Cites changes in health brought on by cannabis lab testing problems plaguing organization
By Habit 420
Oregon Cannabis Connection
The renowned Oregon Environmental Laboratory Accrediting Program, or ORELAP, is losing their administrator in January due to an early retirement brought on by the mishandling of the cannabis testing laboratories — the same issues that have created a logjam and shortages on Oregon’s dispensary shelves.
Gary Ward is retiring in January due to health concerns. He reported to the Statesman Journal that, “health problems caused by the refusal of (the Oregon Health Authority) and my management to give ORELAP sufficient resources to handle the cannabis and environmental laboratory accreditation.”
He suffered a stroke in September after disciplinary actions were foreshadowed by management in a meeting because he allegedly “leaked” information to labs regarding delays and insufficient funding the media and labs. He warned in an email that the program was in danger of “collapse” and indications were that not enough labs would be accredited in time for the October 1st rule changes. The lack of cannabis labs would eventually create shortages in the edibles and concentrate markets.
“We are on the precipice of collapse of environmental, drinking water and cannabis accreditation because of the lack of resources,” Ward wrote in September.
The effects had spilled over into the assessment of drinking water labs, and 17 were scheduled before January. The threat was to more than just the cannabis supply, but to safe drinking water in other states since ORELAP accredits labs in California and other states.
Ward warned that their could be issues, stating, “The public health will be in jeopardy from potential drinking water problems and contaminated cannabis.”
Currently, Oregon is struggling to keep products on the shelves due directly to the lack of tested product that meets the new standards.
“I can’t address whatever medical issues he is raising,” Jonathan Modie, OHA spokesman told the Statesman Journal, who told them he couldn’t address any of Ward’s claims of disciplinary actions. “We wish him the best of luck in his retirement,. We’re looking to get his position filled as quickly as we can.”
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