state certified testing site and the last stop before those products reach store shelves.
"I've always loved opportunities where I can grow and learn and this is a new growing field," said Quality Assurance Manager, Tony Bennett.
After more than two decades as a chemist in several fields including beer and pharmaceutical, Bennett took a leap into the hemp and cannabis industry.
"Unlike the Pharmaceutical industry where you know people are ingesting these harsh chemicals to treat a condition-- this is all natural," adds Bennett.
Part of Bennett's new post is making sure those products are safe before customers can purchase them.
Bay News 9 toured the accredited National Hemp testing facility with co-founder Robert Radke.
"What we realized is that this industry needed a more reliable partner and more partners in general," said Radke. "We test for pesticides, no heavy metals and no microbioids. "
Radke says testing labs are crucial not only in providing safety for customers, but avoiding costly recalls for business.
"A recall could cost a customer over a $1 million dollars. Some of these batches that our customers are producing are quite big," he said.
The Florida Department of Health requires 11 tests completed on cannabis products before they're sold. Method Testing Labs has reduced the turnaround time to three days.
"We're hearing it takes about 8-10 days to turnaround a sample in Florida and one of our differenciators is we try to get our customers sample back within 3 days," said Radke.
The new lab's sample process is completely digital also helping to speed up the delivery.
Radke says it's an added benefit with only five state testing labs for a growing industry.
He expects the company to thrive even if adult-use marijuana is still not legal in Florida.
"We built our business to be successful even it wasn't legalized in the next year or two. From a business perspective, we dont see this as a gamble at all," said Radke.
Nine employees currently work at Method Testing Labs and the company is looking to grow.
They are interviewing candidates with bachelors degrees in Biology and Chemistry.