Head of Oregon’s embattled testing program to retire

The head of the Oregon Environment Laboratory Accreditation Program, which is in charge of accrediting testing labs including those used for marijuana, will retire early next year because of job-related health reasons.

Administrator Gary Ward said his health had deteriorated because of stress stemming from an overwhelming number of lab accreditation requests that overtaxed an agency that is in understaffed by its own leadership and the Oregon Health Authority, the Statesman Journal reported.

The lack of accredited labs in Oregon has been blamed for a dramatic slowdown in the flow of product to dispensaries, forcing many to lay off employees, raise prices and, in some cases, even close.

Several months ago, Ward sent an email to labs awaiting accreditation saying his program was facing “collapse” because of a “lack of resources and the last-minute rush of cannabis labs with applications. The state had approved only three to four labs for marijuana testing at about that time, the Statesman Journal noted.

In September, Ward’s supervisors told him he faced disciplinary measures for “leaking” information to labs, which led to him having a stroke, he told the Statesman Journal.

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5 comments on “Head of Oregon’s embattled testing program to retire
  1. Cactus Bill on

    Why not substitute “random”, unannounced field testing instead of imposing such a huge and expensive work load on certified testing labs?
    It makes more sense to place the majority burden on the producers at their own labs.
    The standards are in effect, and producers should have control over their products.
    Large fines for failure to comply with the standards. Revocation of license for repeated failures of the same type.
    The majority of producers are conscientious, and take great care to market quality product according to standards. That a few marginal operations are causing this bottleneck is unacceptable to the industry and to the consumers.

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