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Cannabis Testing Laboratories becomes first ISO-certified lab in Nebraska

Cannabis Testing Laboratories becomes first ISO-certified lab in Nebraska

Dr. Arin Sutlief and Dr. Andrea Holmes

Cannabis Testing Laboratories (CTL), a wholly owned subsidiary whose parent company is Doane University, has become the first cannabis testing lab in Nebraska. CTL received ISO-certification last week, something that is required by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) for cannabis labs to operate in the state. ISO-certification is regarded as the most prestigious and stringent international accreditation for cannabis testing labs to assure the labs have best practices in place and report their results with high confidence levels. 

In an effort to foster innovation, Doane University is creating space on campus for entrepreneurial start-ups. CTL will be renting space on Doane’s Crete campus to house its primary laboratory. Dr. Andrea Holmes, Director of Cannabis Studies and Professor of Chemistry at Doane University, is the Founder of Cannabis Testing Laboratories. Under her leadership, Dr. Arin Sutlief has been appointed as Director of the Laboratory. Unique to the industry, CTL is composed of an all-female management team. 

“Being the first ISO-accredited and state approved cannabis testing laboratory in Nebraska will allow farmers, processors, vendors, and even consumers of CBD and hemp products to have local access to high-quality and reliable testing”, said Dr. Holmes. “For farmers, continuous testing is of utmost importance so they don’t grow hemp over 0.3% total THC levels, at which point hemp is categorized as marijuana, which is currently illegal in Nebraska. Consumers of CBD products will also benefit from private testing as oftentimes CBD-infused products don’t actually contain what the label says.”  

While Cannabis Testing Labs will be operating independently of the university, it will be a resource for Doane faculty and students. Internship and experiential learning opportunities will be made available to Doane students who wish to have hands-on experience in the lab. Additionally, the lab will serve as a resource for faculty teaching cannabis courses at Doane. At the end of June, the university announced the expansion of its cannabis course offerings, with seven three-credit cannabis-related courses available beginning this fall. 

"I am very excited for Dr. Andrea Holmes, Dr. Sutlief, and the rest of the CTL management team for creating a corporation that provides a much-needed resource for so many farmers in our state and across the region,” said Dr. Jacque Carter, President, Doane University. “This lab will also serve as an excellent resource for our students and faculty who are interested in learning more about this rapidly growing industry." 

The announcement of Cannabis Testing Laboratories marks another chapter of Doane University preparing itself to be a leader in cannabis education. Last August, Doane launched a Professional Cannabis Certificate Program, the first of its kind offered by a university in Nebraska. 

This certificate program, offered on DoaneX, came three months after Governor Pete Ricketts signed the Nebraska Hemp Farming Act (LB657) into law, recognizing hemp as a viable agricultural crop, aligning state law with federal law. Since then, over 80 farmers in Nebraska have been licensed to grow hemp. In order to get their product tested, they have previously had two options, sending to state-approved labs in either Kentucky or Tennessee. 

There are currently 60 DEA approved cannabis testing labs according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 10 of which are in the Midwest. The Nebraska Department of Agriculture waived DEA approval for labs in 2020, but does require ISO certification. After signing with accrediting body Perry Johnson Laboratory Accreditation in May, CTL was quickly prepared for a site visit and audit at the end of June. On July 8, CTL received ISO 17025 certification, becoming the first lab in Nebraska to do so.

“I am proud to be one of the creators of a fully accredited cannabis testing lab that provides our farmers and processors reliable and quick local testing of hemp,” Dr. Sutlief said. “CTL is among  the first ISO-certified cannabis testing labs in the U.S. that is a subsidiary of a university. Innovation, research, entrepreneurship and education will be the central pillars of CTL as we set ourselves apart to become leaders in cannabis testing not only in Nebraska and the Midwest but also nationally.”

“Hemp was grown in Nebraska in 1887 and by 1914 Nebraska was one of the largest hemp producers in the country,” said Dr. Amanda McKinney, member of the CTL management team. “Nebraska can be on a similar trajectory again but in order to do so, hemp farmers in the state need support services and now we’re providing that.” 

For more information on CTL and to have questions answered about sampling and testings, visit their website at ctlcrete.com.